The correct oil-to-gas ratio helps weedeaters start correctly.

How to Unflood a Weedeater

by Mary Lougee

Gas-powered weedeaters, both the two- and four-cycle variety, have a carburetor to mix the proper amount of gas-to-air ratio for starting and running. A carburetor becomes “flooded” when there is too much gas in it, and it won’t start. The strong smell of gasoline indicates this condition. Pushing the primer bulb too many times forces excessive fuel into the carburetor so that it drips inside instead of misting. However, you can unflood a weedeater in short time and return to trimming.

Put on safety glasses. Place the flooded weedeater on a flat surface, such as a workbench or on the ground.

Remove the spark plug wire and place a spark plug wrench on the spark plug. Turn the wrench handle counterclockwise to loosen the spark plug. Pull the spark plug straight out. Wipe the spark plug dry with a shop towel; the spark plug on a flooded weedeater is very wet with excess gas.

Turn the weedeater so the spark plug reservoir is facing either down or away from you.

Slide the choke lever to the “Run” position. Pull the starter cord quickly 10 to 15 times. The excess fuel will spurt out through the spark plug reservoir and clear from the engine.

Replace the spark plug in the reservoir and turn it clockwise until it is tight, using a spark plug wrench. Press the spark plug wire on top of the spark plug.

Pull the starter cord three times. If the weedeater doesn’t start, move the choke lever to “Full Choke” and use the normal starting procedure for your particular model of weedeater. Most models require pulling the starter cord a few times in the “Full Choke” position, then moving the choke lever to “Half Choke” for starting a warm engine.

Items you will need

  • Safety glasses
  • Spark plug wrench
  • Workbench (optional)
  • Shop towel


  • If you do not own a spark plug wrench, you can use an adjustable wrench for spark plug removal and re-installation.
  • Two-stroke carburetors use a gas and oil mix, whereas four-stroke carburetors use the gas and oil separately for the engine.


  • Keep children and pets away from your work area and make certain the spinning string does not contact any surface when you are starting a weedeater.

About the Author

Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.

Photo Credits

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