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10 Reasons a Husqvarna String Trimmer Starts, Stalls & Dies

While performing routine maintenance will help minimize issues developing in your string trimmer, there will probably be a time when it just won’t stay running. I’ve put together this guide to help.

A Husqvarna string trimmer starts, stalls, and then dies when it isn’t getting sufficient fuel, air, and spark.

This may be due to a dirty carburetor, clogged fuel filter, clogged fuel line, bad spark plug, faulty ignition coil, plugged air filter, or plugged spark arrestor.

Keep reading for more items that may cause your starting problem. Before repairing your string trimmer, disconnect the spark plug boot and wait for all moving parts to stop.

Husqvarna string trimmer starts, stalls, and dies

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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.

10 Reasons Your Husqvarna String Trimmer Starts Then Dies

1. Incorrect Choke Setting

If your string trimmer starts fine and then dies right after, check to make sure you have the choke lever set in the right position.

The choke is used to restrict air to allow more fuel to be pulled into the cylinder to start a cold engine. Once the engine warms, the choke must be adjusted to the open position to allow sufficient air to keep the engine running.

When the choke isn’t adjusted after the engine warms up, it will begin to sputter and die because it isn’t getting the fuel-to-air ratio required to keep it running.

SOLUTION: Check the choke lever to make sure it is placed in the off position once the engine is warm.

2. Plugged Air Filter

Just like your engine can die from a lack of air when the choke is left on, it can stall and die when clean air isn’t able to flow past a plugged air filter.

Your Husqvarna string trimmer requires an air filter to prevent dirt and debris from getting sucked into the engine causing wear. It must be kept in good condition to keep dirt out while allowing air to pass through it.

I recommend replacing the air filter at the beginning of every lawn care season. Then check and clean the filter several times throughout the season.

Never run your string trimmer without an air filter, even if it’s just for a short period so you can finish your task. Doing so can compromise the engine.

SOLUTION: Clean the air filter. Purchase a new air filter if your filter is extremely dirty or damaged.

Clean a FOAM string trimmer air filter:

  • Remove the air filter cover and air filter.
  • Clean the foam air filter using water and mild detergent.
  • Rinse the filter until the water runs clear and allow it to air dry.
  • Once dry, lightly saturate the filter with filter oil. Squeeze excess oil from the filter. (Do not apply oil to a foam pre-cleaner).
  • Reinstall the filter.
  • Reattach the air filter cover.

Clean a PAPER or FELT string trimmer air filter:

  • Remove the air filter cover and air filter.
  • Clean the filter by tapping it against a solid surface to allow dirt and debris to fall off the filter.
  • Reinstall the filter and ensure it seals the air intake.
  • Reattach the air filter cover.

Some trimmers may also use a foam pre-cleaner filter in addition to the primary filter. Do not add oil to these filters. Consult your operator’s manual for instructions when cleaning other types of air filters.

3. Old or Bad Fuel

Running old fuel through your string trimmer can cause it to stall and run sluggishly. Most gasoline contains ethanol, a corn-based fuel that is added to make fuel more environmentally friendly.

While better for the environment, it is not good for the small engine used on your Husqvarna. The gas and ethanol mixture can begin to break down as soon as 30 days after purchase.

Ethanol and the water it attracts are corrosive to the trimmer. It leaves behind a varnish that reduces the amount of fuel getting to the engine.

Because of the negative effects ethanol has on small engines, avoid running gasoline with high amounts of ethanol. Use unleaded gasoline with a minimum 89-octane rating and a maximum 10% ethanol content in your string trimmer.

A fuel without ethanol is always best, but it is the more expensive fuel choice.

2-cycle and 4-cycle string trimmers have different fuel requirements.

  • 2-cycle engines require a gas and oil mixture at a rate of 50:1. An unleaded gas is mixed with a premium 2-cycle engine oil like Husqvarna XP 2-stroke oil.
  • 4-cycle engines require straight gas. Do not mix with oil.

Only use fresh gasoline in your string trimmer.

SOLUTION: Drain old fuel from the string trimmer. Fill with fresh fuel with a fuel additive like Sea Foam Motor Treatment mixed in to make the fuel stable, reduce moisture, and clean the fuel system.

Start the trimmer and allow it to run for 5-10 minutes to allow all of the fuel to work its way through the fuel system.

4. Plugged Fuel Filter

The fuel filter helps keep the fuel system clean and free of dirt and debris that may get into the fuel tank. You will find the fuel filter on your string trimmer attached to the fuel line inside the fuel tank.

A fuel filter should be replaced annually and possibly more often if you happen to be running dirty fuel.

When it isn’t changed, the filter can become so plugged that a sufficient amount of fuel isn’t able to pass through the filter causing your Husqvarna trimmer to run sluggishly or quit running.

SOLUTION: Replace the fuel filter. If the fuel is dirty, replace it with fresh fuel.

Replace a fuel filter:

  • Wipe around the fuel cap to remove dirt and debris so they don’t fall into the tank.
  • Remove the cap.
  • Pull the fuel filter out of the fuel tank. A clean bent wire works well to retrieve the filter.
  • Once the filter is out of the tank, remove it from the fuel line.
  • Attach the new fuel filter by inserting it into the fuel line.
  • Place the fuel filter back inside the fuel tank.
  • Install the fuel cap.

5. Clogged Fuel Lines

Old fuel can leave behind deposits that stick inside the fuel lines. This narrows the passageway and the amount of fuel that flows through the line.

SOLUTION: When this happens, remove the fuel line and install a new fuel line of the same diameter and width. You will need to replace the fuel line if you find it is dry, cracked, or kinked.

6. Plugged Fuel Tank Vent

The fuel tank requires a vent to allow air to pass through it. When this vent is plugged a vacuum is created in the fuel tank. It doesn’t allow fuel to flow out of the tank which causes the trimmer to stall and die.

If you are not getting fuel to the carburetor, you are running a good filter, and you don’t have any clogs in the fuel lines, you may have a clogged fuel tank vent.

SOLUTION: You can check the pressure of the tank with a pressure gauge to make sure there isn’t a vacuum buildup. However, most people don’t have a fuel line pressure gauge on hand.

Follow the instructions below to determine whether the fuel tank is venting properly.

Perform this simple test to help identify a bad fuel tank vent.

  • Loosen the fuel cap to allow air into the tank and start the trimmer. Don’t allow gas to spill out of the fuel tank.
  • Start the engine and allow it to run. If it runs fine and doesn’t begin to sputter or stall, you may have a vent problem.
  • Try to replicate the issue to further confirm the vent is the problem.
  • Tighten the fuel cap and run the string trimmer. If it begins to run sluggish or shuts down and doesn’t start again until you loosen the fuel cap, replace the fuel tank vent.

The fuel tank vent on some trimmers is located off of a fuel line coming out of the fuel tank. On other models, you will find the tank vents through the gas cap.

7. Dirty Carburetor

The carburetor mixes the correct proportion of air and fuel required for your string trimmer to run. The passageways can become clogged and the small components can fail to function correctly.

This can cause an insufficient amount of fuel mixed with air resulting in a rough running string trimmer that may just quit.

SOLUTION: You may be able to clean your carburetor to get it working again. You may end up having to rebuild it (if rebuild kits are available for your Husqvarna carburetor) or replace the carburetor if cleaning doesn’t help.

Before replacing a carburetor, I recommend comparing the cost of the carburetor and labor expense to the cost of a new string trimmer.

Depending on the model, cost, and age of your string trimmer, you may be better off purchasing a new trimmer.

8. Dirty Spark Plug

The spark plug will become dirty over time with a buildup of carbon. This can cause the plug to misfire having intermittent starting problems.

Other items to look for are cracked porcelain or worn electrodes; a loose spark plug wire; and an incorrect spark plug gap. These items can also cause a running issue with your Husqvarna.

SOLUTION: You can attempt to clean a dirty spark plug with a wire brush and reuse it. I prefer to replace it especially if it’s the reason your trimmer is dying.

It is an inexpensive part and one of the primary items responsible keep your string trimmer running at its best.

Make sure your spark plug is gapped to the manufacturer’s specification and the spark plug wire (boot) is securely attached.

9. Bad Ignition Coil

The winding on the ignition coil can separate and short out. When this happens, the spark plug won’t get the voltage required to create a spark. This will cause your trimmer to die after it’s been running.

SOLUTION: Identify a bad ignition coil using an ohmmeter to check for a break in continuity. Replace the ignition coil if you find a break.

10. Plugged Spark Arrestor

There is a small metal screen that keeps hot exhaust material from shooting out of the string trimmer and causing injury or starting a fire. This small screen will become plugged with a carbon buildup that will affect how the engine runs.

SOLUTION: Disconnect the spark plug wire. Carefully remove the spark arrestor screen and inspect it for damage.

If it is in overall good condition, clean it with a wire brush and reinstall it. However, if it is damaged or has a hole in it, you must replace it with a new spark arrestor screen.

Contact your local Husqvarna service center if you are having trouble locating the spark arrestor screen or if you are continuing to experience problems with your Husqvarna string trimmer.