About 2.3 million outdoor products made by Stihl, Inc. have been recalled due to potential fuel spills caused by the effects of ethanol and other fuel additives. The affected string trimmers (including perhaps two in our ratings), brushcutters, hedge trimmers, edgers, clearing saws, pole pruners, backpack blowers, and KombiEngine multifunction products were sold for between $190 and $650 by authorized Stihl dealers from July 2002 to May 2011.
Announced jointly by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Stihl, the recall addresses the effects of ethanol and other additives to some gasoline, as sold, on the toolless fuel caps of 35 models. Once distorted by the fuel, the caps become more difficult to install and remove. If a fuel cap isn’t properly installed and fuel spillage results, said Stihl, it could ignite and burn the user. The company has received 81 reports of troublesome caps and spilled fuel—but no reports of injuries.
Roger Phelps, a spokesman for Stihl, said that the company began to investigate the toolless caps after a few initial complaints about the new cap not properly seating did not die down: “Eventually, we were able to determine it was the fuel itself that was affecting the cap.”
The toolless fuel caps in the recall can be distinguished from a newly designed cap that corrects the problem by a molded identifier mark located on the lever of the cap and also by a letter molded on the underside of the cap. (See the recall notice for the model numbers of all units included in the recall.)
Consumers should stop using any recalled Stihl product immediately and take it to an authorized dealer. If your machine has a fuel cap that is being recalled, your dealer will install the newly designed toolless fuel cap at no charge. Call 800-233-4729, visit Stihl's website or e-mail the company, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions.