Winter is almost here. That means putting the lawnmower and string trimmer and blowers and all other lawn maintenance equipment away. Here are a few tips to follow when you are storing your small engines for a few months.
- This is a tip that you can use throughout the year and during the winter months. That is putting an additive (Star Tron, Seafoam, or Sta-Bil) in your gas as soon as you put fresh gas in your container. With the gas that is being sold at gas stations, it is mainly for vehicles that have ethanol. Ethanol is not good for the small engines that are used on mowers, string trimmers, and blowers and other equipment. Ethanol has inherent properties that can cause corrosion of metal parts, including carburetors, degradation of plastic and rubber components. This is why you should put in the additives in the gas can all year long and not just for the winter. Another option is to buy the Ethanol-free gas that is sold Sears or Home Depot and other retail stores that sell outdoor equipment that is specifically for small engines.
- Over the years of working with small engines at Virginia Green, here is what I have learned. As it gets time to put mower, trimmer, blower away for the next few months, I will fill the gas tank to about ¾ of the way up with the gas and additives. Then run the engine for about 20 minutes. By doing this you will not have a dry carburetor where any ethanol can dry up and flake off when fuel is added in the spring and cause problems.
- Here at Virginia Green Lawn Care, we use a combination of Seafoam and Star Tron as soon as we get any kind of fuel delivery. And this is done throughout the year no matter when we get fuel. With as many small engines that we have here, having one small engine down can be costly.
- Now that mowing the grass is not going to be a weekly job, maintenance on the mower can begin. One of the first things to remember when doing any kind of maintenance on any kind of equipment (disconnect the spark plug and the spark plug wire). This will ensure that the engine does not have any chance of starting up and you getting injured. Here are a few things to do when working on your equipment.
- Change the oil in the mower. Follow the Owner’s Manual on the frequency of oil change. Most will go by hours, but if you use the equipment in a dusty environment, then changing the oil on a more frequent basis is a good idea. Your Owner’s Manual will also tell you what kind of oil to use in your equipment.
- Changing the cutting blade on your mower. It’s not a bad idea to buy a spare blade when you buy your mower. This way when you take the old blade off your mower you have a nice sharp blade ready to go. Once the old blade is off, take it to your nearest shop or if you can sharpen it yourself. It’s not a bad idea to spray some WD-40 on the blade before you put it away so that it doesn’t rust much.
- Also while you are getting the mower ready for storage for the next few months, spray the throttle cable and any other cable down with WD-40. This will help the cable from freezing or rusting during storage.
- You will also want to change out the spark plug and the air filter on your mower, trimmer, blower, and any other outdoor equipment. Again check your Owner’s Manual for specifics on these items. The air filter is something that you may want to look at each time you start up your equipment, it’s a good habit to get into.