How to Start a Weed Whacker. Kawasaki weed wacker

How to Start a Weed Whacker

This article was co-authored by Mark Spelman. Mark Spelman is a General Contractor based in Austin, Texas. With over 30 years of construction experience, Mark specializes in constructing interiors, project management, and project estimation. He has been a construction professional since 1987.

There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 151,047 times.

Starting a weed whacker can be tricky when dealing with a model you’ve never seen before. You should know that weed whackers fall into two main categories: some use gas while others are electric. A gas weed whacker starts much like a car or other gas-powered vehicle, while an electric weed whacker’s operation is more similar to electric home appliances.

Starting a Gas Powered Weed Whacker

  • The kill switch controls the flow of electricity to the motor. It’s also referred to as a the “on/off switch”; if it’s kept off, the engine cannot start. [1] X Research source
  • If you’ve used the weed whacker in the past five minutes, the engine should still be warm enough. You won’t need to switch on the choke or use the purge valve.
  • This step is only needed when cold starting the weed whacker.
  • If it doesn’t start, keep pressing the purge valve. Sometimes if the weed whacker has been sitting around it needs more priming.

Stop pulling the cord once you hear the engine running. If done correctly, you’ll then hear the engine stop working; it’ll essentially “burp”, running only for a few seconds. [6] X Research source Make sure not to pull the cord after you hear the engine die down.

Switch the choke to the run position. Now that you’ve been able to start the engine, you don’t need the assistance of the choke. Resuming proper air flow to the engine will keep it efficient. While the choke allows for a cold engine to be started more easily, it will lead to higher fuel consumption if kept on while you use the weed whacker. [7] X Trustworthy Source Science Direct Online archive of peer-reviewed research on scientific, technical and medical topics Go to source

  • For a warm start, you should only need to follow this step. There’s no need to fiddle with the purge valve, and you should make sure the choke is on the run position. [9] X Research source

Starting an Electric Weed Whacker

  • Some electric weed whackers are battery powered. If this is the case, you’ll need to make sure you’ve charged the weed whacker before trying to start it. [10] X Research source
  • Make sure the trigger isn’t held down when plugging in the weed whacker.

Pull the trigger. The advantage of electric weed whackers is they’re ready to be used once they’ve been plugged in. The line will start spinning as soon as you pull the trigger. Make sure to keep the weed whacker away from you and any surface that could be damaged by it. [11] X Research source

Note the differences between electric and gas powered weed whackers. While a gas powered weed whacker demands several steps before starting, electric weed whackers are much simpler. You won’t find a kill switch or a pull cord on an electric weed whacker. You should only need to pull the trigger to get it working.

Expert QA

The placement of parts such as the throttle lock and the kill switch will vary depending on the model you use. Refer to your weed whacker’s user manual to determine their location.

Make sure to wear appropriate safety gear before starting the weed whacker. At the very least, you need a good pair of glasses to prevent debris or plants from getting in your eyes.


Read the owner’s manual carefully before starting a weed whacker. There might be safety precautions or considerations specific to your particular model.

What additional safety gear you should wear depends on your situation. Consider a long sleeved shirt, pants, work boots, a hat, gloves, ear protection, and a dust mask. [12] X Research source

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About This Article

This article was co-authored by Mark Spelman. Mark Spelman is a General Contractor based in Austin, Texas. With over 30 years of construction experience, Mark specializes in constructing interiors, project management, and project estimation. He has been a construction professional since 1987. This article has been viewed 151,047 times.

To start a gas powered weed whacker, start by placing it on the ground and flipping the kill switch on. Once the kill switch is engaged, find the choke and switch it to the “on” or “closed” position, which will allow you to cold start your weed whacker. Then, press the purge valve 5 to 6 times to push fresh gas into the carburetor. After your engine is primed, place your hand on the throttle lock and pull the cord 2 or 3 times until the engine starts to run. With the engine running, switch the choke back to the “run” position and pull the cord 1 more time to get your weed whacker ready to use. For more help, like how to start an electric weed whacker, read on!

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Weed Eater Dies When Giving Gas? Quick Steps To Troubleshoot

Sometimes a weed eater will start, and even idle just fine, but when you give it gas, it dies. This is often a sign that the engine is struggling to get sufficient amounts of either fuel or air. This article will give you some simple areas to check and explain the reasons why your small engine may be having trouble.

Why does my weed eater die when giving it gas? The most common causes of a weed eater dying when throttled are fuel issues, insufficient air intake, or problems with the exhaust. You should follow the path that the fuel travels to identify the issue.

Note that if your weed eater isn’t starting at all, that could be a different set of issues so be sure to read Gas Weed Eater Won’t Start: Causes and Steps to Troubleshoot.

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Let’s get started with the troubleshooting process so that you can get back to your yard work.

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Fuel Issues

When it comes to gas-powered weed eaters, the problem often lies with the quality and flow of fuel.

start, weed, whacker

Let’s deal with the obvious first and get it out of the way.

First, make sure you have enough gas in the tank. I know, I know… it seems ridiculous. But we’ve all had that moment of frustration just to realize the tank had nothing but fumes. So check this.

If the tank has plenty of fuel, be sure the primer bulb is filling properly before you start the engine. Sometimes we forget to do this in the midst of working. Blame it on the heat!

And those primer bulbs tend to dry-rot and crack over time so make sure it’s not sucking in air when you depress it.

It’s also possible that the type or mixture of fuel you are using has caused an issue. Know this: Bad gas will sometimes allow a weed eater to start but once you try to rev the throttle, it dies.

As a rule, I strongly recommend using ethanol-free gas in your weed eater. Most manufacturers allow for up to 10% ethanol but it’s not worth the risk. Ethanol can really mess up a small engine.

Your best bet is to opt for a pre-mixed fuel like Husqvarna XP (link to Amazon). It’s ethanol-free, has a high octane rating, and has a much longer shelf life than a homemade fuel mix.

Commercial pre-mixed fuel also has the correct levels of fuel stabilizers and assures a precise gas-to-oil ratio for optimal small engine performance.

Fuel Filter

If you have been using a less-optimal fuel, it’s worth checking your fuel filter.

When a weed eater starts okay but dies when throttled, it often indicates that there is restricted fuel flow. A fuel filter can get clogged with impurities to a point that it allows a small amount of fuel through (enough for starting and even idling) but won’t let it through at a rate sufficient to rev up.

It’s worth checking this and cleaning the filter (or replacing it since they are so inexpensive). And if you do mix your own, make sure your two-stroke oil hasn’t gone bad. It doesn’t last forever like people think it does.

Air Filter

When the fuel has passed through the fuel filter, it enters the carburetor where it’s mixed with air. If your air filter is clogged, it will literally suffocate the engine when you rev the throttle.

Depending on your model, it’s usually just a matter of turning a plastic knob or unscrewing a single screw to remove the air filter cover and gain access. Clean it or replace it depending on the type of filter it is. They are pretty cheap.

Checking the Carburetor

A carburetor is a component in gasoline engines. It ensures air and fuel work together to start a combustion engine. It is also one of the most frustrating parts of a small engine and a big reason that I’ve been seriously considering the benefits of moving to electric yard tools.

start, weed, whacker

Although it’s a fairly simple mechanism, there are a number of things that can go wrong with a carburetor. However, since your weed eater is starting and only dies when giving it gas, that does help us to slim down the potential issues a little.

Now, the obvious issue that you need to check before we get technical is whether or not your carburetor is clogged. I’ve had great success with SeaFoam motor treatment (link to Amazon).

However, there are plenty of carburetor cleaning options on the market. The important thing to remember is to make sure the carb isn’t clogged before proceeding into the next, more technical steps.

Let’s look at these areas of your carburetor:

These are the most common culprits of a carburetor when a weed eater starts but stalls when throttling.

If you want to see this visually, Home Garage has an excellent walk-through video on YouTube that takes you through a lot of what we are going to cover:

Thriving Yard aims to simplify the unnecessarily complex process of growing and maintaining a healthy, thriving lawn and garden. Unlike corporate website companies who write articles from an office overlooking a major city, the authors on this website live in small towns and regularly use many of the tips and recommendations provided in their own garden and lawn care. Read

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