Things to Try When Your Mower Won’t Start

You’ve used your mower all season, but when you go to mow this time, it just won’t start. Now what? Before you start shopping for new mowers, there are a few things you should try to get your mower running again.

Check the Oil

Most small engines sold today have a float in the crankcase connected to the ignition system. If the oil level gets too low, it cuts the ignition. This keeps a lack of lubrication from damaging the engine.

Make sure you’re reading the oil level correctly. If the dipstick pushes into the filler neck, it must be fully inserted to get an accurate reading. Dipsticks in Hondas must be read with the dipstick inserted but not threaded into the filler neck. For other engines, check the owner’s manual. Measurement methods aren’t consistent, even within engine families.

Oil burnoff is normal, especially at high temperatures. Check your owner’s manual for oil recommendations. Most manufacturers suggest using a heavier weight oil or a full synthetic oil for use above 90°F.


Modern fuel goes stale quickly. Always use fuel that is less than 30 days old, or less than 90 days old if it was treated with a stabilizer. Fuel-injected engines are less sensitive to stale fuel, but manufacturers still recommend using fresh gas. If the engine was stored for a long time with fuel in it, you may need to take it apart and clean off the deposits in the carburetor, fuel line, and tank. 

When you tilt the engine, always keep the carburetor pointed up. Otherwise, you will flood the engine. If this happens, you need to turn the engine over a few times. This gets the excess gas out of the combustion chamber, so the engine can start.


A clogged filter puts a strain on the engine and could throw off the air/fuel ratio. To loosen dirt on paper filters, tap them against a hard surface. Foam filters should be washed in soap and water. Wipe out the air box to remove any dirt buildup. If your engine has a vortex filter box, clean it thoroughly. These systems remove most of the dirt before it reaches the filter, so they get dirty quickly.

Some foam filters need to be oiled, while others don’t. Check your owner’s manual for instructions. Always use clean oil.


If you don’t have a good spark, the engine can’t ignite the fuel. Check the plug wires for damage, and make sure the connections are secure. Remove the spark plug and inspect the electrode. If the plug is fouled or damaged, replace it. Don’t try to sand off deposits: you could end up with grit inside the engine. Check the electrode gap, and make sure it’s within specifications.

Do you think you have a faulty coil? You can test it by removing the spark plug and plugging it into the plug wire. Hold the plug so that the electrode is against a metal part of the engine, then pull the starter. If the ignition system is working, you should see a spark between the electrodes.

Need Something for Your Mower?

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is an authorized service center for most engine brands, including Honda, Kawasaki, Kohler, Vanguard, and Briggs & Stratton. We also carry a wide range of residential and commercial mowers, including Exmark, Scag, and Cub Cadet. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. If you need parts or accessories, order online at We ship across the United States and Canada.

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The New Snowdog Advance and Pro: Great Alternatives to ATVs and Snowmobiles

Do you want a vehicle for snow and ice, but can’t find anything that quite does what you need it to do? Maybe what you need is a Snowdog. This motorized sled lets you pull trailers over winter terrain, giving you plenty of space for cargo and people. They’re also a fraction of the price of comparable UTVs, and they’re narrow enough for single track trails. With Snowdog’s new Advance and Pro models, you get more power, better hill climbing and greater comfort. They’re also the first Snowdogs to get a reverse gear, making them easy to maneuver in tight spaces.

Snowdog Advance
The Advance comes in two models that offer more standard features than the Snowdog Standard or Compact.

Utility B13 MER
This new model comes with a 13.5 HP Briggs & Stratton engine. An LED headlight, electric starter and disc brakes come standard. This sled is 24 inches wide, making it as narrow as the standard Snowdog. The Utility can tow up to 440 lbs.

Sport B13 MER
This model adds to the features of the Utility. It comes with heated handles, hand guards, a 12 volt accessory socket and a plastic box trunk. This model is also wider than the Utility at 31 inches, increasing storage space while helping shield the operator from wind and snow. The Sport B13 can tow up to 440 lbs.

Snowdog Pro
While the Pro models are based on the same chassis as the Advance, they come with features that make them ideal for heavy loads and difficult terrain.

Long Track B13 MER
This model is built to handle deep snow. It comes standard with Snowdog’s trolley suspension, and a high output 6 diode LED headlight. The track is 20 inches wide, and 131 inches long. This added length spreads out the weight of the sled, helping it float over snow. The Long Track comes with a cargo box that has 3 cubic feet of storage space. Like the Advance Sport, it comes with heated grips and hand guards. It can tow up to 550 lbs.

Twin Track V14 MER
The twin track is built for power. It comes with a Vanguard 408cc engine, and replaces the CVT with agearbox that has low and reverse gears. The two 15 inch wide tracks come fitted with the trolley suspension, giving this machine the grip to go up 35 degree inclines. This model comes with heated grips and hand protectors. It can tow up to 660 lbs.

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is More than Just Lawn Care

Whether you need a snowblower for work or a Snowdog for fun, we have you covered. We’re an authorized dealer for Snowdog, Vanguard and Briggs & Stratton, so we can help you with anything on your motorized sled. Visit our showroom at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, and we can set you up with a sled system that fits your needs. Need parts for your Snowdog? We ship across the U.S. or Canada. To order, visit us online at

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Which Mower Blade Should You Use?

Are you using the right blades for your mower? Depending on the soil and the type of mowing you do, your current blades may be limiting your mower’s performance. Here’s what you need to know to select the right blades, whether you’re mulching, bagging or using your deck’s discharge chute.

How Does a Mower Blade Work?

Mower blades have two functions: create vacuum and slice through grass. Vacuum pulls the grass straight, so the blade can cut each piece to the same length. Increasing the surface area of the blade helps it cut more grass with each pass.


To mulch grass, the blades have to make enough vacuum to keep grass clippings in the mowing chamber. With each cut, the clipping floats up, then falls back down to be cut again. Once the clipping is small enough, the air pressure can’t keep it from falling below the blade and onto the ground.
High lift blades are twisted, like a fan blade. This keeps the grass in the mowing chamber as long as possible. Honda’s Twin Blade mowers use two blades stacked on top of each other. This cuts the grass twice in the first pass, and twice with each pass through the mowing chamber. Other mower manufacturers use blades with jagged edges. They only cut once on the first pass, but they can cut multiple times with each additional pass.

Side Discharge Blades

The less the mower has to cut, the less power and mowing chamber space it needs. Side discharge blades have almost flat sides. This moves air toward the ends of the blade, instead of up into the mowing chamber. These are great for cutting thick grass. You can still mulch clippings with these blades by making a second pass over the lawn.

Bagging Blades

These are shaped like mulching blades, side discharge blades or something in between. A side discharge profile helps throw grass into the bag, while a mulching blade slices up clippings, making them more compact. Some manufacturers offer “2-in-1” blades with profiles and edge designs to cover bagging and either mulching or side discharge.

Blades for Sandy and Rocky Soil

Sand and rocks are hard on blades. Soil with high sand content erodes blade surfaces, and the resulting dust can cause respiratory problems. Sandy soil blades have hardened edges that are resistant to sand, and have a low lift profile to minimize dust.
Marbain blades use a tempering process that gives them a hard surface that’s resistant to impacts. This makes them ideal for rocky soil. Scag fits all of their mowers with these blades, while versions are available for other mowers.

Do You Need New Blades for Your Mower?

When you need parts and service for your mower, go to Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’re an authorized dealer for most major mowing brands, including Cub Cadet, Honda, Wright, Scag and Exmark. Our shop is at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. We also ship OEM parts and accessories for the brands we carry across the United States and Canada. Visit us at

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The New Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS: A ZTR with a Steering Wheel

Zero Turning Radius mowers are faster than lawn tractors, but their lap bar steering system is difficult to learn. These bars control the drive motors independently, so the operator has to carefully adjust their speed to turn and drive straight. Cub Cadet’s Synchro-Steer replaces the lap bars with a steering wheel and a pair of pedals. If you drive a car, you should feel right at home. Originally developed for their commercial mowers, this steering system is now available on their Ultima residential mowers.

The Synchro-Steer Advantage

Synchro-Steer replaces the lap bars found on other ZTRs with a steering wheel and pedals for forward and reverse. Electric motors turn the front tires to aid in steering. This doesn’t just make the Ultima easier to learn, it makes mowing faster. In Cub Cadet’s development tests, they found experienced lawn care professionals mowed 15% faster on average, thanks to decreased overlap. For residential operators, this difference should be even bigger.

What Do You Get with an Ultima?

The mid-deck Ultima series uses a 2 x 2 inch tubular steel frame that extends around the engine, protecting it from bumps when backing up. Top forward speed is 7 MPH, and reverse speed is 3.5 MPH. The low slung chassis is stable on slopes up to 20 degrees.

Cub Cadet outfits these mowers with their AeroForce fabricated decks. The shell is made from thick sheets of steel, helping it withstand impacts. Inside, baffles enclose the area around the blades, increasing vacuum. This helps these decks deliver the smooth finish of a stamped deck. In fact, it works so well that the mulching kit for this mower doesn’t need additional baffles.


The Ultima ZTS comes in two versions. It launched with the ZTS1, which comes equipped with a Kohler 7000 Series engine and Hydro-Gear EZT 2200 hydrostatic transmissions. It’s available with 42, 46 and 50 inch decks.

The ZTS2 comes out this spring. It uses a Kohler 7000 Series Pro engine and a Hydro-Gear ZT 2800 transmission. Both the engine and transmission have upgraded components compared to the ZT1, but offer similar performance. The ZTS2 will be sold with 50, 54 and 60 inch decks.
All models have an adjustable steering column, a rubber-covered foot plate, seat isolators and
LED headlights. Cub Cadet also offers an hour meter, striping kit, mulching kit and bagging kit for these mowers.

We’re Your Mower Headquarters

Is it time to get a new mower? Do you want to add something to your ZTR, or need to have it worked on? Shank’s Lawn Equipment is an authorized dealer for Cub Cadet and Kohler. We don’t just sell these mowers, we have a service department and a massive parts warehouse with everything you need to keep your Cub Cadet running. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.

Need parts or accessories for your Cub Cadet? We ship across the United States and Canada. You can order what you need and check our inventory of new and used lawn equipment at

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Choosing a Commercial Leaf Blower

If you’re looking for a new leaf blower, there are a lot of options to choose from. Do you need a remote throttle? How does speed and air volume affect performance? Is it worth buying a walk-behind blower? Here’s what you should know, so you can make the right decision for your next equipment purchase.


There are two measurements of power for leaf blowers: speed and volume. Faster air is better at moving heavy material, like wet leaves. Volume increases the amount of leaves the blower will move at one time.

Speed and volume are controlled by engine power and nozzle size. Most commercial backpack blowers come with a pair of nozzles. The standard nozzle has a wide opening to move large quantities of leaves. The turbo nozzle has a small opening, increasing air speed to move heavy leaves.


Leaf blowers are loud, which can be a major annoyance for neighbors, and may violate local noise ordinances. With that in mind, most blowers are rated for sound from 50 feet away, not from the operator’s position. Users should always use hearing protection, regardless of their blower’s noise rating. Keep in mind that decibels are logarithmic. Every 10 dB is a doubling of loudness.

Do I Need a Backpack, Walk-Behind or Stander Blower?

Air speed on walk-behind and stander blowers is only a little higher than a backpack blower. However, air volume is much higher. Step up to a stander, and you also get faster movement speed. Depending on performance, walk-behinds and standers can clear leaves 4-10 times faster in open areas than a backpack blower. However, they don’t do nearly as well around obstacles or in confined spaces. Walk-behind and stander blowers use four stroke motors, which last far longer than the two strokes used in backpack blowers. While the upfront cost is high, savings in maintenance and labor give these machines an advantage. Most professionals use large blowers for yards and fields, then switch to backpack blowers for cleaning out areas around buildings and other obstacles.

What Design Features Should I Look For?

A loop handle makes it easier to hold a backpack blower when you start the engine, and makes it easier to lift it onto your shoulders. A swiveling tube makes the hose and nozzle easier to maneuver, while a hip-mounted throttle lets you change the blower speed without accidentally moving the nozzle. Some models have a “cruise control” that holds the throttle position, keeping your hands free.

If you want to use a walk-behind or stander blower near buildings, you need to have a way to direct air forward. While some models use an elbow that attaches to the nozzle, a door system lets you change air direction on the fly.

Looking for Better Lawn Care Equipment?

Do you need a better leaf blower for your business? We sell and service leaf blowers from several major brands, including Shindaiwa, Echo and Cub Cadet. If you’re looking for new equipment, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. Do you need parts or accessories for your leaf blower? We can ship what you need to any address in the United States or Canada. To order, visit our website,

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Move Materials Faster with MultiOne’s New Light Material Bucket

MultiOne Mini-Loaders are the Swiss army knives of outdoor equipment. They have attachments to cover almost every job you could think of, from moving bee hives to doing heavy construction. The company recently announced an update to one of their most useful tools: the light materials bucket. This bucket is perfect for picking up large amounts of lightweight materials, including everything from grain to insulation. Numerous improvements give these buckets more space and better visibility.

What’s New for This Bucket?

The inside of the bucket now has completely flat sides, maximizing space. The sides extend forward at a slight angle and the back panel has small slots at the top. This gives you a clear view of what you’re picking up, and it helps keep materials in the bucket when you go over bumps. The new shape also has a flat side where it connects to the boom of your mini loader. This allows up to 6 buckets to be stacked inside each other for storage.


MultiOne offers their light material bucket in 5 sizes. All buckets are 36.2 inches long and have a height of 30 ½ inches. The only difference between the models is their width and total capacity.

100: 13.8 cubic feet, 39.7 inches wide
115: 16 cubic feet, 45.6 inches wide
130: 18.4 cubic feet, 51.5 inches wide
150: 21.4 cubic feet, 59.4 inches wide
180: 25.9 cubic feet, 71.2 inches wide

MultiOne recommends using the 100 or 115 with the 2.3 mini loader. Larger loader models are compatible with all buckets. To use light material buckets with the 12.4 mini loader, you’ll need the C890025 adapter.

How Does it Compare to Other Buckets?

A longer bottom and taller sides offer more space than the general bucket. While they use similar construction, the smallest light material bucket is larger than the biggest general bucket. The light material bucket can be used for grading, but it doesn’t have reinforcements or teeth of the general and leveling buckets.

Compared to the previous light materials bucket design, capacity has increased dramatically. The old 150 bucket, which was the largest offered by MultiOne, only holds 19.4 cubic feet of material. The new 100 bucket holds slightly less than the outgoing model, but it’s also four inches narrower.

Do You Want More Flexibility from Your Equipment?

Whether you’re a professional landscaper or you just want to keep your lawn looking nice, Shank’s Lawn Equipment has everything you need. We’re an authorized dealer for MultiOne, which means we sell and install the full line of accessories and attachments for these mini loaders. Visit our website,, to order parts and see the equipment we have in stock. If you want to buy a MultiOne mini loader, or need repairs for your current loader, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.

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Using Your Generator in Winter

Winter brings more than just snow and cold. It also brings power outages. With a backup generator, you can keep the power running in your home, so you can have a few creature comforts and keep in contact with friends and family. Is your generator ready? Here are some things you should check, so you can be sure you can rely on your generator this season.


Gasoline should only be stored for a month, or up to three months if it’s treated with a stabilizer. Stale fuel is hard to ignite, and it can clog your generator’s fuel system. If you have old gasoline, you can use it in your vehicles. Fuel injectors are less sensitive to stale fuel, and the gas already in your car’s tank dilutes the old fuel.
Propane doesn’t combust easily in extreme cold weather. If you think you’ll see temperatures below -30°F, you may want to keep some gas on hand for your dual fuel generator.


Using oil that’s too thick can lead to hard starting and poor lubrication while the engine is still cold. You may need to switch to a lighter weight oil to combat these problems.
Honda recommends using 10W-30 or 10W-40 oil in most of their engines, if temperatures dip below 14°F. Briggs & Stratton recommends synthetic 5W30 for 100°F and lower, and conventional 5W-30 for 40°F and lower. Vanguard Synthetic 15W-50 can be used in their engines at temperatures as low as 20°F. They also make a 5W-30 oil for temperatures as low as -20°F.

Starting Your Generator

Before you start the engine, remove any ice and snow buildup. This makes it harder for the engine to warm up. It also causes problems when you shut off your generator. Melted water can freeze on linkages and other parts, which can keep your generator from operating correctly.
Engines take more force to turn over in cold weather, while the power from lead acid batteries goes down. Don’t be surprised if you need to use your generator’s recoil starter to get the engine running. Keeping your battery charged can give the starter the power it needs in cold weather.
Wait until the engine runs smoothly with the choke off before you put a load on the generator. This can take several minutes in extreme cold.

We Do More than Just Lawn Care Equipment

Shank’s Lawn Equipment sells and supports all kinds of outdoor equipment, including portable generators. We carry Honda and Briggs & Stratton generators, and we offer the parts and accessories you need to get the most out of them. If you’re looking for a new generator, or you need help with your current one, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. You can also check our current inventory and order parts at We ship across the United States and Canada.

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Protecting Your Garden from Winter Weather

Are you worried your garden may not make it through the winter? Even if you didn’t do much in the way of preparation in the fall, there are still steps you can take to protect your garden.

Water Until the First Freeze

Cold air doesn’t just freeze plants. It’s dry enough to strip away moisture from exposed leaves and branches, leaving them desiccated. Keeping your plants watered until the first freeze helps them retain moisture, so they’ll last longer in open air.

Use Your Leaves as Insulation

Mulch is a great insulator, protecting your plants from extreme temperatures and desiccation. Black Walnut leaves contain a poison called “juglone” that is lethal to many plants. However, composting destroys this chemical. Other leaves are safe to apply directly to your garden, although your plants will get more nutrients if you mulch or compost the leaves first.
Only use a thin layer of material to protect your plants. While freezing is hard on them, you still want the first inch of top soil to freeze. This kills insects and weeds, leaving you with less to deal with next season.

Clean Out Dead Plants

Removing dead leaves, vines and other plant material halts the growth and spread of diseases.

Test Your Soil

Skip the spring rush and get a soil test now. This will tell you which nutrients you need to add for your plants to thrive.

Plant Bulbs

The bulbs that tulips, onion, garlic, crocus and daffodils come from need to be cold before they’ll come out of dormancy. You’ll have the highest success rate if you plant them when temperatures are in the 40s.

Shield Young Trees

When temperatures are hovering around freezing, repeated melting and freezing of water inside trees can split the bark. Apply a paper wrap around the trunk down to one inch below the soil surface to insulate the plant. This helps level out temperature swings.

Protect Your Roses with Cones

Start using cones after the first hard freeze, which is when temperatures dip below 20°F. Adding leaf mold or straw to the inside of the cone helps insulate the plant. This is a good idea, if you live in a place with harsh winter weather, or you’re growing a temperature-sensitive variety. Be sure to trim back the plant, so the cone gives it complete coverage. It’s safe to remove the cone when temperatures stay above 30°F.

Are You Ready for Spring?

If you need your lawn care equipment repaired, do it now before the spring rush. Shank’s Lawn Equipment is an authorized dealer for most major brands, including Cub Cadet, Honda and Troy Bilt. That means we don’t just sell their equipment, we offer the service, parts and accessories you need to get the most from your lawn care tools. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, or online at We ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada.

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Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning When You Use Your Generator

“Using a generator indoors CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES.”
That label on your generator is nothing to laugh at. The CDC estimates 430 people die and 50,000 people visit the emergency room each year because of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Most of these deaths are caused by improper use of generators in winter. How can you protect yourself, while getting the power you need?

What is Carbon Monoxide?

This odorless gas forms during combustion. It creates a strong bond with red blood cells, blocking the connections used to carry oxygen in your blood stream. Absorb too much CO, and you will suffocate.

A New Standard for CO Protection

In 2018, the Portable Generator Manufacturer’s Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) agreed upon a new safety standard, ANSI/PGMA G300-2018. This standard requires a carbon monoxide safety system on all portable generators 15 kW and smaller made by PGMA members. Compliant devices will shut off if the sensor detects CO levels over 800 parts per million (PPM.) In tests covering a variety of use cases, including indoors and outside, this system was 99% effective at preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. This regulation went into effect on generators built after March 31, 2020.
Most devices work like Honda’s CO-MINDER. When the sensor picks up high levels of CO, it interrupts the ignition system, shutting off the generator. Since the oil level sensor does the same thing to protect the engine, there are separate warning lights for oil and CO.

Preventing CO Buildup

Even if you have a generator with CO detection, it won’t do much good if it shuts down constantly. The solution is simple: use quality extension cords. This lets you place your generator outside, away from buildings, and still get power where you need it.
Product labeling for extension cords can be confusing. Fortunately, there’s a standard labeling system printed directly on cables sold in the U.S. Look for these letters when you buy cords to use with your generator.
– “S,” “E” and either “W” or “W-A”
Certified for Outdoor Use
– “O” or “OO”
Oil resistant
– “AWG” followed by 10, 12 or 14
This is the size of the copper wire inside the cord, measured using the American Wire Gauge standard. Cables with lower numbers use thicker wire. 14 and 12 gauge wire can handle 10-15 amps, while 10 gauge can handle over 15 amps.

Are You Ready for Winter?

When you need help with your generator, talk to the experts at Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’re an authorized dealer for Honda and Briggs & Stratton, so we can help you get your generator in ready for winter blackouts. If you’re looking for a new generator, or need repairs, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. If you need parts and accessories, visit us online at We can ship your order to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

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What to Look for in a String Trimmer

What do you need to look for when you buy a string trimmer? With so many options for heads, engines, and handles, it can get pretty confusing. Here’s how these differences affect performance. 

Handles and Harnesses: Wide Sweeps or Small Areas 

A harness spreads the weight of the trimmer over your shoulders. It connects to the trimmer at its balance point, making it easy to move around. This leaves your hands free to move the trimmer head without the fatigue of carrying it. Harness mounts are a great choice for heavier commercial trimmers, but they can interfere with maneuverability.  

A loop handle lets you hold the trimmer near the center of the shaft with one hand, while the other hand operates the trigger near the engine. This is common on lightweight trimmers that are hand-carried. This setup lets the operator reach into tight spaces, trimming around fences, planters, and other landscape obstacles. 

A bicycle handle has two vertical grips spaced far apart. This gives you more leverage and control, making it ideal for cutting large swaths through thick vegetation. This type of handle is only found on trimmers with harnesses. The harness supports the trimmer, while the handles are only used to control direction. 

Engines: Two-Stroke, Four-Stroke and Somewhere In Between 

Two-stroke engines use a sealed crankshaft to push fuel and air into the engine at the bottom of the piston stroke, while simultaneously pushing exhaust out. This lets the engine fire on every rotation and eliminates the need for a valvetrain. The result is more power and less weight than equivalent four-stroke engines. To keep everything lubricated, oil is mixed with the fuel and burned during the combustion cycle. This lets the engine work at any angle. Two strokes seem ideal for string trimmers, but there are some disadvantages. 

Power delivery is concentrated at the top of the RPM range. If the trimmer bogs down, it can move out of the power band and stall. These engines are also sensitive to stale fuel. Manufacturers recommend using fuel treatment and disposing of fuel that’s over one month old. Some unburnt gas leaves the cylinder during the intake/exhaust stroke, which increases fuel consumption and emissions. Two strokes also don’t last as long as four-stroke engines, so it’s not unusual to wear out a trimmer after a couple seasons. 

There are two alternatives on the market today. Honda’s small-displacement four-stroke has baffles to control oil flow, keeping the engine lubricated, no matter its position. The “2/4 stroke” or “Hybrid 4” engine (used in some Shindaiwa and Echo products) is a four-stroke engine with a two-stroke oiling system. You still need to mix oil with the fuel, but the engine is far less sensitive to stale fuel. With both engines, you get more torque, better fuel efficiency, and a longer engine life at the expense of weight. 

Trimmer Heads 

There are seemingly endless varieties of shapes and sizes of lines. However, you will generally get the best performance by matching the line with the size and density of the grass. Thin lines have no trouble with trimming around lawns, while thick lines and blades work best on overgrown areas. 

Head designs can be divided into three main categories: 

  • Bump heads have a button on the bottom of the head that releases a little bit of line every time it’s hit. This mechanism is cheap and reliable. 
  • Automatic heads have a motor that spins the spool, releasing the line. While not as reliable as a bump head, you never have to stop to release line while trimming. 

Fixed-line heads use pre-cut lengths of line. Once the line wears down, the trimmer has to be shut off, and a new line threaded through the holes. This is used almost exclusively with heavy gauge lines, which can’t be wrapped around a spool. Nylon and metal blades slice through thick vegetation with ease, offering similar performance. 

Some trimmers can be fitted with brushcutter blades. These blades have sharp tips that slice through woody vegetation and saplings. This might be great for ripping through unkempt land and wilderness, but they’re hopeless at cutting regular grass. 

From Home Lawn Care to Professional Landscaping, Shank’s Has the Equipment You Need 

If you need a new string trimmer, talk to the experts at Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We have helped local residential and commercial customers with their outdoor equipment for 35 years. We’re also an authorized dealer for several major trimmer brands, including Honda and Echo. Our shop is at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. To get here, take Exit 10 from I-81. 

Need parts to fix your trimmer? We can ship what you need to any address in the USA or Canada. To order, visit us online at

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