Hedge trimmer maintenance: step by step

Hedge trimmer maintenance

Thorough and regular maintenance of your hedge trimmer will guarantee the durability of your power tool. We tell you what you need to know.


Why do I need to regularly maintain my hedge trimmer?


Every time you use your hedge trimmer it is exposed to significant stresses, which leave traces of wear and tear; left unnoticed, these can worsen and become real problems with continued use, until your hedge trimmer starts underperforming. With regular maintenance, you can identify and address such issues early on – avoiding more serious damage and malfunctions. Even more importantly, a well-maintained tool is always the safest to use. Inspecting your hedge trimmer as part of your tool care routine will highlight any damage that could impair its safe functioning, and in this way periodic checking and servicing minimises the risk of injury from using the machine.


How to maintain your hedge trimmer correctly


There are specific maintenance steps that you should run through every single time, before and after working with your hedge trimmer – whether it’s petrol-driven or electric.


Personal protective equipment: Always wear sturdy work gloves made from resilient material when undertaking maintenance on your hedge trimmer.

A woman wearing protective gloves stands at a workbench in a tidy garage, working on a STIHL HSA 56 cordless hedge trimmer


General hedge trimmer maintenance: before starting work


Do a full and thorough visual check of the hedge trimmer

  • Is the rubber coating intact or are there tears in it?
  • Do the screws need to be retightened? Or are they actually too tight? If they are too tight, you will notice that the cutting attachment feels stiff when you try to move it. If you do adjust any screws, it’s a good idea to also apply a little oil and anti-rust protection to them.
  • Are the blades in good condition? Do they need to be sharpened?
  • Carefully check the most important functions to ensure they are working correctly and don’t need any specific maintenance.

Check the switch lever, switch lever trigger, locking lever, and retaining latch. You will find detailed information about all the components in the operating manual for your tool.


General hedge trimmer maintenance: after finishing work


Clean the whole machine, taking particular care over the cutting attachment.

Use a damp cloth to wipe off dirt and moisture, and remove any residue of leaves and twigs caught in the teeth. Next, apply a care oil or maintenance spray to both sides of the blades and run the hedge trimmer briefly to distribute the oil on the moving surfaces.


General hedge trimmer maintenance: occasionally and as required


Sharpen the cutting blades and, when necessary, have damaged or worn blades professionally replaced.

Using a hedge trimmer with blunt blades will damage your plants and make work unnecessarily difficult. The machine itself will also be forced to work harder, which may impact its performance.

  • Ensure the cold air intake is clear of debris.
  • Visit a STIHL dealer to service the gear unit and top up the STIHL Multilub.
  • Re-tighten all accessible screws.
A STIHL HSA 56 cordless hedge trimmer is held up in one hand by a woman wearing gloves, who is spraying resin solvent onto the cutting apparatus with the other hand


Specific maintenance for petrol-driven, cordless, and electric hedge trimmers.


Alongside the general maintenance actions for all hedge trimmers, there are also specific care requirements that depend on what kind of hedge trimmer you have. We’ve put together the main points to check for each one.


Petrol hedge trimmer maintenance


Keep your petrol-driven hedge trimmer in perfect order with these extra maintenance steps:

  • Before you do any maintenance work, check the carburettor is correctly in idle mode so the cutting attachment doesn’t run, and adjust it if necessary.
  • Check the machine for leaks, and make sure no fuel is coming out of it anywhere.
  • Check the spark plugs regularly; we recommend these are replaced after 100 operating hours.
  • Clean the air filter regularly, and replace it when required.
  • Clean the fuel tank. If the tool will be unused for three months or more, you should empty the tank before storage and dispose of the old fuel properly.
  • The pickup body in the fuel tank should be replaced by a STIHL dealer as an annual service.
A man wearing ear protection and protective gloves starts a STIHL HS 82 T petrol-driven hedge trimmer on a brick staircase between two hedges


Cordless hedge trimmer maintenance


If you have a battery-operated power tool, the battery and charger should not be overlooked in your maintenance processes.

Do the LEDs work and flash as they should? If they light up in red or not at all, remove the battery from the power tool. The Troubleshooting section in the operating manual for your hedge trimmer includes precise instructions for dealing with warning symbols and other maintenance issues.

Note: After each use, remove the battery from the hedge trimmer and clean it using a damp cloth, then dry the battery. We recommend always storing the battery separately from the machine, charged to 40 to 60% (two LEDs lit up in green).

A STIHL HSA 56 cordless hedge trimmer being held by someone wearing gloves, in front of a workbench and lawn mower


Electric hedge trimmer maintenance


Always disconnect the plug from the mains before you maintain your hedge trimmer, as otherwise there is a high risk of injury!

If you have an electric hedge trimmer with a mains connection, you should carefully check the power cord and plug before and after each use.

  • Are they well insulated?
  • Are they showing signs of age or breaking in areas?

If you notice any damage during maintenance, you must stop using the device. Electrical components must only be replaced or serviced by a qualified electrician. 

  • Check the carbon brushes regularly and have them replaced by a dealer after 100 operating hours.
  • The gear unit and connecting rod should be checked by a dealer after 50 operating hours.
Close-up of the trimmed vertical face of a green hedge


Hedge trimmer care: maintenance spray and lubricating greases

Your hedge trimmer is exposed to external influences and stubborn dirt each time you use it. Our carefully selected range of STIHL care products includes everything you need to maintain the functionality of your power tool.

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Multilub grease for lubricating the gear unit

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Multispray for lubrication and loosening of dirt, and for corrosion protection

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Superclean resin solvent and corrosion protection in one spray



  • Regular maintenance extends your tool’s service life and reduces the risk of accidents
  • Start with a thorough visual inspection
  • Carefully check the most important functions to ensure they are working correctly
  • In petrol hedge trimmers, the fuel tank, air filter and spark plugs should be cleaned and looked over regularly
  • When performing maintenance on hedge trimmers with a mains connection, always disconnect the plug from the power first
  • For battery-powered hedge trimmer maintenance, remember to check the battery and charger too

How do you maintain your hedge trimmer?

Maintain your hedge trimmer by checking it and cleaning it before and after every use. With longer-term maintenance measures the key is performing them regularly: keep blades sharpened and in good condition, add oil when necessary, and visit a STIHL dealer for servicing at the intervals recommended in your operating manual.

How do you maintain your electric hedge trimmer?

Electric hedge trimmer maintenance requires the general steps of checking the condition of the blades and keeping your tool clean and functional. But remember that any internal servicing or replacement must be done by a qualified electrician, so if you find any damage when you inspect your hedge trimmer, stop using it immediately and take it to a STIHL dealer in the first instance.

How do you service a petrol hedge trimmer?

To service your petrol hedge trimmer, ensure the blades and air filter are clean and in good condition. Check the whole tool over for fuel leaks and damage each time you use it, and ensure that spark plugs, the air filter and pickup body are replaced at the recommended intervals. Empty out the fuel tank if the hedge trimmer will be unused for three months or more.