Common Problems with Auto-Line Feed Grass Trimmers


Trimming and edging your lawn is usually the last process in an afternoon of yard work. However, sometimes our weed trimmers give us problems that we are not prepared for. The majority of them are easy fixes that can be done on the spot and take about 15 minutes.

Not Starting

  • Check the plug at both ends if it is an electric trimmer. It sounds simple, but sometimes through walking, you can pull it out just enough to stop the trimmer from receiving electricity. In gas-powered devices, make sure you shut the choke off. Also check for fuel. Always check that the spark plug is getting a secure connection. More serious small engine problems will require a mechanic.

Trimmer Line Not Feeding

  • The trimmer is a device that is down in the dirt and has debris around it constantly. When you tap the trimmer head on the surface and the line does not come out, the trimmer line feed hole may be plugged; remove the debris if it is. If that is not the problem, remove the head and check the spool. Sometimes the line will cling to the other line on the spool, stopping it from feeding. If that is not the problem examine the release mechanism. This is the part that has the button on it that feeds the line when it strikes the ground. When you remove the cover, you will see a spring. Check to see if the spring has caught some debris.

Not Cutting the Line

  • This is a common problem and can be dangerous if it is an auto feed trimmer. Check the line-cutting blade at the bottom of the safety cover. There can be two problems. The first is a build-up of grass or debris, especially if the lawn is wet. Simply remove this debris to clear the blade. The second problem is that the blade is dull. With a small Phillip's head screwdriver, remove the screw that holds the blade and replace it with a new blade.

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  • "The Lawn Bible: How to Keep It Green, Groomed, and Growing Every Season of the Year;" David R. Mellor; 2003
  • Photo Credit line trimmers image by Horticulture from
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