An electric hedge trimmer can make shaping and controlling bushes much easier than trying to do so manually. But even the most well-maintained unit can break down and stop working. Follow these steps to repair the device yourself and save yourself some cash.
Step 1 - Protect Yourself
Safety should always be your top priority when working with any type of machinery, even something as small as an electric hedge trimmer. Use common sense. Turn off the trimmer and fully unplug it from its power source. Doing this will eliminate the chance of accidentally turning it on while you work. Resist the urge to simply turn the unit off; it's too easy to accidentally hit the on/off switch and injure yourself.
Step 2 - Examine the Blades
One of the most common problems with an electric hedge trimmer is jammed blades. Especially if you trim back particularly thick growth in your bushes, the blades can easily lock up due to collected debris. Inspect the blades to see if there's any branches stuck. Broken wood can be sheared; larger branches can be pulled out manually. Stubborn ones can be clipped away using pruning shears.
If the blades are broken or cracked instead of jammed, go to step four.
Step 3 - Check the Teeth
Place the pruner on a flat surface and put on the heavy-duty gardening gloves. The gloves will protect you from getting any nicks and cuts on your hands and arms. Then, check to see if there's any wooden debris stuck between the teeth of the unit. Pull it all out manually, or if this doesn't work, use a wooden dowel to loosen the pieces. Look to see if any of the teeth are bent as well. If they are, they will need to be replaced before the trimmer can resume normal function.
Step 4 - Replace Broken Blades
Open the housing to access the screws, nuts, or bolts securing the blades. Remember which position they're in as you remove them, taking a photograph with your cellphone if necessary. You may also want to wear the gloves again to protect your hands. Insert a new set of blade, compatible with your machine, and secure.
Step 5 - Replace Broken Teeth
The teeth for your hedge trimmer are on a chain. Even if one is completely bent out of shape, the trimmer won't work properly. While it's possible to remove and replace just one of these teeth, it's not recommended since the procedure is difficult and time consuming. Replace the entire chain of teeth instead.
Begin by opening the housing and using the appropriate tool (which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer) to loosen the chain enough to pull it off. Replace it with a new chain, making sure you install it with the teeth facing out. You can wear gloves as you do this if you're concerned about cutting yourself, although bare fingers make it easier to work.
Soak a cloth with whatever lubricant is recommended in your owner's manual and apply it to the teeth after you've secured them. Allow it to sink in for 15 minutes. Then, plug in the pruner, turn it on, and let it run for a couple of minutes. Turn off the device, unplug, and lubricate again to finish up.