How to Troubleshoot Your Two Stroke Engine

Leaf blowers use two-stroke engine technology.
Leaf blowers use two-stroke engine technology. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Two-stroke engines are used in a number of home and garden appliances, from trimmers and edgers to leaf blowers. These engines are similar to the larger engines used in other equipment but they can be somewhat temperamental, especially if they are not maintained well or stored properly during the off season. If you own an appliance that uses a two-stroke engine, it is up to you to care for it properly and diagnose any problems that may occur.

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Remove the spark plug and check the bottom of it. If the spark plug is not wet, it is an indication that the engine is not getting the fuel it needs. Check the fuel lines and the carburetor and unplug them if necessary. Refer to the owner's manual that came with your leaf blower, edger or trimmer for the exact procedure to remove and clean the carburetor.

Replace the spark plug if it appears fouled. Keeping a few extra spark plugs on hand is a good practice when you have a two-stroke engine.

Open the air filter compartment on the two-stroke appliance and check it carefully. Replace the air filter if it is clogged or dirty. The air filter is a likely culprit if the engine starts normally but sputters and shuts off.

Drain the fuel tank and replace the fuel if the two-stroke engine will not start. You should drain the fuel tank if you plan to store the appliance for more than a few weeks. The fuel can become stale and unusable over time, and replacing it can help prevent starting problems.

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