How to Fix a Leaf Blower that Won’t Start?

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There’s nothing as frustrating as trying to turn on your leaf blower to get rid of fall drops and getting no response from the tool.

You try turning it on consistently. The switch goes back and forth. You shake the tool. NOTHING!

If your leaf blower doesn’t start – then you’re probably facing AT LEAST one faulty piece.

Here, we’re going to help you diagnose the problem and fix it accordingly.

Care to know how? Then keep reading!

Leaf Blower Won’t Start: 10 Possible Reasons and Their Solution

#1. Faulty Spark Plug

Faulty Spark Plug

The most common reason BY FAR is a broken, worn-out, dirty, or burnt spark plug.

This part goes directly into the engine and is responsible for the spark that turns the fuel on. Without a functional spark plug, you won’t be able to turn the leaf blower on.

How to Diagnose a Faulty Spark Plug?

You don’t need to be an expert to test a spark plug. Using a spark plug tester, for example, can save you an incredible amount of time and effort while telling you right away whether it is faulty or not.

But if you don’t have any spark plug tester at hand, you can always get the spark plug out (you may need a torque wrench for this). Then check the ceramic/metallic tip (what causes the spark).

This tip should be mostly clean, visible, and not broken. If you see any sign of burnt material, too much gunk, or a crack – that’s probably the issue. In that case, replacing the spark plug is the best choice.

How to Fix a Faulty Spark Plug?

Spark plugs are not hard to fix in the slightest. Here are some tips to consider:

  • For disconnected plugs, just try connecting again. If the spark plug doesn’t go right in, that’s probably a sign of too much gunk – clean the tip with a towel and try to insert it back.
  • See any signs of burns or too much carbon buildup on the electrode? Try cleaning it up. If the piece doesn’t work, it may not work ever again – replacing it would be a better idea.
  • Broken spark plugs are also not worth fixing – replace them right away if you see any breakage or crack in the electrode.

Overall, spark plugs aren’t expensive at all – so if you absolutely need to buy a new one, you won’t have to empty your bank account.

#2. Clogged Spark Arrestor

Almost every combustion engine has a spark arrestor. This is a small screen or media that prevents combustions from causing damage to anything outside the engine.

The thing is, this spark arrestor builds up so much spark residue over time that it clogs up. When this happens, your leaf blower engine may fail to start as the spark won’t happen as it should.

How to Diagnose a Clogged Spark Arrestor?

This piece is typically located in the exhaust, specifically at the tip. When you find it, you need to remove it from the exhaust and check it.

If there’s too much buildup, you will realize right away. It will look black and not like a screen. But if you can see through, then it isn’t the spark arrestor that’s clogged.

How to Fix a Clogged Spark Arrestor?

Did you find the spark arrestor to be way too dirty? Then don’t fret – it’s easy to fix:

  • Remove the arrestor if you haven’t yet. Then clean it with a brush – preferably wire/hard-brittle brush.
  • In case the arrestor seems broken or way too weak, you will need to replace it. This part is hard to find for some leaf blower models, so changing the whole exhaust is often a worthwhile path.

Either way, the spark arrestor is essential. You may not be able to even start your leaf blower engine with one – so you need to make sure it works to perfection.

#3. Broken Ignition Coil

Broken Ignition Coil

The piece that sends electricity to the spark plug to turn on is called an ignition coil.

This is what receives the electricity when you pull the cord or push the ON button.

Obviously, it needs to work well to send this electric signal. Otherwise, your spark plug will never fire up, and your leaf blower won’t turn on.

How to Diagnose a Defective Ignition Coil?

Be aware the ignition coil is directly related to the spark plug. This part doesn’t fail as commonly as the spark plug does, so you need to make sure the spark plug is okay before going further.

Once you’ve checked that the spark plug is okay, you can proceed with the ignition coil. An ignition coil tester would be the best tool to check it with. This tool may be difficult to find, so you can always use a multimeter instead.

How to Fix an Ignition Coil?

Checked the ignition coil and saw that it was defective? There’s no other considerable way to act than to replace it.

Malfunctioning ignition coils are irreparable and will probably cause damage to the spark plug if you keep using them. To avoid that, installing a new one would be a better idea.

#4. Clogged Carburetor

This part cures the fuel, adding air so the engine can combust as necessary.

When it is clogged, the air/fuel mix won’t produce the right blend for the spark to turn on the engine. You’ll end up with a leaf blower that doesn’t turn on.

How to Diagnose a Clogged Carburetor?

Most clogged carburetors happen when there’s too much fuel in the lines, creating a thick substance (gunk) that doesn’t let the air/fuel mixture being produced.

You need to close the fuel tank supply and make sure there’s no fuel in the lines. Then you can proceed to disconnect the lines from the carburetor and remove them.

Once removed, check for any signs of too much gunk or a stick substance inside. If there’s any, that’s a clogged carburetor that needs cleaning.

How to Fix a Clogged Carburetor?

The best thing about clogged carburetors is that they’re totally fixable. Even those that seem way too clogged only need a bit of cleaning.

Cleaning is also easy. You just need to use a wire brush and get rid of the gunk. Some water will also help clean the piece thoroughly.

If you notice any broken part in the carburetor or solid gunk that doesn’t clean off – then replacing the whole piece would be a better idea. Luckily, these carburetors are easy to find and cheap.

#5. Old Fuel

Old Fuel

When a leaf blower has been on standby for months or years, there’s a chance the fuel inside became unusable.

This could be either it is evaporated, so there’s no enough oil inside. Or in other situations, the gas separated from the oil and doesn’t combust at all.

Either way, old fuel is nothing to fret over as it’s easy to diagnose and fix.

How to Know If It Is Old Fuel?

This is a straightforward thing to check. You just need to open the fuel tank and see the fuel. If there’s none, it’s probably evaporated.

But if you see a weird mixture that smells weirdly (different than gas), then it is separated, so your engine won’t work either way.

In some cases, old fuel turns into a sludgy substance. You will notice how the fuel looks less like liquid fuel and more like gunk.

How to Fix Old Fuel?

Regardless of what is happening, old fuel is probably the most fixable of all issues. Here are a few tips to take into account:

  • Fuel that has separated gas/oil may only need a bit of a shake to come back together. This is only useful for 2-stroke engines. 4-stroke leaf blowers won’t get fixed this way.
  • Even if the fuel has evaporated, we recommend cleaning the fuel tank before pouring any new fuel. Otherwise, any remaining old fuel may contaminate the new one and cause issues.
  • For gunk or sludge fuel, you may need to use a fuel system cleaner. This liquid breaks down the substance and pushes it out.

⦁ Add new fuel to finish the whole process. New fuel should finish ⦁ cleaning up the tank and starting up right away.

Remember to use the right fuel for your leaf blower – 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines. For example, use different types of fuel. Be careful.

#6. Clogged Fuel Filter

The filter cleans up the fuel, so nothing that could cause damage to the engine goes through.

This filter tends to clogs up with either old fuel or simply dirty fuel. It is a cold environment that makes the fuel turn into sludge, causing the same result.

How to Diagnose a Clogged Fuel Filter?

You will need to locate the filter first. It is typically between the fuel tank and the carburetor. Most filters look like a transparent case with a piece of media inside.

Once you’ve found it, check that it doesn’t look too dark inside. It should look either yellow or white. Otherwise, it is just old and clogged.

Some may look like they have a sticky substance. That’s also a sign of a clogged filter – as new fuel won’t be able to pass through.

And lastly, just check that goes indeed passes through. If you see like oil doesn’t go past the filter, that’s the clearest sign of a clogged piece.

How to Fix a Clogged Fuel Filter?

The fuel tank is probably the cheapest portion of a leaf blower to replace. In that case, no need to worry about anything else and just take it out and put in a new one.

#7. Broken Fuel Lines

Broken Fuel Lines

The fuel in the tank goes into the carburetor and then the engine through fuel lines. These liens are typically made of rubber or plastic and are prone to cracks and breaks.

When this happens, the fuel starts to leak, sometimes to the point of emptying the fuel tank or simply not letting fuel reach the engine.

Either way, the leaf blower won’t start.

How to Diagnose Broken Fuel Lines?

Because broken fuel lines are literally BROKEN, they are easy to diagnose. But first, check that it isn’t old fuel or a clogged filter. If those aren’t the problem, then proceed.

Follow the thin pipes coming out of the fuel tank into the engine. Check them entirely and see whether there’s any leak, crack, or damaged portion. Be aware that these lines tend to break where they hook with the tank, carburetor, and engine – so check their tips first.

If you find a physical issue with the line, that’s likely why your leaf blower is not starting.

How to Fix Broken Fuel Lines?

The problem is generally easy to fix. Here are two ways to do so:

  • If you want to save time and effort, go and buy a new line. Remember, the line could be the one going from the tank to the carburetor or going from the carburetor to the engine. Get one accordingly.
  • Otherwise, you can always use plumbing tape around the portion that’s damaged. This should fix the problem temporarily in most cases. But sooner or later, you’ll have to replace the whole line.

Fuel lines are cheap and easy to find. You can even use a motorcycle fuel line in some cases, so there’s not much to worry about.

#8. Defective Recoil Starter

The recoil start’s whole job is to wind up the starter rope, creating the spark. Without this starter, you won’t get the ignition coil sending a signal to the spark plug. Thus your leaf blower will never start.

This recoil starter is more of an assembly than it is a single piece. But it’s still fixable.

How to Diagnose a Recoil Starter?

You can do this by simply removing the assembly. Inspect that everything is in pristine condition.

If it isn’t, you’ll notice one or two parts broken. That means the recoil starter won’t send the signal, and you need to fix it.

If there isn’t a single sign of damage, you can diagnose by pulling the starter rope and see how the recoil starter works. In case something seems to stop out of nowhere, then the recoil starter is broken.

How to Fix a Defective Recoil Starter?

The best and only way to fix a recoil starter is to replace it. This is especially true if any piece is straight-up broken.

#9. Rewind Pulley or Spring

The line you pull to start a leaf blower often breaks inside. When this happens, there’s no doubt your leaf blower won’t even stutter – there won’t even be a spark.

Most likely, it is the fault of the spring inside that broke. In some cases, the pulley also breaks in a portion that you can’t see.

Luckily, both are fixable.

How to Diagnose a Broken Pulley or Spring?

It is not as hard as it seems. While you will need to open up the leaf blower pull-start system, it is still easy to find.

To start, open up the blower to discover the portion where the pulley and spring are located.

The rewind spring looks like a literal spring but flat. This part connects directly to the pulley. If it isn’t the broken spring, see the pulley and check for signs of damage, it is likely broken.

How to Fix a Broken Pulley or Spring?

While it is possible to buy a spring or pulley replacement, you will find it a lot easier to replace the whole assembly.

This should take little to no time and fix the problem once and for all (if any other part is also damaged and stops working shortly).

#10. Worn-Out Cylinder or Piston Rings

Worn-Out Cylinder or Piston Rings

The main job of a cylinder is to produce compression in the engine alongside the piston rings. This compression is what helps the spark combust, without it your blower won’t start.

When a cylinder fails, the walls or piston rings wear out to the point they can’t hold any compression. This makes it impossible for the spark to ignite.

How to Diagnose a Worn-Out Cylinder or Piston Rings?

Even though this requires a bit of experience with leaf blower engines, you can always find the issue with a bit of effort.

Here are some things to consider:

  • If there’s oil outside the engine coming out the cylinder side, that’s a broken cylinder you’re looking at.
  • See any cracks or any visible signs of cylinder damage? That’s another sign of a worn-out cylinder.
  • Burnt and brittle parts of the cylinder and/or piston rings are also clear tells.

If you see any of these in the cylinder, you know it is damaged, and your leaf blower won’t start.

How to Fix a Worn-Out Cylinder or Piston Rings?

This job is typically too complex for most people to do, so we thoroughly recommend finding an expert to get the job done.

The best thing you can do is to rely on someone who knows what he’s doing. Unlike carburetors or fuel filters, these parts tend to be fixable – but require expertise.

If you don’t find an expert to help you with that, don’t hesitate to change the cylinder/piston rings completely.

Get That Leaf Blower Working Again!

Get That Leaf Blower Working Again!

If your leaf blower won’t start, there’s no need for a new one. With our common issues and solutions above, you may be able to fix yours.

Remember to follow our recommendations to the letter if you want to save some time and effort.

Ultimately, taking your leaf blower to a mechanic, professional, or brand repair shop would be your best bet. While expensive, it will solve the problem or offer you an excellent alternative.

Either way, don’t get stuck with a defective leaf blower – FIX IT UP NOW!

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