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Leaf Blower Making a Clicking Noise? Reasons and Fixes


Leaf blower making clicking noise? Here's how to troubleshoot it.

When people complain about a clicking noise from their leaf blower, I always ask whether this sound is happening while it is running or if it only clicks and won’t start. This can quickly help to troubleshoot what the problem is.  

If a leaf blower is making a clicking noise but won’t start, check for a faulty spark plug or ignition switch as well as a seized motor. If the clicking occurs while the engine is running, it’s likely caused by debris in the impeller, a damaged magnet in the flywheel, a bent washer, or a loose impeller nut.

Whether the clicking noise is incredibly loud or barely perceptible below the gas motor’s loud hum, what starts as a small noise could lead to more expensive problems down the line if left unchecked.

Faulty Spark Plug 

A damaged spark plug can stunt the electric current required to start up the blower’s engine. You may then hear a clicking noise either while trying to start the blower or while the engine is idling.

Since the spark plug is located on the outer body of your leaf blower, this will be an easy one to check.

Here is how you can fix this problem:

  • Remove the spark plug.
  • Check for corrosion, buildup, and cracks on the electrode. 
  • If damaged, replace the spark plug. 

Faulty Ignition Switch

A key place I want to look when hearing a clicking noise is the leaf blower’s ignition switch.

Replacing a bad ignition switch involves opening the housing of the leaf blower but the process is fairly simple and straightforward. This YouTube video walks through the process on an ECHO but the steps are basically the same for any leaf blower.

How to Replace the Ignition Switch on an Echo Blower (Part # A440001310)

As a general rule, you should replace your spark plug after 20 or more hours of use, or even simpler, after the close of each season. 

Bent Leaf Blower Housing 

The plastic encasing that protects your leaf blower from wear and tear will accumulate many dents and scratches over time. If the damage becomes severe enough, the internal mechanisms can rub on the side or cause the housing to rattle.

I’ve actually seen these plastic housings melted from the engine heat and then laid on their side while hot, reshaping the casing where it pressed against key components in the engine.

Here is how you can fix this problem: 

  • Remove the spark plug. 
  • You may only need to replace a piece of your leaf blower’s housing, such as the fan guard. 
  • Either way, remove the damaged encasing with a screwdriver and replace it altogether.

Seized Motor

If your leaf blower’s motor seizes you may hear a variety of noises depending on the cause. Most of the time, motor’s will seize due to excess friction causing the mechanisms to overheat.

This is almost always the result of improper gas-to-oil ratio (more on that later). The engine needs oil to keep parts lubricated when rubbing together. Without it, the engine freezes up, or “seizes”.

This is a great YouTube video on taking apart a seized leaf blower engine and troubleshooting the issue:

25cc Craftsman Leaf Blower with Seized Motor

When you go to start your leaf blower it may begin to click as the internal mechanisms get caught in their attempt to rapidly spin. 

This seizing can be the result of an unclean air filter, the wrong ratio of gasoline to oil, loose or bent blower components like nuts, bolts and flywheel magnets, or excessive debris. 

Here is how to locate and resolve each of these issues. 

Adjusting Fuel Ratio

Fuel quality will begin to rapidly deteriorate after about a month of being left in a tank. Moreover, the wrong type of fuel and oil mixture will also cause problems over time. Without proper gas, your leaf blower can run into a wide range of serious hiccups, such as a seized, overheated motor. 

Here is how you can fix this problem:

  • Remove the spark plug. 
  • Drain your fuel tank. 
  • Double-check that the ratio of oil to gas is correct for your particular leaf blower. (These proportions should be available in your leaf blower’s manual).

I’m a strong believer in buying commercially premixed fuel. You avoid the damage that ethanol can cause when it comes to small engines, you get a precise gas-to-oil ratio, and you never have to worry about introducing impurities into your tank from pump gas. And to top it all off, you get a much longer shelf like with commercial premixed fuel.

Cleaning Your Air Filter 

Suppose there is a build-up of debris in your leaf blower’s air filter. In that case, this will significantly affect the air output while in use and may even block the blower from starting. The clicking noise may be from your blower’s failed attempts to suck in enough air to start up the engine, causing it to seize up. 

Here is how you can fix this problem:

  • Remove the spark plug and then remove the air filter housing with a screwdriver.
  • To clean, remove the foam filter and place it in a warm soapy bath. 
  • Let soak for a few moments before wringing it out. 
  • If replacing, simply remove the old filter and put the new filter in its place.

You can purchase a new air filter onlineOpens in a new tab. (link to Amazon). Be sure to check for compatibility with your model.

Leaves or Other Debris Stuck in the Impeller 

Given that a leaf blower’s purpose is to blow around loads of organic matter, there is a high chance that these small bits and pieces will get stuck in the impeller (also known as a fan).

Sometimes even the smallest bits can get lodged in the blades or deeper in the blower’s mechanisms causing the blower to click. 

Here is how you can fix this problem:

  • Remove the spark plug. 
  • Use a screwdriver to detach the leaf blower’s plastic housing. 
  • Depending on the type of leaf blower you own, you may only need to remove the impeller’s plastic cover. 
  • Assess whether you will need to detach the impeller itself to remove more debris. 

Helpful Tip: Try blowing air into the mechanisms or spinning the impeller manually to determine where the blades may be catching. 

A Washer is Bent 

Washers attach the impeller to the body of the leaf blower. If they become bent, this will decenter the impeller blades.

This instability can cause a clicking noise while the motor is idling, or cause the impeller blade to get stuck resulting in overheating or a seized motor. 

Here is how you can fix this problem: 

  • Remove the spark plug. 
  • Use a screwdriver to remove the housing around your impeller and undo the impeller nut with a wrench. 
  • Check to see if the washer is warped or not laying flat. If so, replace the washer altogether. 
  • Reassemble by following these directions in reverse order.

Loose Impeller Nut

Much like a loose washer, a loose nut can cause a rattling noise when using your blower.

The noise may be more pronounced while the blower is idling. If the impeller nut becomes lodged between the blade and the encasing, your engine may overheat and seize. 

Here is how you can fix this problem: 

  • Remove the spark plug. 
  • Remove the plastic casing around the impeller. 
  • Thread a piece of rope into the spark plug hole to hold the impeller blade steady as you use a wrench to tighten the loose nut. 
  • Inspect for more extensive damage and assess if the nut needs replacing altogether.
  • If the nut needs to be replaced, remove it altogether and reassemble with a new nut, following the above directions in reverse order.

An Impeller Blade is Broken or Bent 

If your impeller blade is bent, it can begin to rub against the sides. A piece of the blade may have broken off due to corrosion, thus causing a clicking or rattling noise.

The best solution for a bent impeller blade is to replace it altogether. You can purchase a new impeller onlineOpens in a new tab. (link to Amazon). Check for compatibility with your leaf blower’s model.

Here is how you can fix this problem: 

  • Remove the spark plug. 
  • Remove the plastic impeller casing with a screwdriver. 
  • Thread a piece of rope into the spark plug shaft to hold the impeller still. 
  • Use a wrench to remove the bolt, and the impeller should pull right off. 
  • Follow these directions in reverse order for installation.

Damaged Magnet in the Flywheel Striking Ignition Coil

The magnetic bearings in the flywheel allow the device to spin faster than would standard bearings.

The cause of the clicking noise may be from one of these damaged or loose bearings hitting against other internal components, mainly the ignition coil. 

Unfortunately, a broken bearing means that you will need to install a new flywheel but they are relatively inexpensive depending on your model.

Here is how you can fix this problem: 

  • Locate the flywheel behind the impeller. 
  • Remove the plastic fan guard with a screwdriver. 
  • Use a wrench to loosen the nut and remove the impeller. 
  • Use a mallet to loosen the flywheel and remove it. 
  • To reassemble, follow directions in reverse order.

Conclusion

Troubleshooting a leaf mower that makes a clicking noise starts with identifying when the clicking occurs. If it only clicks but won’t turn over there is likely an issue with the ignition switch. If it clicks while running, check for issues with the impeller.

Other issues can cause a clicking noise but these are the first places I would look.

Related Reading:

Paul Brown

Paul has a two-acre yard on red clay soil in Southeast Texas. He knows exactly what the challenges are to nurturing a thriving yard in difficult soil. He takes a practical approach to yard improvement and enjoys putting best practices and “golden rules of lawn care” to the test. Click here for Paul’s author page

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