Start with starting Part 2 – It was running fine, but now it won’t start

By JimRental

You’ve been using the rental equipment for a while, feel that you’re getting your stride, and understanding how the machine is supposed to be used.

You take a break and shut the machine off, or you hit the safety cut-off switch.... arrgh!

“It was running fine and now it won’t start,” is a frequent call back to the rental shop.

With rare exception, the reason why the rental equipment isn’t running boils down to three common and very surmountable causes:

1. You’re out of gas – Sure, it sounds obvious, but when a piece of gas-powered rental equipment won’t restart, checking the fuel tank frequently is the first and only step you need to take to get going again. The thing is that fuel and time whizz by just as fast as the wood chips, dirt and dust. You’ll feel sheepish when you gaze into the empty tank, but often, all it takes is to fire the machine up is to re-fill the tank, then restart as though you were starting the equipment for the first time.

2. You've activated a safety stop – Quite a few gas-powered rental machines have stop or safety bars intended to prevent personal injury, or damage to the equipment. Hitting the bar instantly kills the engine.

Wood chippers are a great example – their stop bars inevitably take glancing blows from errant limbs or branches, or you may bump and de-activate them when you're re-locating the machine. The chipper simply will not start again until the safety bar is re-set to the safe position.

If you’re operating a piece of equipment with a safety bar or safety lock and the engine won’t restart, double-check to see if you’ve tripped one of the mechanical safety mechanisms.

3. The On/Off switch accidentally is at Off -- This sounds even more like a no-brainer than checking the gas tank, but even seasoned power tool users have pulled a starter rope repeatedly before thinking to re-check the On/Off switch.

Granted, there are other some “non-starters,” like when something snags an ignition wire, or the cap disconnects from a spark plug. But in most of the time, you can get things going by investigating these common causes for why the engine won’t re-start.