Regular maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to keep your lawn equipment in good shape. String-line trimmers and weed wackers are no exceptions. A large part of this maintenance involves keeping the equipment clean and replacing parts that wear-out. It's not too hard, and it'll pay-off by extending the life of your trimmer.

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1) Turn It Off

First, you want to make sure the trimmer is turned off and that it's not going to start back up while you're cleaning it. For corded electric trimmers, unplug from the power supply. If you're using a battery-powered trimmer, removed the battery. And for gasoline-powered models, disconnect the spark plug wire. Now you can safely clean the trimmer without it accidentally turning on and injuring you.

2) Brush Dirt Off

Any tool that you're using to cut grass and weeds is going to get dirty. String-line trimmers are often covered in dust, dirt, and pieces of the plants you were cutting. You don't have to clean them after every use, but try not to let the debris build up too much. A stiff brush is usually all you need to scrub debris off your trimmer's cutting head and handle. At the end of the season, dip the brush in warm, soapy water to give the trimmer a more thorough cleaning.

3) Clean Air Filter

Keeping the air filter clean helps prevent engine damage. You'll want to clean it every 10 hours of use or if you notice dust is starting to build-up on it. If you've been using the trimmer, make sure you give it enough time to cool down before opening the filter cover. Once you've removed the air filter clean it in warm water with a little dish detergent in it. Rinse the filter, then let it dry. Once it's dry put a little motor oil on it, squeeze the filter to distribute the oil and wring-out excess oil, then put it back in the trimmer. If your trimmer has a paper filter instead of one that's made of foam, or the foam filter is torn, you'll have to replace it instead of cleaning it.

4) Check Spark Plug

Check the spark plug at least once a season to see if it needs to be cleaned or replaced.  Before you take the spark plug out, brush any debris away from the area around it so dirt won't fall into the combustion chamber. Use a wire brush to clean the spark plug, then inspect it for damage. If the plug has turned black, you find stubborn deposits that won't brush off, see cracked porcelain, or there are burned-away electrodes then it's time to replace the plug. If you don't see any of those problems, you can put the cleaned spark plug back in the trimmer.

Following these four steps on a regular schedule will prevent damage caused by debris building up on your trimmer. Keeping the trimmer clean means less strain on the engine. It also helps prevent rust in any metal components. And if you ever do need a little extra help with maintenance or you're looking for a new trimmer, come in and see us. We'll be happy to help.