Flap endonuclease 1 (FEN1) is a central component of Okazaki fragment maturation in eukaryotes. Genetic analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae FEN1 (RAD27) also reveals its important role in preventing trinucleotide repeat (TNR) expansion. In humans such expansion is associated with neurodegenerative diseases. In vitro, FEN1 can inhibit TNR expansion by employing its endonuclease activity to compete with DNA ligase I. Here we employed two yeast FEN1 nuclease mutants, rad27-G67S and rad27-G240D, to further define the mechanism by which FEN1 prevents TNR expansion. Using a yeast artificial chromosome system that can detect both TNR instability and fragility, we demonstrate that the G240D but not the G67S mutation increases both the expansion and fragility of a CTG tract in vivo. In vitro, the G240D nuclease is proficient in cleaving a fixed nonrepeat double flap; however, it exhibits severely impaired cleavage of both nonrepeat and CTG-containing equilibrating flaps. In contrast, wild-type FEN1 and the G67S mutant exhibit more efficient cleavage on an equilibrating flap than on a fixed CTG flap. The degree of TNR expansion and the amount of chromosome fragility observed in the mutant strains correlate with the severity of defective flap cleavage in vitro. We present a model to explain how flap equilibration and the unique tracking mechanism of FEN1 can collaborate to remove TNR flaps and prevent repeat expansion.