If you can get your leaf blower to start but it won’t stay running, the problem almost always lies in the fuel/air/combustion systems. With a little troubleshooting, you can identify and fix the problem.
A leaf blower that won’t stay running is likely due to old fuel residue and debris clogging the fuel filter or carburetor. Poor air filter maintenance could also be a problem. Replacing the air filter, using fresh fuel, cleaning the carburetor, and replacing the fuel filter will usually solve the problem.
These are the top main reasons your leaf blower might stop running after a few seconds of starting the engine. These are common issues with very simple solutions. Read on to learn how to prevent and easily solve them in the next few paragraphs.
Check for and Prevent Fuel Residue to Avoid Leaf Blower Stall
We get it, it is very common to have extra fuel remaining after each leaf blower use, and our last thought is to throw it away. The problem is, when fuel is left on your leaf blower for long periods of time without use nor maintenance, it can cause the fuel to thicken which can clog the carburetor or fuel tank resulting in low performance.
To fix a clogged carburetor or fuel tank:
- Make sure your fuel is no older than 5 weeks old. Fuel typically starts to decay after the 30-day mark. Just imagine the pressure that is put on your leaf blower when the fuel is not able to smoothly pass through the fuel filter but is instead sticky and hardened. To avoid this, always make sure to start your leaf blower with fresh fuel.
- If the carburetor is plugged, simply clean it with a carburetor cleaner to remove fuel residue, in many situations it does not required for the carburetor to be removed.
- If the fuel filter is the issue, this is probably due to debris and fuel residue that are causing it to clog. Replace old fuel and filter, or simply try cleaning up the debris yourself, so that enough fuel can now reach the engine. But it is always recommended to use fresh fuel, as the old one has already thickened.
- Introduce a fuel stabilizer, keeping your fuel fresh and preventing it from thickening (source).
If the carburetor was the root cause, and it continues to fail even after trying all of these suggestions, it might be an internal issue. This means simply cleaning the carburetor won’t solve the problem, and the only two solutions will be to have it replaced or repaired.
I’m a strong advocate for purchasing commercial premix fuel instead of mixing your own. Commercial premix has a much longer shelf life than homemade and you never have to worry about improper mix ratios.
Air Filter Check and Care for Your Leaf Blower
The air filter, as its name already states, filters out any kind of debris that could reach the engine. It should be changed annually to prevent a high accumulation of such.
These quick steps can keep save your leaf blower from stalling due to a clogged air filter:
- Look for damage and debris. Always check for signs of damage or debris build-up on your air filter, even if it less than a year since the last change.
- Replace for a new one or clean it if necessary. This will prevent your leaf blower from shutting down, allowing for the right amount of airflow needed by the carburetor.
By keeping your air filter clean, you are helping the entrance of the right amount of airflow necessary for your blower’s engine to work properly, therefore also helping it last longer.
How to Clean Your Air Filter
If it is a sponge filter, you can simply wash it by removing from the leaf blower and submerging it in detergent and water. Make sure to not leave any soap on it and let it dry before using it again.
If it is a paper filter, remove it and clean up the dust and debris. If it has not been replaced in a year, a new one might be needed.
How to Clean a Leaf Blower Carburetor
Out of all the pieces that make up your leaf blower your carburetor is usually the one to present the most problems. This is because it is the heart of the engine, and without it, your leaf blower would not be able to run at all.
This small, yet crucial piece, is where your leaf blower gets its energy from. It has the significant task of mixing the fuel and air needed to get your leaf blower started.
If you happen to identify the issue is the carburetor and not the air or fuel filter, you may be wondering what is the best option to clean your carburetor.
Use a Carburetor Cleaner
A very easy and affordable solution, as mention above, is the use of a carburetor cleaner. It usually comes in a spray formula that will need to be directly applied to the carburetor.
This is very easy to find, as well as use, and will have your leaf blower running in no time.
This is the fastest solution, with minimum to no waiting time, as you can start using your leaf blower right after spraying the mixture.
Gumout (link to Amazon) is a popular carb cleaner.
Apply spray directly to your carburetor, it will begin to soften and clear up the accumulation of debris and fuel residue.
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It May Be Time to Replace Your Carburetor
If cleaning the carburetor doesn’t do the trick, you may need to replace it. Make sure you get the right part for your leaf blower’s make and model.
You’ll have to walk through a few steps to get to the carburetor, but the process is a simple one, as shown in this YouTube video:
Other Reasons Your Leaf Blower Might Not Stay Running
If you have tried all of the suggestions above without results, there could be other factors affecting your leaf blower’s performance.
Here are a few of them to check for:
- Spark arrestor. There might be a carbon deposit on your spark arrestor. This can be easily fixed by simply cleaning it up. Make sure to always clean your spark arrestor after 10 to 60 hours of use, this will prevent future problems.
- Gaskets. Check that none of your gaskets are damaged, if this happens to be the case, a new one will be needed.
- Carb kit issues. Check for any issues with your carb kits, these can be cleaned or easily replaced if damaged.
Leaf Blower Maintenance and Repair Checklist
After evaluating and going over the top common reasons that cause a leaf blower to stop running, we can conclude prevention is a huge part of the process. In order to keep your leaf blower working and running without any issues, as well as increase its durability, we should constantly keep an eye on the air filter and fuel.
- Keep it clean. Avoid high accumulations of fuel and debris residue
- Use fresh fuel. Do not allow for your fuel to become thickened. The best option is to always use fresh fuel on every use or make use of fuel stabilizers if storage is necessary.
- Take care of your carburetor. Keep in mind that your carburetor is the powerhouse of your leaf blower, make sure to constantly check for plugging.
Following these simple steps can save you time and money in the long run and will have your leaf blower running steadily in no time.