At the moment I’m stuck between a Classic Rock (pun intended) and a hard place regarding the present state of string trimmers in my life and whether or not I should buy a new weed trimmer.

For years I tried various models, brands, and types to finally reason out that on average they last about two good years and that third summer it’s just as easy to go ahead and get a new one rather than expending the necessary physical energy to pull the rope 40 times to get it to start once and then maybe only briefly.

Cracked and hardened fuel lines I'll be replacing also

Realizing the little two-cycle engines all had a lifespan of about two solid years I started getting the lower end models of the good brands to save upfront costs.

The last machine I bought was a four cycle – it’s lasted twice as long as a two cycle but maybe its time has finally come, especially after an extra-long off-season layoff, I don’t think I used it but a couple of times all last year for sure the carb is a wreck thanks to ethanol and the fuel lines are stiffened up.

However I’m giving my four-cycle experiment one last chance rather than spend a couple hundies on a new machine.

Before you blame janky maintenance, know that I keep my tools clean, organized and ready to go and stored properly away from weather etc., I’m the whole nine yards on maintenance and I’m about taking care of my stuff as a sniper is about cleaning his rifles. I use fuel additives, measure the oil and gas carefully and clean them up after each use.

Getty Images

What's a panda doing in this story? This is the image that came up when

I searched our files for a 'weed eater' 

At last about four years ago this spring I took the heavy plunge on a four-cycle ‘line trimmer’.  Not that I ever thought I had trouble with the mixing, I thought a ‘regular’ engine would be a little more durable and maybe last five-seven years.  Getting long engine life has always been a blessing for me and regularly mow with engines on various machines that are anywhere from five to fifty years old. My main decision on the four cycle was about longevity and durability.

Figuring parts would be available forever I selected a Craftsman 30cc (that was about the size of the engine in the Honda Mini-Trail wasn’t it?).

Well here we are in year four – it was running kind of funky at the end of last summer and no matter what you put into the gasoline that ethanol just does its nasty work, so I knew the end was approaching. I didn’t run it all winter and it was impossible to start. I don’t regularly use starting fluid on really small engines, tried it once to absolutely frightful super high RPM results. But after much study of new models and advice from the son, instead of hauling out the checkbook for a new one, I picked the old four cycle out of the trash and decided to give it one more whirl.

So with a new carburetor, and replacing cracked and broken fuel lines we’ll see.  I’ll probably go ahead and install a new spark plug too.

Unfortunately I dropped a couple of screws in the grass and a trip to the hardware store is in my future to get replacements before I can put it all back together.

I’ll update with results in the future.