The first "weed eater" was created in 1972 by George C. Ballas; it was made out of a tin can and knotted nylon fishing line.
We've come a long way in terms of engineering these finely tuned machines (now called string trimmers), but one thing's for sure: a little maintenance now will make lawn care a breeze and save you money by adding years to the life of your trimmer.
Tools and Materials
Step 1. Safety first. Before you perform any trimmer maintenance, be sure the power button is in the off position, the gas tank is empty and the spark plug wire is disconnected.
Step 2. Once a season, give the exterior of your trimmer a good cleaning. Using a mix of water and dish detergent, clean off any grease, dirt and debris with a brush.
Step 3. The string may need to be replaced often, depending on the use. Remove the disk, dispose of any string left behind and then re-string. Replace the air filter approximately every 90 days, based on use and wear and tear. Check your trimmer manual for detailed instructions.
Step 4. Every three to four months, depending on use and level of dirt, empty the fuel tank and remove the spark plug. If the spark plug is brown, pour 1/4 ounce of engine oil into the cylinder. Pull the starting cord several times to distribute the oil. If the spark plug is black, replace it.
Step 5. After you've used the trimmer for the last time in the season, empty it's fuel tank. (For tips to properly dispose of fuel and waste, consult your local hazardous waste center.) Check all screws and nuts - tightening as needed - before storing it away.
DIY tip: Replacing your string trimmer head
When your trimmer runs out of string, take the retaining ring off, make sure the spool is empty and replace it back on the unit. Then line up the rings with the arrows and the holes where the string goes out and reinstall it empty.
Take your bulk line (up to 25 ft.) and insert it in one side until it comes out the other. Center the string and turn the button knob, which will turn the spool, pull the line into the unit and straighten the string. This eliminates any line twisting on the spool, which will allow it to feed properly. Measure it out to the cutting length and you're finished.
Need some expert assistance? Visit your local Home Depot store to ask associates about products or how-to instructions. Can't make the trip, but need answers now? The Home Depot expert associates are also available to answer your questions online. Visit them here.