Troubleshooting for Leaf Blowers: A Quick Guide

Approx Reading Time: 6 minutes

Yes, it’s autumn once again. No doubt you’re eager to get out that leaf blower you’ve owned for years and start clearing that thick sheet of red, orange and yellow leaves which now covers your lawn.

Yes, a leaf blower is a much more convenient alternative to raking leaves. I have talked about this in one of my previous articles.

But what happens when you are about to spend a sunny, crisp autumn afternoon outside and all of a sudden you discover your leaf blower doesn’t work?

Don’t get frustrated. Follow these basic tips for troubleshooting a leaf blower so you can get back to work as soon as possible.

Most common issues

Frequent issues leaf blower owners need to troubleshoot include their machines not turning on, the accelerator not working, limited air delivery, and excessive vibration.

The leaf blower won’t turn on

Before venturing out onto your lawn, make sure the blower is fueled. If for some reason you have a full tank of gas but the entire machine smells like stagnant gas, there’s a good chance the engine is flooded.

So, what exactly do you do if your leaf blower won’t start? First, set the choke lever to the “Run” setting. Then switch the throttle lever to the “Fast” position. Continue pulling the cord until you get the engine to start up.

Furthermore, there may be a kink in the gas line. If there is, you will need to reposition the line to enable gas to gain access to the engine. If all else fails, clean the fuel filter or replace the spark plug.

There are marked differences between electric leaf blowers and their gas-powered counterparts. With electric units, problems relating to non-starting usually have to do with power.

If you’re using an outdoor circuit breaker or fuse box, make sure the outlet is receiving electricity. Lastly, if your leaf blower is receiving power but still refuses to start, you will need to let a professional technician fix it for you, provided you don’t have the skills to do so yourself.

Your leaf blower won’t accelerate

A clogged air filter is often the reason why a leaf blower will not accelerate. Not only does a clogged air filter prevent starting, it also puts enormous strain on your engine. In this case, I suggest cleaning the filter. If it is really dirty or is showing signs of damage, you will have no other choice but to replace it.

Now, if you do clean the filter and the machine still won’t start, check for more debris and then try it again. Also, there could be a kink in the fuel line that will need to be repositioned.

Furthermore, although it doesn’t happen often, leaf blowers experience compression and carburetor issues. Since most average folks are not equipped to fix this, your best bet is to take it to a local dealer for assistance.

Limited Air Delivery

A leaf blower is supposed to have plenty of power to blow leaves into piles, so they can be collected. Leaf blowers that don’t deliver sufficient air often have issues with impellers.

If you’re not sure what the impeller is, it’s a device that helps to operate the leaf blower and is located near the back of the unit. You need to remove the intake cover and look inside to see if the impeller is loose.

If it is, tighten it. On the other hand, if the impeller has experienced damage (such as bent fins), it must be replaced. You can visit the manufacturer’s website to get information about ordering a replacement part.

Excessive Vibration

Excessive vibration during operation is often the sign of loose or damaged fasteners. Fasteners need to be inspected carefully and tightened if they are indeed loose.

Loose or malfunctioning impellers are often the cause of excessive vibration in both gas-powered and electric units. Again, tighten the impeller or replace the part if it is bent or cracked. Additionally, did you know that built-up, loose debris inside the intake area can also cause excessive vibration?

You have to remove the cover to the intake area and clean thoroughly. Now, when all of these troubleshooting techniques have been utilized and your blower still vibrates heavily, there most likely is some sort of mechanical failure.

Remove the intake cover and clean the area, if necessary. If the blower still experiences excessive vibration, there may be some type of mechanical failure so it’s best to take it to your local service center.

Some more helpful advice

I hope that you do indeed have a successful run at collecting up your leaves this autumn. But if you do experience problems (regardless of whether your blower is electric or gas-powered) a very helpful thing to do is read the owner’s manual cover-to-cover.

The owner’s manual will give instructions of what to do when many of the basic issues I spoke about in detail in this article do occur.

I already mentioned the importance of checking the plug for power. But you should also ensure that the cable has not been cut or worn. This can cause a short circuit or none at all. Furthermore, sometimes the terminals inside of the plug come loose. If this happens, simply reconnect the terminals.

One final piece of advice regarding your leaf blower’s electric motor: if for some reason your machine is not working properly, and you just can’t figure out why, the electric motor may have an issue. To troubleshoot this, check to see if the central spindle is turning the way it’s supposed to.


Yes, like with any other power tool, there is a great deal to know about the operation and maintenance of leaf blowers. If you’re like many other suburban homeowners, you most likely don’t possess a plethora of mechanical and technical skills.

These troubleshooting tips are designed to give you basic knowledge, so you’ll have enough understanding about what to do if and when these issues do occur. As always, if you cannot fix the issue yourself, take your leaf blower to a trained professional.

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!