Brushcutters offer great help for those looking to clear brushwood, high grass as well as saplings. Whether you are a homeowner wishing to neaten up your garden, a contractor or part of a specialised company, Stihl brushcutters can only be an excellent asset. Part of being a brushcutter owner, however, means that you will have to frequently execute maintenance on your machine in order to keep it in good shape. In just a few minutes of reading, find out how to effectively maintain your BS Power Stihl brushcutters as well as pick up some other handy tips to make your gardening experience easier.
Why is maintenance for Stihl brushcutters so crucial?
It is no surprise that the thorough cleaning and regular maintenance of gardening tools is the key to their longevity and their effectiveness. While executing these duties can become tiresome and may feel like a schlep, it is of the utmost importance that you respect maintenance guides in order to keep your Stihl brushcutters in excellent working order. Brushcutter maintenance involves regular smaller jobs either before or after using it. Further, if you have a petrol-engine brushcutter, you must be highly aware of how to take care of and maintain the engine.
The level of dedication you show to cleaning and maintaining your brushcutter will dictate how well it works as well as how long it will be operable. In doing so, you can avoid frustrating breakdowns and any costly trips to your relevant repair-person.
The ABCS of cleaning your Stihl brushcutters
Cleaning and maintaining your brushcutters is a good time to check your machine out for signs of leaks, worn components as well as any breakages. Maintaining and cleaning your Stihl brushcutters can be broken down into a few simple steps, and should be executed at the end of every working session.
- Clear and clean any dust, soil and grass from the brushcutter’s body.
- Clear out dirt from the air vents which are found on the engine cowling (covering).
- Inspect the fuel tank: are any leaks present? Ensure that you wipe away any fuel spillages after each refuel.
- Check the starter rope to see if it is still intact and in good condition.
- Ensure that you keep the cutting attachment in a clean condition.
- Look at the stone guard and inspect it for any damage.
- Inspect the blade or disc of your Stihl brushcutters to establish if it is sharp enough (should you utilise these cutting attachments).
- If you use a trimmer line, ensure that it is not damaged or altogether non-functional. You may need to replace the line after a work session in certain cases.
- Inspect the screws, nuts and bolts of your brushcutter. Ensure that they are secured and well-tightened. The same applies for the components securing the disc or blade casing.
Maintaining the engine of your Stihl brushcutters
For all petrol-engine brushcutters, regular engine maintenance is of the utmost importance. It can be more time-consuming than the simple maintenance duties addressed in the previous section, but are of equal importance and must not be neglected. It is essential to ensure that before executing any cleaning or maintenance of the engine, the brushcutter is switched off, the engine and muffler are cold and the boot has been removed from the spark plug. You should also be wearing utility gloves when performing maintenance.
Now, let’s get started on how exactly you should maintain the engine:
Clean the brushcutter’s air filter: this can be done by disassembling it and tapping it lightly against any hard surface. This should be done after 8-10 hours of working. Sometimes, however, this will not suffice if dirt is tightly lodged within the filter. In this case, brush the filter or used compressed air which should be blown from the back towards to exterior of the filter. The filter must be replaced at least once a year or after 100 working hours, as well as if it is damaged or filthy with fuel.
Take out the fuel filter: the filter should be removed extracted from the tank once a month and should be changed if damaged. It is recommended that the fuel filter should be replaced entirely every year or after 100 working hours.
Clean the spark plug: this should be done with a cloth. At the same time, inspect the gap between the electrodes (electrical conductors) for signs of damage or wear. This component should also be changed each year or as regularly as advised by your Stihl brushcutters user manual.
Thoroughly clean the engine cylinder fins using compressed air or a brush – once a month.
Check the level of grease in the bevel drive and refill when necessary. The bevel drive is responsible for turning or rotating the cutter’s cutting attachment using gear wheels. It is recommended that after every 30 working session hours, the bevel drive should be topped up with the relevant grease advised in your user manual.
Storing your Stihl brushcutters
The correct storing of your brushcutters is just as important as executing regular maintenance. Many brushcutter owners see it fit to store their brushcutters during winter, when plant and shrub growth dries up and slows down. If you know that you will not be using your brushcutter for an extended period, you need to take some time to prepare it properly for storage:
- Drain all mixture from the cutter’s carburettor. You can do this by starting the brushcutter and leaving the engine running until it switches off by itself.
- Empty and clean the engine’s fuel tank (if required in the case of a 2-stroke engine model). Make sure that you do this in a well-ventilated area or preferably outdoors to avoid inhaling fumes.
- Ensure that the fuel filter, cylinder fins, air filter and spark plug is clean as recommended in the previous section.
- Clean the exterior of your brushcutter (including the air filters on the cowling).
- Make sure to adequately grease the metal parts of your brushcutter in order to keep them in good condition while in storage. Do not forget to grease the bevel drive.
- Remove the cutting attachment, oil it and clean it to prevent any rust build-up.
- Store your brushcutter in a sheltered, dry environment. It should never be placed directly on the ground (to avoid moisture) or near any heat sources. One easy way to keep the machine off the ground is by using wooden planks or crates as a stand. If possible, cover the machine with a tarpaulin sheet.
How to safely operate your brushcutter
Now that you have a good idea of how to clean, maintain and store your brushcutters, you should know how to operate them safely. This involves several precautionary measures as well as the wearing of personal protective equipment. While executing the above may seem unnecessary after some time and experience, it is crucial to never become complacent about operating any machinery. This is how accidents occur. The following guide should set you on the path to operating your brushcutters safely:
- Scan your working environment for any hazards such as rocks, tree stumps, wire or metal in the ground.
- Maintain a safe distance from other people while operating your brushcutter.
- Make sure that all attachments are secure.
- Take the time to adjust the handle and harness to suit your height (as this will make your work session more comfortable and less strenuous).
PPE (personal protective equipment) checklist
- Goggles or shield: they will protect your face and eyes from any flying debris or grass and prevent injury.
- Ear protection: brushcutters can be noisy and have the potential to do long-term damage to your hearing if you are not careful. Wearing sound barriers like mufflers or ear plugs can alleviate this risk.
- Gloves: due to the dangerous nature fast-moving machinery, chain-resistant or utility gloves should always be worn (during use as well as maintenance).
- Boots: Sturdy footwear such as steel-toed boots with non-slip soles should be work to prevent injury.
- Leg protection: it is recommended that you wear long pants consisting of heavy and durable material during a brushcutting session.
Safe starting procedure checklist
- Start up your brushcutter in a well-ventilated area (usually outdoors).
- Before starting, you should move far away from your refuelling area to prevent accidents.
- If the engine is cold, use the choke.
- Ensure that you have secure footing before staring.
- Make sure that any cutting attachments are elevated and not touching anything.
- You are now ready to start your brushcutter safely!
Stihl brushcutters available from BS Power
BS Power stocks several impressive models of Stihl brushcutters, with 6 options from which to choose. This includes:
- The Stihl FS38 Trimmer: the lightest cutter in the Stihl range. It is ideal for trimming and cutting back grass edges – ideal for the homeowner looking for an easy-to-use brushcutter.
- The Stihl FS45 Trimmer: with a simplified starting system and round and multi-functional handle, this trimmer is a popular choice.
- The Stihl FS160 Brushcutter: this brushcutter is strong and powerful, and is ideal for cutting thin trees and gnarled bushes.
- The Stihl FS120 Brushcutter: a favourite for its amazing power-to-weight ratio as well as perfect balance.
- The Stihl FSA45 Battery Cordless Trimmer: perfect for normal clearing and trimming situations. It is compact and ideal for easy, no-mess usage.
- The Stihl FS250 Brushcutter: is ideal for tougher, large-scale mowing and clearing jobs. Its anti-vibration system makes the working session less strenuous on the user’s hands and arms.
Considerations when choosing a Stihl brushcutter
Choosing a brushcutter can seem daunting. However, the task can be made simpler by planning out exactly what you will be using the brushcutter for. As a homeowner, a light and less powerful cutter will be appropriate for your garden, for example. Whereas a contractor may be interested in a stronger model for work involving the clearing of thin trees and gnarled bushes – such as the Stihl FS160 Brushcutter. There are various considerations to guide your choice, such as the following:
If you are inexperienced in operating garden tools, for example, you may wish to consider a lighter model of brushcutter. Usually, lighter models require less in-depth maintenance and are also easier to carry, operate and start. For a more experienced user, or if you have had training in garden tools, you may wish to consider a more powerful model.
Type of work
As previously discussed, the type of work you plan on doing with your brushcutter is likely to dictate your choice of model.
The pricing of Stihl brushcutters ranges based on their capabilities. If cost is a concern and you are on a tight budget, consider going with a lighter model if you do not need to do serious and strenuous clearing work on a large-scale.