Instructions for Starting a Stihl Weed Trimmer

Stihl made its reputation by manufacturing rugged chain saws, and the company has extended its expertise into a broad line of power tools, including lawn trimmers. Stihl manufactures more than two dozen trimmer models, ranging from light-duty residential models to heavy-duty professional-grade trimmers. While starting a Stihl trimmer will vary slightly based on your model, most starting procedures are similar.

Weed Wacker
credit: tommaso79/iStock/Getty Images
Keep children and pets out of the area while using a weed trimmer.

Step 1

Remove the filler cap and inspect the fuel tank to make sure you have enough fuel in the tank. If the fuel level is low, add additional fuel. Gas-powered Stihl trimmers use a 50-to-1 gas-oil fuel mixture. This step is unnecessary on electric models, such as the FSE 60. Move the trimmer at least 10 feet away from the fueling site before you attempt to start it.

Step 2

Check the area around you. Your Stihl trimmer head spins rapidly as soon as you start the machine. If the trimmer line comes into contact with a foreign object, it can fling it a considerable distance. Make sure there is no other person within 50 feet of you before attempting to start your trimmer.

Step 3

Press and hold down the throttle trigger interlock, called the lockout lever on some models, and squeeze the throttle trigger. While engaging both levers, move the starter switch to the "On" position, indicated on most gas models by a capital "I" symbol. Some models use a "Start" position and require you to move the switch to the "I" position once the engine turns over. Release pressure on the levers.

Step 4

Move the choke lever to the full choke position if the engine is cold. For warm engines, set the choke lever to the half-choke position. Depress the fuel bulb until it is filled with fuel. If your model has a decompression value button, press it now before attempting to start.

Step 5

Lay the trimmer on the ground on the opposite side of the starter grip handle, allowing it to rest securely on its deflector. Make sure the trimmer line or cutting attachment is not touching the ground or any other object.

Step 6

Pull the starter grip handle out slowly until you feel resistance, then give it a sharp tug. Guide the rope slowly back into the housing to prevent tangles. Give the starter grip four more sharp pulls, then move the choke lever to the middle setting if applicable. Continue cranking the engine with sharp pulls until it fires. Once the engine starts, flick the throttle trigger to return the engine to its idle setting.


Kay Dean

After attending Hardin Simmons University, Kay Dean finished her formal education with the Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1995, Dean has written for such publications as "PB&J," Disney’s "Family Fun," "ParentLife," "Living With Teenagers" and Thomas Nelson’s NY Times bestselling "Resolve." An avid gardener for 25 years, her experience includes organic food gardening, ornamental plants, shrubs and trees, with a special love for roses.