Maintenance tips to extend the life of a string trimmer

July 21, 2023 -  By
Operators will notice negative performance consequences if crews don’t perform routine maintenance. (Photo: Stihl)

Operators will notice negative performance consequences if crews don’t perform
routine maintenance. (Photo: Stihl)

String trimmers are essential tools for any landscaping company. John Powers, director of product management for Echo; Ryan Fredrickson, senior product manager of outdoor power equipment for Milwaukee Tool; Cindy Harley, senior product manager for Oregon Tool; and Ahmed Hamdy, Ph.D., product segment manager at Stihl, share maintenance tips contractors can use to get the most out of their equipment.

Performing maintenance

According to Powers, routine maintenance for gas-powered trimmers depends on the time of year and the part. Some parts need checking more often.

“With harder usage, there will be more frequent checks,” Powers says.

Hamdy says performing basic maintenance, such as checking for loose, broken or missing parts, and cleaning the equipment before and after every use is critical.

“Before starting a job, do a thorough visual check of critical components, including the control handle, fuel system and cutting attachment,” Hamdy says.

Fredrickson says battery-powered tools will not require extensive maintenance. Instead, monitor the batteries and cord instead of the fuel filter or spark plugs. Check and top off the grease in the trimmer head gear case every 50 hours of operation and clean the vents on the back of the trimmer.

“Keeping those vents clean will help cool the motor and electronics,” he says.

Consistency is key

Some of Harley’s top maintenance items include checking the trimmer head to ensure the eyelets are in place and that there are no excessive signs of wear. In addition, inspect the spark arrestor on the exhaust and the recoil starter rope.

“Maintenance is important for any outdoor power product,” Harley says. “Basic use of a string trimmer requires maintenance once a season, but it varies based on usage.”

Still, contractors can easily overlook maintenance aspects during a busy season.

Powers says regularly checking trimmer heads and air filters is critical. He recommends replacing filters every few months.

“Trimmer heads, especially plastic ones, wear out,” Powers says. “Keeping the air filter clean will help the unit run properly. Dirty air filters inhibit engine performance.”

Hamdy adds that operators will notice negative consequences in the field if crews don’t perform routine maintenance before use.

“With a clogged air filter, fuel filter, fuel line or carburetor, there can be a noticeable loss of engine power during use,” Hamdy adds. “Or the trimmer will simply not start.”

Harley says that hydrating the trimmer line is an overlooked maintenance practice. She recommends keeping the trimmer line hydrated with
room-temperature water, especially when the heat rises.

“Soaking the trimmer line in water for at least two hours before use will maximize its life span,” Harley says. “This is because the line is hygroscopic, so it can become dry and brittle before breaking.”

Extending the lifespan

Hamdy says if crews inspect and take care of equipment after use, the product will run efficiently season after season. String trimmer maintenance is essential for landscape professionals, from cleaning debris to changing parts.

“Proper string trimmer maintenance extends tool life and reduces downtime,” Hamdy says. “Although built to handle demanding jobs, failing to clean or provide general maintenance can prevent trimmers from achieving peak performance.”

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