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How Does A Leaf Blower Work?

by Jeremy HIPA 30 Jan 2023 0 Comments

Leaf blower won’t start or runs poorly? This blog has information on how a leaf blower works and offers troubleshooting tips to assist you in diagnosing and repair.

Although leaf blowers differ from model to model, they operate on similar principles. In this blog, we will address how leaf blowers work as well as potential problems you may encounter.


Leaf blowers can be powered by an extension cord battery or gasoline and are typically designed to be handheld, or for large models carried in a backpack to better distribute the engine weight.
Most gasoline-powered leaf blowers use a two-cycle engine which requires the gasoline to be mixed with oil for the engine to operate properly. Attempting to run a two-cycle engine without a suitable oil and gas mix will cause the engine to cease due to insufficient lubrication.
Two-cycle engines are relatively lightweight while allowing for a high output for torque. Since leaf blowers are intended to be handheld and operated at different angles, a two-cycle engine is ideal for this application.
To start the engine, the ignition switch must be set to the start position. As the starter rope is pulled, the starter engages the drive cup on the flywheel and rotates the crankshaft. The rotating crankshaft connects to the piston which moves up and down within the cylinder and the ignition process begins.
The flywheel has permanent magnets built into it and as it rotates past the ignition coil, a magnetic field is created. The magnetic filed induces electricity allowing the ignition coil to send voltage to the spark plug. As the piston travels down the cylinder, it exposes an intake port and pumps fuel, oil and air into the cylinder. As the piston travels back up the cylinder, a vacuum is created and gas, oil and air is drawn through the carburetor into the crankcase. When the piston reaches the top of the cylinder, the spark plug ignites the compressed fuel and air mixture which forces the piston back down, exposing an exhaust port where the spent fuel exits. A split second later, the intake port is exposed again, fresh fuel is drawn in and the process is repeated with every revolution of the crankshaft.

Muffler and Spark Arrestor

The exhaust from the engine travels through a muffler and spark arrestor. The muffler reduces engine noise while the arrestor prevents burning carbon deposits from exiting the leaf blower and potentially starting a fire.

Choke and Primer Bulb

Some engines may have a choke, primer bulb or both to assist with starting, especially when the engine is cold. The choke will temporarily restrict airflow through the carburetor, so more fuel can enter the cylinder. Likewise, a primer bulb draws additional fuel through the carburetor which enters the cylinder before the engine is started.


Once started, the drive shaft of the engine or electric motor powers the leaf blower’s impeller. The impeller is essentially a fan blade that draws air into the blower housing and forces it out the blower tube. As the air exits the tube, the air flow is strong enough to clear leaves and small debris from landscaping sidewalks and driveways. Some models allow you to redirect the air flow passing through the blower housing, allowing the blower to operate as a vacuum.
If you notice that the strength of the airflow is reduced, it is possible that the blower housing has become clogged with debris or that the impeller fan blade has become damaged and will need to be replaced. If the engine not accelerating when the throttle trigger is depressed, it could be an indication that the trigger or throttle cable has broken again, both these items can be replaced. If the engine starts but loses power or stalls shortly after, the spark arrestor may be clogged which prevents exhaust from exiting the engine, the clog is often caused by using too much oil or the wrong type of oil in the fuel mixture. If the engine does not start at all, the most likely cause is a defective spark plug or a restricted carburetor. The carburetor can be cleaned but it often needs to be replaced to avoid damaging the engine and ensure that it runs smoothly.


You should use gasoline that contains no more than 10% ethanol or for better stability, you can use a pre-mixed fuel and oil product that is ethanol free. You should store the fuel mixture in a clean sealed plastic container approved for fuel storage. If equipped, close the vent when not in use and store the container away from direct sunlight. If you anticipate storing the fuel for longer than 3 months, consider adding a fuel stabilizer when you fill the container.

Hipa Repair Center has a solution for many of the problems you may be experiencing with your leaf blower. Enter the product’s full model number in our website search engine for a complete of compatible parts. also has an extensive selection of instructional blogs to assist you covering topics like part replacement. At, we make fixing things easier.

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Please let us know if this works and if you have any suggestions or comments. Or you can join HIPA DIY COMMUNITY to feature your passion for repair projects, share your stories with the Hipa family and get help from

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