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6 Reasons Why Your Brush Cutter Trimmer Line Breaks

Living on a farm in Brazil, I've gained local in-depth knowledge of food, plants, and traditions, which I share through my articles.

Be sure to take care cutting near trees and walls.

Be sure to take care cutting near trees and walls.

It's frustrating when you're out cutting with your brush cutter and the trimmer line breaks. If this happens frequently, there are a few things that may be causing it. Some of these may be obvious to you, and others may not. Here are, what I believe, the best ways to deal with it and prevent it from happening.

Carry a Few Things With You for Simple Repairs

I would also like to suggest you carry a few things with you so you can do simple repairs in situ and get back to your cutting. I usually just use my fingers to remove the spool if the line breaks inside. If yours is difficult to open, take the tool that came with your brush cutter.

I also take a pocketknife, so I can cut off excess cord if required. Occasionally, the lines may break unevenly, and you want to avoid unnecessary vibration to your machine; it's best to keep both sides even.

1. What Are You Cutting?

If you are using nylon cutting string that frequently breaks, consider what you are attempting to cut. For weeds and small soft-stemmed plants, your cord should do this easily. In my experience, it will also cut through dry woody stalks that would snap if you were to kick them.

If you are trying to shear off shrubs the thickness of your finger, you may be struggling unless they are entirely dead and hollow. If you have scrubland with living bushes and need to remove them, switch to the blade attachment if you have one.

Take care near walls, sidewalks, and trees. Use your cutting shield as a guide to the distance you need to stay away from the object.

If you think you're underpowered in your choice of a machine, keep in mind that there are specific models for home, farm, or professional use. Reevaluate your needs and upgrade if needed.

Easily cutting through grass and soft green weeds.

Easily cutting through grass and soft green weeds.

2. Unseen Objects

If you are in long, thick grass, it can prevent you from seeing what is on the ground. If you suspect there may be potential hazards, you have a couple of options.

One is to walk the area and feel for hidden objects. If that isn't an option, you can do a higher cut, in hopes of exposing the hidden debris. Things such as rocks, logs, or wire from fencing make your work more challenging.

Here on my farm, I have small coconuts that fall and cause a cutting hazard. All of these hazards will cause your brushcutter line to break if you hit it. Once the area is cut, you can remove potential obstructions for the next cutting time.

In the photo below, you can see we have old palm leaves under the weeds, these should be removed before cutting to avoid snapping the line.

High weeds and hidden debris can result in your trimmer line snapping.

High weeds and hidden debris can result in your trimmer line snapping.

3. Old Trimmer Line

Like most things, even the nylon line can deteriorate and become brittle over time, more so if left outside in the sun or the heat. Examine it. If it appears weak, replace it from a store with a good turnover of stock. Store it away from direct sunlight. Check your user manual to be sure that you are using the correct size of the nylon line.

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4. Worn Cutting Head

Worn eyelets on the cutting head can also be a problem. When you rewind your line, examine the holes that the cord passes through for any worn edges. Wipe away any grit and plant-based residue and have a look. You want a smooth surface for the line to pass through. The cutting heads do not last forever, and if you see wear, either on the holes or the spool, consider replacing it.

5. Greasing Your Brush Cutter Head

When was the last time you greased the gearing mechanism of your trimmer? To keep the spool spinning as it should, regularly lubricate as part of your maintenance. As the spool spins, there is a lot of heat generated, and this can heat the nylon line, in essence, melting the nylon so that it sticks together. If you notice more breakage when you have been cutting for some time, this could be why.

6. Winding Your Trimmer Line

Before winding new line on, clean the spool of any debris. Grass, sand, or even dried mud can accumulate and cause wear to the spool. Wipe it clean with a cloth.

How carefully do you wind your nylon onto your spool? If you wind unevenly and have a higher edge, it can impede how the line sits in on the spool, and you will get problems. If necessary, run your thumb along the line to ensure the line is laying flat as you wind it on the spool. You can thread the two lengths on the spool at the same time or just individually.

Reduce Wear and Tear on Your Trimmer

Using these six preventative measures will reduce your chance of line breakage and help maintain your brush cutter. Reducing wear and tear on your gearing mechanism by eliminating unnecessary vibration and additional lubricant will prolong your trimmer's life.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Mary Wickison


Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 20, 2020:

That's true Dora, sometimes we've been using something for so long, we can forget the obvious things.

Preventative maintenance always pays off in the long run.

Great to hear from you.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 20, 2020:

Hi Shauna,

It can be annoying/. My husband used to swear when it happened. I could be on the other side of the farm, and still hear him.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 13, 2020:

Good prevention tips. Those who use the tool regularly and always find it easy may forget some of these cautions. Very helpful!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 13, 2020:

My son takes care of weed-eating for me. I'm not sure of the brand we have, but I'll have him take a look at this article.

Thanks for the advice, Mary!

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 12, 2020:

Where would men be without a supervisor? It's easy to miss a section, I must admit.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 11, 2020:

I’m with Linda. This is not something I do myself but my husband does. I supervise, however.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 11, 2020:

I wish I could say the same thing. Weed whacking is another string in my bow, a feather in my cap, and a line on my resume. LOL

Great to hear from you.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 11, 2020:

Mary, I'll pass all of this good advice on to the person who wields the weed whacker around here (it isn't me).

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 11, 2020:

Having someone to do your cutting is great. It can be a tiring and labor intensive job. It also helps that any mechanical problems will be down to him to sort out.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 11, 2020:

I agree with you. There is a real sense of accomplishment when you look back and see how much you've cut.

I think the repetitive movement, and intense concentration gets you, 'in the zone'.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 11, 2020:

I can't begin to count the number of hours I've spent with a brush cutter. Everything you've said is spot on. It's frustrating at times, but when it's working properly, it is somewhat Zen-like. :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 10, 2020:

These are all good tips for keeping weed-eating machines, or brush cutters, as you called them, in good shape. Right now, the yard man that we employ does all of that for us.

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