Trimmers FAQ


Trimmers FAQ

Will a 10% (E10) blend of ethanol hurt my gas-powered STIHL product?

All STIHL gasoline-powered engines can be used with up to a 10% (E10) blend of ethanol in the gasoline/engine oil mix. We also recommend that if a unit will be left unused for more than 30 days that it be stored "dry." This means emptying the fuel tank and then restarting and letting the unit run until all the fuel is consumed and the engine stops. For maximum performance and engine life expectancy we also recommend using STIHL Ultra 2-cycle engine oil with built-in stabilizer.

Note: STIHL recommends use of fuel with no more than 10% ethanol content. Using fuel with greater than 10% ethanol content may cause damage to your equipment and may void your STIHL warranty. Learn More…

What is the recommended procedure for preparing my STIHL trimmer for long-term storage (over 30 days)?

Only if you plan to "mothball" your lawn trimmer, brushcutter or chain saw for a longer period - say during the winter months - should you pay a little more attention to the topic of "care." This will ensure that your equipment, when required, will be ready for action. To get the equipment ready for winter, clean it first. The air filter, the cylinder fins, the spark plug and the dismantled cutting tool should be checked and cleaned (also see Instruction Manual). Metal parts should be lightly coated with oil to protect them from rust and corrosion. The spark arresting screen in the muffler should be cleaned or replaced with a new one. The fuel tank should be emptied. Run the engine until the fuel system is dry (Warning! Do not operate the throttle, run the equipment only at idle speed until the engine stops!) STIHL recommends the use of STIHL MotoMix® fuel which is pre-mixed with STIHL HP Ultra synthetic oil. STIHL MotoMix® contains no ethanol and has a storage life of up to two years. STIHL MotoMix® can be left in the machine during seasonal storage. For winter storage, a dry and, if possible, dust-free and frost-free place would be ideal. You can save space if you hang the equipment. And remember: standard pump gasoline deteriorates. To avoid problems, only purchase enough fuel that can be used within sixty days unless it is STIHL MotoMix®.

Learn more about fuel concerns
Read more about storing your outdoor power equipment

Can I put attachments on my STIHL FS 40 C-E, FS 45, FS 46, FS 56 RC-E, FS 56 C-E, or FS 70 R?

STIHL does not authorize the use of any interchangeable gearbox attachments on these units.

My STIHL trimmer will start and run at idle but will not run at full throttle. What's wrong?

There are several things you can check: first, make sure that you are using fresh fuel mix (never store or use fuel mix older than 60 days in can or fuel tank), second, clean spark arrester screen in the muffler, third, replace fuel filter in fuel tank, fourth, clean or replace air filter. If none of these work please take the machine to your local authorized STIHL servicing Dealer for evaluation.

Learn more about fuel concerns.
Read more about storing your outdoor power equipment.

My trimmer line won't advance or breaks off at the head. What's wrong?

This can occur when the trimmer head is not bumped often enough and it becomes too short for centrifugal force to advance the line. When advancing trimmer line be sure to do so at wide open throttle.

My Dealer informs me that you no longer make parts for my old STIHL trimmer. What are my options?

Although parts for many older model STIHL products may no longer be in production, specific parts may still be available and active. You can call 1-(800) GO-STIHL (467-8445) and select Option 2 to find out if the specific part(s) you need is/are still available through normal channels or not. If not, we have a list of Dealers that deal in discontinued/ NLA parts:

  • Legacy Feed & Fuel (ID) 208-888-3003
    Fax: 208-888-1963
    Email: shop@legacyfeed.com
  • Way-Ken Contractors Supply (IL) 773-283-2413
  • Dunn’s Equipment (MA) 978-372-7100
    Fax: 978-521-2300
    Email: dave@dunnsequipment.com
  • Joe's Tractor (NC) 336-885-4582
  • Auburn Chain Saw & Mower (NY) 315-252-0664
    Fax: 315-252-0728
  • Warren Mathis (NY) 315-942-4589
  • Woodcutter's Headquarters (NY) 716-542-9839
  • Charm Engine Ltd (OH) 330-893-3033
    Fax: 330-893-3095
  • Draper's Outdoor Power (OR) 541-889-9250
  • Mentzer & Elliott Chain Saw (OR) 541-443-2351
    Email: saws_r_us@yahoo.com
  • Millheim Small Engine (PA) 814-571-5213
  • Ron's Saw Shop (SD) 1-800-433-6304
    Email: sawparts@hotmail.com
    Web: www.ronssawsalesandservice.net
  • Tim’s Country Saw Shop (WA) 509-486-2798
    *Only older chain saws from the 030 and up.

I just purchased a STIHL trimmer that should be Easy2Start™ but it doesn't say it is. How do I know it is?

The model number on the fan housing or starter will only have a C after the model number. The C indicates a comfort feature. On trimmers, that comfort feature is the Easy2Start™. You can also confirm it by looking for the bar code label on the trimmer housing. This label will provide the model number, serial number, and model name. The name will have a letter E following the C (e.g. FS 56 C-E).

My STIHL trimmer won't start. What can I do?

Always read your product instruction manual. When starting your STIHL trimmer make sure that you have fresh fuel mix of 89 octane or higher and never pull the starter more than 3 times in the choke position. If you have pulled more than that, more than likely it is flooded. Indications of flooding are the strong smell of gasoline or gasoline coming from the muffler. The best thing to do at this point is allow the trimmer to rest for 20 to 30 minutes then attempt starting again. Do not choke the unit, but leave the throttle lock on. If it still will not start, we recommend taking it to your local STIHL Dealer for evaluation.

Learn more about fuel concerns.
Read more about storing your outdoor power equipment.

Can I put an attachment on my STIHL curved shaft trimmer?

Curved shaft trimmers are not authorized for any attachments.

Does STIHL make a straight shaft trimmer that turns clockwise?

STIHL does not produce a straight shaft trimmer that turns clockwise. Only our curved shaft trimmers do.

How do I load my trimmer line?

Always refer to your instruction manual under "Replacing Nylon Line." The three most popular STIHL® trimmer heads are the AutoCut®, AutoCut® EasySpool™, and TrimCut™. We also offer a video on winding your trimmer head.

What is the difference between curved and straight shaft trimmers?

Curved shaft trimmers are designed for light duty trimming while straight shaft trimmers are designed for more aggressive trimming and brushcutting. Most models are available in loop handle or bike handle versions.

How do I know if my STIHL trimmer will accept other cutting heads?

Please contact your authorized STIHL Dealer for special accessories that may be available for your trimmer.

Where do I find my serial number?

On homeowner trimmers, it is located on the bar code label on the fan casing. On professional units and brushcutters it is on the bar code label and stamped in the top of the cylinder or main crank case. All current serial numbers will be nine digits long and begin with the numbers 1, 2, 5, 8 or 9.

Can I adjust my own carburetor?

The carburetor comes from the factory with a standard setting. This setting provides an optimum fuel-air mixture under most operating conditions. With most carburetors, it is only possible to adjust the engine idle speed within fine limits. Quite often adjusting the carburetor will not solve acceleration issues. To find the correct setting for your machine please refer to your instruction manual. If you do not have a copy of your instruction manual, please go to our product manual webpage where you can download a PDF version.

My STIHL trimmer was stolen. Do you track them?

STIHL Inc. maintains a Stolen Unit Database. If your STIHL product was stolen, first please report it stolen to your local law enforcement. agency. Then contact us with your name, address, model number, and serial number. If the unit was registered at the time of purchase, we can have it added to the Stolen Unit Database.

Can I send my STIHL trimmer saw back to STIHL for repair?

STIHL Inc. does not accept product for repair or refurbishment. Please see your local authorized STIHL servicing Dealer.

How often should I have my STIHL trimmer tuned up?

Please refer to your instruction manual under the maintenance and repairs heading.

How can I tell when my STIHL trimmer was made?

STIHL does not incorporate production dates into our serial numbers.

What is the minimum compression for my STIHL trimmer?

Generally the minimum is 110 lbs. of compression. However, this will vary by model. Compression readings alone are not enough to determine the condition of the engine. Compression gauges are not always accurate and different engines will provide different results.

What is the correct spark plug gap for my STIHL trimmer, chain saw, or blower?

The correct gap setting is 0.020".

Why does my STIHL trimmer flood?

The most common reason is due to too many attempts trying to start the machine in the choke position. When starting a STIHL trimmer unit, make sure to follow the starting instructions in your instruction manual. The manual provides the proper instruction for starting procedures, but there are many conditions that may affect how the unit starts. A good rule of thumb to follow is to remember that when placing the switch control to the full choke setting, more liquid fuel and less air flow into the combustion chamber in order to create a higher chance for ignition. Pulling the rope more than two to three times in this setting may flood the engine. The operator should move the Master Control Lever™ or choke lever from the full choke setting after three to four pulls even if the engine does not fire. Moving the lever to the next setting, the half choke or part throttle position, will allow more air into the combustion chamber and help resolve the flooding condition.