Why Is My Hedge Trimmer Not Working?

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Is your hedge trimmer not working?

Or is it smoking?

Well, your trimmer is a machine, which might go wrong or create some issues occasionally.

So, what to do when the hedge trimmer is not doing the needful?

Well, you can easily avoid such troubles with proper care and maintenance.

Why is my Hedge Trimmer Not Working?

The trimmer might not work for several reasons, but you can try to find out the cause and start the hedge maintenance session.

Sometimes, the tool refuses to start, which can be very irritating. Check the spark plug because it could be the primary problem. If you notice a lot of carbon accumulation, burn marks or cracks on the plug, then replace it. Try to restart the trimmer.

A clogged carburettor could be the problem if the spark plug is not faulty. Fuel cannot maintain proper flow if the carburettor is blocked. So, clean this component or replace it according to the condition.

If you are using a gas propelled hedge trimmer, and its startup cord is stuck, then the rewind spring might be the culprit.

It’s the component that recoils the starter rope and starts the trimmer. You can replace the rewind spring, but it’s better to replace the whole coil assembly.

A faulty fuel filter can also trouble the starting process. So, drain all the fuel to check this filter. Replace it to solve the problem.

Also read: Can You Trim a Hedge With a Chainsaw?

Why is my Hedge Trimmer is Not Cutting?

As you can see, multiple components can stop your hedge trimmer from starting. Similarly, there could be several reasons why it’s not cutting correctly.

Check the blade. The primary reason why your hedge trimmer is not cutting is that it has blunt swords. The only solution is to sharpen them.

Make sure that all the teeth maintain their original cutting angle. If you are unsure how to go about the sharpening process, it’s better to consult an expert.

Worn out or split branches are the common signs that the trimmer needs sharpening. So, if you notice any of these two symptoms while trimming the hedges, it’s time to polish up the edges.

Sometimes small twigs or branches get stuck between the trimmer blades and stop their movement. It could irritate you, but the solution is simple. Take out such debris, use a damp cloth to clean the edges and apply some oil to lubricate them to prevent such incidents.

If your trimmer is old and debris gets lodged frequently between its knives, then cleaning and lubrication might not work.

When such incidents occur repeatedly, then it’s better to replace the blades.

See, when you use a hedge trimmer regularly, the maintenance process causes wear and tear on its edges. After some time, the upper and lower modules detach and hence, the blade starts to fail.

Related post: How To Trim Hedges Into Shapes?

Why is My Hedge Trimmer Blade not Moving?

If your hedge trimmer powers on, but its blades are not moving, then you should check the gearbox and clutch. Otherwise, it might create further problems.

An improperly tensioned or broken clutch can stop the blade’s movement. Adjust the tension or replace the clutch if it’s damaged.

Use compatible replacement parts whenever you replace anything in your trimmer.

The blades and the gearbox are connected. So, the swords cannot move if the gearbox is broken or faulty. This component can become non-functional after regular usage, so replace it and see if that makes any difference.

Sometimes sap of the previously trimmed greens stick between the blades and locks them.

You can fix this common problem by using a lubricant spray like WD40 after each hedge trimming session. You can also use sprays that are predominantly available for this particular job.

Similarly, a small twig or similar debris can stop the movement of the blades.

A sword with bent or damaged teeth will not move as well. The teeth can be easily bent or even injured if you drop the trimmer. Such faults can also occur if your trimmer hits something hard accidentally.

Also read: Do I Have To Cut My Hedge on My Neighbours Side?

Why is My Trimmer Smoking?

A smoking trimmer is not good. Such incidents are signs that your trimmer either needs immediate attention or is beyond repair. If you notice any vapour from the trimmer, turn it off.

Several reasons generally cause the fumes. So, let it cool down before you attempt any diagnosis or troubleshooting steps. Here are the factors that could lead to unwanted fumes from your trimmer.

Overheated motor: The motor might be burning internally due to wear and tear. Debris and dirt accumulation can also overheat the motor. Lubricate the engine and blades using a compatible lubrication oil to fix this problem.

The motor can also overheat because of degraded brushes. If this is the scenario, then try replacing the brushes or the entire engine.

Degraded battery connections. This problem is only related to cordless trimmers. Water damage can do such damage, which results in the short circuit of the trimmer’s motor. You can try and replace the connections, but it might be better to replace the entire trimmer.

Generally, the smoke coming out from a trimmer can be either black/grey or white. Black fumes are common in fossil fuel-powered trimmers, while white vapour is also possible with corded and corded models. If you own a gas-propelled model, then the black smoke is generally caused by the following reasons.

Oil leakage: Oil comes in contact with the engine and burns. Check the fuel line and make sure there are no oil escapes. If the pipes look good, the next step is to clean the fuel system using a cleaning kit.

Incorrect fuel mix: Excessive combustion inside the chamber, which happens due to multiple reasons. One of them is incorrectly mixed fuel. You should know that each gas propelled trimmer has a different oil-to-fuel ratio that you have to maintain without any miss. So, make sure you use the correct mix of gas and oil.

Contaminated or old fuel. If you use the trimmer with old fuel, it might not work or emit black smoke. So, replace the fuel.

Also read: Hedge Trimming Safety Tips


Hedge trimmers are popular because they are efficient and convenient gardening tools that offer easy hedge maintenance.

Electric versions do the job without causing any noise or air pollution. So, keep such an outdoor tool maintained to enjoy uninterrupted gardening assistance.

As we discussed, there are many reasons why your hedge trimmer is not working. But, regular maintenance of your trimmer can keep all these unwanted troubles at bay.

Fortunately, you can solve such problems without calling a professional, especially if you are an expert. So, follow the above mentioned tips to continue the hedge trimming session or contact an expert.

About M H Sharaj

Sharaj is a passionate garden enthusiast and expert gardening tool reviewer with more than 5 years of hands-on experience. His love for gardening blossomed in his childhood, nurtured by weekends spent in his family's vibrant garden. Sharaj holds a degree in Management and enjoys the unique challenges and rewards of roof gardening. He combines his horticultural knowledge with a keen eye for innovative tools and equipment, providing readers with insightful, unbiased reviews. When he’s not testing the latest gardening gadgets, Sharaj is cultivating his own lush rooftop garden oasis, filled with a variety of plants and flowers. His mission is to inspire others to create beautiful, sustainable gardens using the best tools available.