Summertime has drawn to a close, so your outdoor power equipment needs have changed with the fall season. That means it’s time to put away the summer equipment, and break out the cold-weather equipment. By taking care of cleaning and maintenance tasks before the winter season, you can build a regular routine that will help you extend the life of your small engine equipment. Here’s what you should do to prepare your equipment for winter storage.
Store Small Engine Equipment Tip – Storage
Store your equipment in a clean and dry area, such as a garage or shed. For additional protection, try covering your machine with a tarp to block out possible moisture and use moth balls to help protect against pests.
Store Small Engine Equipment Tip – Spark Plugs
Spark plugs should be replaced after 100 hours of use. Use a spark plug wrench to carefully turn the metal base so as not to break the plug. Once you remove the spark plug, put a few drops of oil into the open cylinder, and then gently start the engine a few times to coat the cylinder walls and valves.
Make sure you replace the used plug with a new one that has the same part number. Spark plugs vary among different machines.
Store Small Engine Equipment Tip – Fuel
Empty all fuel from your four-cycle and two-cycle equipment. Most gasoline contains ethanol, which breaks down over time and loosens deposits that have formed inside the engine. This causes gum-like material to move around inside the fuel system and can clog the carburetor.
Before storing equipment, let the engine run until it stalls out and there is no longer any gas in the tank. Try to start the engine again to get rid of any fuel that escaped during the previous run.
If you want to keep your equipment filled with gas, you should use a fuel stabilizer. Run your machine for a few minutes to circulate the mixture throughout the carburetor, and then turn the machine off. This process allows you to store a gas-filled tank for up to six months, and should allow you to easily start your machine in the spring.
Store Small Engine Equipment Tip – Oil and Filters
Change the oil and oil filters to keep moving parts lubricated. Changing these also removes particles from the engine, increasing its lifespan of your small engine equipment. Cleaning or replacing air filters helps keep grass and other elements out of the engine, increasing power and fuel efficiency.
Paper filters should be replaced after use, while foam filters can be washed and reused. Rinse your foam filter with hot water and dish detergent, lay it out to dry, and coat it in oil before re-inserting.