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Lawn Aerator Keeps Clogging – Causes & Fixes

Maintaining your lawn with an aerator can be more challenging than expected if the machine clogs. Now, you're wondering what could be the reason why it accumulates blockages. Also, what can you do to fix and prevent this issue from happening?

Luckily, we did plenty of research and have the answers below!

A lawn aerator may frequently clog because of reasons ranging from dull blades to aerating dry ground. Find the source of the issue, especially if it's a recurring problem. Then, use the appropriate solution based on the results of your troubleshooting.

So keep reading as we tackle these possible reasons why your lawn aerator clogs regularly in greater detail. As you read through this post, we'll discuss each underlying issue's potential solution. With that said, let's dive right in!

3 Reasons Why Your Lawn Aerator Clogs (And Their Possible Fixes)

Reasons why your lawn aerator clogs, Lawn Aerator Keeps Clogging - Causes & Fixes

Dull Blades

One of the reasons why your lawn aerator becomes clogged is because its blades become blunt. Over time, the blades become dull as they repeatedly chop, grind, and sever ground chunks.

Once these components aren't as sharp as before, large chunks may fly into the machine, clogging it.

How To Fix

Sharpening the blades may help prevent your lawn aerator from clogging. But be wary as you're going to handle sharp equipment.

So, protect yourself from possible injuries by wearing protective gear, such as quality safety gloves and protective goggles.

Follow these steps when you're ready:

What You'll Need
  • Angle grinder
  • Cleaning tools
Step-By-Step Guide
  1. Ensure that the lawn aerator is off and disconnected from its power source, if any.
  2. Clean the machine (use the steps highlighted in a later section of this post).
  3. Hold one of the blades with one of your hands to prevent the auger from spinning.
  4. Use an angle grinder with your free hand to sharpen the dull blades.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you sharpen all the dull blades in the lawn aerator.

Check out this angle grinder on Amazon.

Tip: Do this procedure at least once per year. That way, you can maintain your lawn aerator's efficacy and reduce the risks of harm caused by clogs.

Broken Blades

Aerating steel roller on the green grass

Your lawn aerator's blades may break if it hits a hard object. If so, the entire auger assembly may not have the appropriate performance to break down the ground.

Using the lawn aerator with a broken blade may result in large pieces entering the machine, creating blockages.

How To Fix

Replacing the offending blade may help restore the lawn aerator's normal functions. Remember that different aerators often have varying designs despite their similar looks.

So make sure to consult your machine's owner's manual for the specific steps for the replacement process.

Nonetheless, here are the steps to replace a Hyundai lawn aerator:

What You'll Need
  • Wrench set
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Replacement blade or auger assembly
  • Fuel oil (optional)
  • Engine oil (optional)
Step-By-Step Guide
  1. If you're using a gas- or electric-powered lawn aerator, drain its fuel and engine oil first. Skip this step if you're using a manual aerator.
  2. Turn the machine to its side to expose the auger assembly.
  3. Loosen and remove all the bolts securing the auger assembly.
  4. Pull out the rectangular plate securing the auger assembly.
  5. Lift and remove the auger assembly from its mounting location.
  6. Replace the offending blade or the entire auger assembly.
  7. Return the auger to its original location in the lawn aerator and secure it.
  8. Refill the lawn aerator's fuel and engine oil stock if needed.
  9. Test the machine to see if it now works as intended.

Watch the clip below from YouTube if you need a visual guide:

Dry Ground

Perhaps it's not the lawn aerator that's at fault for causing the clogs but the dry earth. Some types of ground may clump when dehydrated.

Although your aerator may do a good job grinding and slicing dirt, it may still have difficulty breaking up large ground chunks.

If left unchecked, these pieces may lodge into the aerator's internal mechanism, resulting in the malfunction.

How To Fix

You can use a garden hose or sprinkler system to wet the ground you're aerating slightly. Aside from being too dry, the soil may clump if it's too wet.

So it would help if you were careful not to use the machine after heavy rain.

See this automatic sprinkler system on Amazon.

You can also read our post about aerating in the rain to gain additional insight into using the machine during the wet season.

How Do You Clean A Lawn Aerator?

Electric lawn scarifier

You should clean your lawn aerator regularly. A good cleaning session may also help remove clogs in its framework.

So, follow these general steps in cleaning your lawn aerator:

What You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Pressure washer
  • Rubber mallet
  • Rust-resistant solution

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Ensure that the lawn aerator is off and its power source disconnected, if any.
  2. Spray the machine with a garden hose or a pressure washer to an appropriate setting.
  3. Tap the blades or spikes with a rubber mallet to loosen the soil on those components.
  4. Apply a rust-resistant solution to the metal parts to prevent them from rusting.

Also, don't forget to check the product manufacturer's guidelines regarding your aerator's proper maintenance.

How Many Passes Should I Make With My Aerator?

Aeration of the lawn in the garden

The number of passes required to aerate a lawn depends on certain factors. For instance, a single pass should suffice if your garden has lightly compacted soil.

Also, one pass is often enough if you aerated your property at least once in the past year.

On the other hand, complete two passes with your lawn aerator if your property has highly compacted ground. Aim for your second pass to be at an angle to help relieve the compaction in the soil.

After reading this section, you might also be curious about how deep an aerator goes.

Which Lawn Aerator Is The Best?

If your lawn aerator frequently clogs, despite regular preventive care to the machine, it might be time to replace the old unit with a new model.

Here are some options that may catch your attention:

1. Yard Butler ID-6C Manual Lawn Aerator

Aerating lawn by manual aerator in back yard

This manual lawn aerator doesn't use a rotating blade assembly. Instead, it has two 3-1/2-inch cores to help you poke holes into your garden's soil.

It can take a while to aerate your lawn with this model. But it can be challenging to go wrong with this product's price. This straightforward lawn aerator has no additional features attached to it.

That also means it can be a good choice for interested buyers following strict budgets.

Check out this product on Amazon here.

2. Brinly PA-403BH-A Tow Behind Aerator

If you have a riding lawn mower or a similar machine, you can attach this lawn aerator behind that unit. This model also features 24 3-inch blades or plugs.

Also, each of those blades has a durable steel construction. The included weight tray can also handle up to 150 pounds of weight.

Aside from attaching to a lawn mower, this aerator's attachment is also compatible with other vehicles. For instance, you may attach it to specific ATV and UTV models.

Transporting this aerator is also reasonably easy, thanks to its transport lever. However, the initial assembly might be pretty challenging. Thankfully, you may only need to do that setup once.

Check out this product on Amazon.

3. Rock&Rocker WR5006-1600Q13 2-in-1 Dethatcher And Aerator

This 2-in-1 lawn maintenance machine can help you aerate and dethatch your lawn. You can also swap out the blades easily.

Using its dethatcher, this machine can clear a 15-inch wide path in one pass. Also, the built-in copper motor can rotate the dethatching assembly up to 3,500 RPMs.

The machine also comes with an auger height adjustment feature. That way, you don't have to manually calculate the force required to puncture the soil in your garden.

Plus, its large capacity container also has a safety switch to prevent issues, such as accidents and clogs.

Check out this product on Amazon.

To Finish It Up

Make sure to find the main reason why your lawn aerator clogs frequently. Also, don't forget to clean the machine regularly to keep it in good condition.

And, of course, if your aerator isn't working as it should, you might want to replace it altogether.