Starting Problems with Homelite Engines

Patrick Nelson

Homelite manufactures yard maintenance products. They include blowers, chain saws, hedge trimmers, lawn mowers, log splitters and trimmers. The company also manufactures generators. The products are geared toward non-professional use and are relatively user-friendly.

If they develop problems, they are usually caused by lack of maintenance. The most infuriating problem: the engine not starting.

Spark Plug Problems

The spark plug not sparking is a primary cause of engines not starting, particularly after considerable use. You can check the spark by removing the spark plug from the spark plug cap and replacing the cap. Lay the spark plug on the cylinder and pull the starter cord to see if the plug sparks. Replace the spark plug if necessary.

Fuel Problems

Check that the machine has fuel in it. Make sure that the fuel is not left over from the previous season. Discard it and replace with fresh fuel if necessary. If you are sure that the tank is full of fresh fuel, take a look at the primer bulb. When you press it, does it fill with fuel? If it doesn’t, that can be an indication that the delivery pipe is blocked. That’s the pipe that runs between the tank and the bulb. Look to see if you can see any blockages. The pipe is usually clear plastic. If you press the bulb and it feels hard, it is full of fuel. This may mean the machine may have been flooded, and that’s why the engine didn’t start.


If the engine is indeed flooded, you can clear it by just leaving the machine for a while and taking a well-deserved break. Or, you can clear it. Take the spark plug out and turn the machine so that the plug hole points at the ground. Set the choke to “Run” and pull the starter up to 15 times. The excess fuel will clear. Reinstall the spark plug--you might as well give it a clean too while you’re at it. Pull the starter cord three times with the choke on “Run.” The engine should start now, but if it doesn’t, then try “Full Choke.” If it still doesn’t start, try a new spark plug.


Worst case scenario, take the machine to a servicing dealer. There may be damage to the engine. Damage can be caused by an improper fuel/oil mix for example. You may find it simpler and cheaper just to buy a new machine.