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14 Reasons a RYOBI Gas Leaf Blower Will Not Start (Fix It Now)

Being stuck with a leaf blower that won’t start is frustrating, especially when you have a large leaf cleanup job to get done. Many items that prevent a leaf blower from starting are quick fixes. I’ll go through the items that can affect your blower so you can get it running again.

A RYOBI leaf blower won’t start when it doesn’t get sufficient air, fuel, and spark. This can be due to a plugged air filter, old fuel, clogged fuel lines, plugged fuel filter, dirty carburetor, bad spark plug, clogged fuel tank vent, or plugged spark arrestor.

Keep reading for additional items that will prevent your RYOBI blower from starting. Remove the spark plug boot before performing any work. If you were able to get your blower to run and now it won’t start, make sure you wait for the engine to cool and for all parts have stopped moving to reduce injury.

Ryobi Leaf Blower Will Not Start

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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.

Reasons Your RYOBI Leaf Blower Won’t Start

Wrong Choke Setting

In order to start a cold RYOBI leaf blower, the choke lever must be placed at full choke. As it tries to start, adjust the lever to half choke and then to full choke after it has been running.

The choke restricts the amount of air. It is needed to start a cold engine to allow more gas to be burned. Once started, the choke must be turned off to allow a sufficient mix of gas and air so the blower continues to run.

Incorrect 2-Cycle Oil Mix

The worse thing you can do to a RYOBI leaf blower is to add straight gas to the fuel tank. The blower requires a gas and oil mix. Without the right amount of oil added to the gas, the fuel will run very dry through the engine and cause it to seize.

This most likely will result in damage that cannot be repaired. You will have to spend money on purchasing a new RYOBI leaf blower.

RYOBI 2-cycle leaf blowers require a gas and oil mixture at a rate of 50:1. When creating this mix, use unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 89 (mid-grade) and maximum ethanol content of 10%.

Add a 2-cycle premium oil like Ethanol Shield as recommended by RYOBI. You can also use an equivalent 2-cycle oil that is ISO-L-EGD and JASO M345 FD certified.

50:1 = 1 gallon of gas + 2.6 fl oz. 2-cycle oil
50:1 = 2.5 gallon of gas + 6.4 fl oz 2-cycle oil

Old Fuel and Oil Mix

Ethanol, found in most gasoline on the market today, attracts moisture to the fuel system. This water and ethanol mixture causes gumming in the fuel system.

It contributes to premature failure of the fuel components and restrictions in the fuel system preventing the engine from getting the fuel it requires.

Always use unleaded gasoline with a maximum ethanol content of 10% (E10). Avoid E15 and E85 gasoline. These contain ethanol at levels up to 15% and 85% respectively.

Drain any old fuel remaining in your leaf blower and fill it with a fresh gas and oil mix. Add a fuel stabilizer like Sea Foam Motor Treatment to stabilize the fuel, clean the fuel system and reduce moisture in the fuel.

If you choose to use a premixed ethanol-free fuel, you do not need to add a stabilizer. Premixed fuel is a great option to help protect your engine.

You don’t have to worry about the negative issues of ethanol. It’s also convenient to store canisters of fuel on the shelf that are readily available to pour into the fuel tank without the hassle of mixing.

Plugged Air Filter

Your RYOBI blower requires air to start and run so when the air filter becomes plugged it may not start. With the dirt and debris that gets tossed into the air from using a blower, the air filter can become clogged if it isn’t cleaned or replaced regularly.

A plugged air filter restricts the amount of air that is able to pass through the filter. This lack of air will cause the engine not to start.

It’s good practice to replace your air filter annually and then check it before each use to make sure it is free of dirt and debris. When checking the filter, remove it and clean it if you find it is dirty.

You will have to clean or replace your filter more frequently if you use your RYOBI blower more than the average homeowner. Follow the step below to clean a foam-style filter in your blower.

  • RYOBI blower foam filter:
    • Remove the air filter from the housing.
    • Wipe out any dirt remaining in the air filter housing and cover.
    • Wash the foam filter in a water and mild detergent solution.
    • Rinse until the water runs clear.
    • Let the air filter air dry.
    • Lightly coat with engine oil. The filter should be saturated in oil, but not dripping oil. Squeeze excess oil from the filter.
    • Install the air filter.
    • Reattach the air filter cover.
  • RYOBI blower air filter – other types:
    • Remove the air filter from the housing.
    • Wipe out any dirt remaining in the air filter housing and cover.
    • Brush the dirt and debris from the filter.
    • Inspect the filter. If it is very dirty or damaged, replace it with a new one.
    • Install the air filter.
    • Reattach the air filter cover.

If you find your air filter is bad or plugged and you don’t have a replacement filter on hand, NEVER operate your blower without one even if it’s only for a short period of time to finish up a job.

Allowing small particles to enter the engine will cause engine wear and damage. That small filter is providing protection to your engine.

Bad Spark Plug

A bad spark plug is one that is dirty with carbon buildup and has a cracked porcelain or burnt electrode. When the plug isn’t functioning, it will not provide the spark required for the engine to run.

Remove the spark plug and inspect it. Replace a dirty or damaged spark plug with a new one. You will find the spark plug number listed on the old spark plug.

Make sure the spark plug is gapped to the RYOBI’s specification and securely attach the spark plug boot.

Plugged Fuel Filter

Like the air filter prevents dirt from entering the air intake, the fuel filter prevents dirt from entering the fuel system.

The fuel filter on a leaf blower can be found inside the fuel tank attached to the fuel line. It strains the fuel as it enters the fuel line to keep any dirt or debris in the fuel tank from getting sucked into the fuel line.

This filter should also be replaced each year for the average homeowner. Check and change your fuel filter by following these steps:

Replace a RYOBI leaf blower fuel filter:

  • Wipe around the fuel cap to keep any dirt from falling into the fuel tank when removing the fuel cap.
  • Remove the fuel cap.
  • Use a clean bent wire to hook the fuel line and pull the fuel filter out of the tank.
  • With one hand securely holding the fuel line and ring clip, pull the filter out of the fuel line with the other hand.
  • Install a new fuel filter by inserting the male end into the fuel line making sure the ring clip is securely holding the fuel line to the filter.
  • Place the filter in the fuel tank and reinstall the fuel cap.

Bad Primer Bulb

A cracked primer bulb that won’t fill up with fuel won’t function correctly to get fuel to the carburetor. Replace with a new primer bulb.

Clogged Fuel Line

Old fuel sitting in your RYOBI leaf blower can leave behind gummy sticky deposits that restrict fuel flow. Replace a fuel line in the leaf blower when it is cracked, kinked, or clogged.

Plugged Fuel Tank Vent

The fuel tank vent allows air into the tank. Without a vent, the fuel tank will create a vacuum that won’t allow fuel to leave your RYOBI fuel tank.

A good indication you may have a fuel tank vent problem is when your leaf blower shuts down and won’t start until you remove the fuel cap to allow air into the fuel tank.

The fuel tank vents through the fuel cap on most RYOBI blowers. There is a filter and check valve that can become plugged and no longer vent. Replace the fuel cap when you run into this problem.

Dirty Carburetor

The carburetor regulates the amount of fuel that is mixed with air to create combustion in the cylinder. Old fuel will gum up and clog the carburetor so it no longer functions as designed.

If you are a little mechanical you should be able to handle cleaning your carburetor. Clean the carburetor by taking it apart and using carburetor cleaner to clean it.

If the carburetor does not function after being cleaned, you may need to rebuild it or replace it with a new carburetor.

Bad Recoil Starter

Your RYOBI leaf blower uses a recoil to start the engine. A bad pulley; loose or missing spring; or broken clips can keep your recoil from working.

You can attempt to replace the spring and restring the recoil. If it does not work because other components in your recoil are damaged, such as the clips or the pulley, you are better off just replacing the recoil assembly.

Failed 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 RYOBI blower to fail to start.

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

Plugged Spark Arrestor

The spark arrestor is a small screen that can get plugged with soot. A plugged spark arrestor may prevent your RYOBI leaf blower from starting due to airflow issues.

Remove the spark arrestor and clean it with a wire brush. If you are unable to clean it sufficiently, replace it with a new spark arrestor.

Flooded Engine

The engine can become flooded when the choke is in the closed position and the starter rope was pulled many times. It can also happen with the switch off and the starter rope being pulled multiple times or when the primer bulb is pushed too many times.

This is not a very serious problem and can be easily corrected.

How to Fix a Flooded Engine on a RYOBI Leaf Blower

  • Move the choke lever to the open position.
  • Squeeze the throttle trigger.
  • Pull the starter rope multiple times until it starts. This can take anywhere between 5 and 15 pulls before it starts. Your leaf blower engine will sputter first. Continue to pull 2 to 3 more times and it should start.