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How to Store Small Engine Equipment for Winter

How to Store Small Engine Equipment for Winter

Summertime and warm weather has drawn to a close, so your outdoor power equipment needs have changed with the fall season. That means out with summer equipment, and in with cold-weather replacements. So, here’s what you should do to prepare your small engine equipment for storage.

Fuel
First, and most importantly, you will need to empty all fuel from your four-cycle and two-cycle equipment. Most gasoline contains a substantial amount of 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, which can clog the carburetor and other small openings. While draining your gas tank may seem like a time-consuming task, it’s actually very simple and can save you a lot of time and maintenance costs down the road.

At the end of each mowing season, start by filling your fuel tank with just enough gas to run your engine for one last mow, trim, or tilling task. Once you’ve finished perfecting your lawn, let the engine run until it stalls out and there is no longer any gas in the tank. Next, try to start the engine again to rid of any fuel that may not have escaped during the previous run (Note: For two-cycle engines, always make sure you’ve mixed the correct ratio of oil and gas before performing this step).

If you have trouble completely draining your tank or prefer to keep your small engine equipment stocked with gas, you can choose to use a fuel stabilizer. After following the previous steps to drain as much fuel as possible, refer to the instructions on your package of stabilizer and add the correct amount, followed by a full tank of fresh, high-octane gas. Run your mower (or other small engine equipment) for a few minutes to circulate the mixture throughout the carburetor, then turn the machine off. This process allows you to store a gas-filled tank for up to six months, and should let you easily start your mower after pulling it out of storage in the spring.

Spark Plugs
Spark plugs should ideally be replaced after 100 hours of use, so the end of summer is a great time to perform a routine inspection on your small engine equipment. Using a spark plug wrench, 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, then gently start the engine a few times to coat the cylinder walls and valves (this will help to prevent rust from forming). Taking note of the part number on the existing spark plug, replace the used plug with a new one that has the same part number (spark plugs vary greatly among different machines).

Oil & Filters

Changing the oil and oil filters keeps moving parts lubricated and removes particles from the engine, increasing its lifespan of your small engine equipment. Cleaning or replacing air filters will also help keep grass and other foreign elements out of the engine, increasing power and fuel efficiency. While paper filters should be replaced after use, foam filters can easily be washed with hot water and dish detergent, squeezed and laid out to dry, then coated in oil before they are re-inserted.

Cleaning
All those months of outdoor use almost ensure that you’ll end up with a little dirt on your small engine equipment. Lawn mowers are especially-guilty culprits, considering the large amounts of grass that tend to clump up underneath the mowing deck and inside the bag. To get rid of stubborn grass, start the mower engine, engage the blade, then spray water in front of the rear wheels (make sure you’re standing behind the mower so you stay clean and dry). When you see nothing but clear water come out from under the mower, the deck should be clean (Note: make sure the mower is completely dry before storing, and never spray water directly into the engine).

Double-Check

Now’s the time to give your small engine equipment one last inspection before stowing it away for the winter. Remember: no detail is too small when it comes to the care of your outdoor power equipment. Sharpen or replace dull mower blades, clean battery terminals, tighten screws, and check for worn belts, tires, and wheels. If you have a string trimmer, be sure to clean and rewind the string head, as well as sharpen the string-cutting blade on the debris deflector. Sharpen your chainsaws, as well, and be sure to have extra chain on hand for those cold, winter work days when hidden obstacles may cause damage to your saw (Note: As a general rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to have spare parts on hand for those that are most often in need of replacement).

Storage
Be sure to store your small engine equipment somewhere clean and dry—ideally, a garage or shed that offers protection from rain, snow, and other winter elements. For additional protection, consider covering your mower with a tarp to block out possible moisture. Moth balls also help protect against pests that could nest inside the engine, while removing the battery and storing it in a warm, indoor location could help extend performance life.

Summary
By taking care of cleaning and maintenance tasks before the winter season, you can build a regular routine that will help you greatly extend the life of your small engine equipment. From fuel to filters, blades to belts—your small engine equipment will thank you for the effort you put in, saving you a substantial amount of work in the spring.

You May Also Enjoy These Articles:

Engine Oil Maintenance

5 Reasons Pre-Mixed Fuel is Best

How to Mix the Correct Ratio of Fuel and Oil

Spark Plug Maintenance

Lawn Mower Maintenance

Fall Lawn Care Tips

Why Weingartz?

Weingartz, family owned and operated, began in 1945 as a farm supply store for local Michigan families. In the 1970s, we began to focus exclusively on outdoor power equipment. Over time, we morphed into the “power equipment superstore” that now defines all of our locations. The staff and experts at Weingartz work diligently to provide the best service possible and give honest and helpful advice to each and every customer.

Weingartz also sells parts for all outdoor power equipment at https://weingartz.com/parts-lookup.


Weingartz
5436 Jackson Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
(734) 239-8200
info@weingartz.com

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https://www.facebook.com/WeingartzLawnToSnow

https://twitter.com/Weingartz

http://pinterest.com/MrWeingartz


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Shop Parts New Equipment

A surging Honda water pump

Q.  My Honda water pump is surging. Any idea what could be causing this?

A.  Check to see if your strainer is clogged. The best way to eliminate debris collecting around the strainer is to set the strainer in a submerged bucket. It could also be that the suction hose is too long or small in diameter. Always use the shortest suction hose possible and keep hose diameter equal or greater than the pump’s suction port. If this does not fix the problem, stop by Weingartz or your local dealer to have a service technician diagnose the issue.

Replacement Edger Blade

Q: I went to replace my edger blade and the new one is twice as long as the one I’m replacing. Can that be right?

A: Yes. Unlike lawnmower blades that have the edges dull as they are used, edger blades wear from the friction at the ends of the blade. It is common for customers to bring us a 4” blade that started out 9” long. As the blade shortens, it makes the edging job more cumbersome because it will work slower with that worn down blade. Replacing the blade on an edger is an easy and inexpensive way to improve its performance.

Disconnect The Spark Plug Before Doing Maintenance

Q: I heard somebody say once that you should disconnect the spark plug before you change your mower blade. Why?

A: Probably the most important safety precaution that you can take when doing your own repairs or maintenance on a lawnmower is to disconnect the spark plug wire before you do anything else. This is especially true when doing anything with the mower blade. Mowers start by centrifugal force that turns the crankshaft (where the blade is attached) until a spark is created that starts the combustion process. Sometimes it doesn’t take much movement in the blade to start the process and you don’t want to be anywhere near that mower blade if the engine turns over.

To disconnect the spark plug, simply remove the rubber “boot” that connects the spark plug to the wire and turn it so the back of the boot is facing the spark plug.

Snow thrower not throwing as far?

Q: I have a Toro snow blower that has started on the first pull every time for 10 years. However, it does not seem to throw the snow as far as it used to. Is there some type of routine maintenance that should be done to improve performance?

A: There are a couple of things to check to resolve this issue:

  • Check the wear on the paddles. Toro snow blowers have a wear mark on the paddles (it is a small pinhole). If it’s worn past that mark, it’s time to replace the paddles. The gap on the paddles and the auger housing should be very tight. If the gap is not tight, the snow blower won’t pick up as much snow and throw it as far.

  • Check the wear on the scraper bar. The scraper bar on the bottom of the housing serves as a protection for the housing and will also aid in picking up the snow.

  • Also check the belt wear and tension. Depending on the model of Toro snow blower, there may be a cable that connects to the auger engagement handle. This handle might have different positions for the cable to connect to, thus making the cable and belt tension tighter. You can also remove the side plate of the snow blower to access the belt and check for tension and wear.


Why Weingartz?

Weingartz, family owned and operated, began in 1945 as a farm supply store for local Michigan families. In the 1970s, we began to focus exclusively on outdoor power equipment. Over time, we morphed into the “power equipment superstore” that now defines all of our locations. The staff and experts at Weingartz work diligently to provide the best service possible and give honest and helpful advice to each and every customer.

Weingartz also sells parts for all outdoor power equipment at https://weingartz.com/parts-lookup.

Weingartz
46061 Van Dyke Ave.
Utica, MI 48317
(586) 731-7240
info@weingartz.com

Connect With Us!

https://plus.google.com

https://www.facebook.com/WeingartzLawnToSnow

https://twitter.com/Weingartz

http://pinterest.com/MrWeingartz

 

Sign up for our electronic monthly newsletter for discounts and money-saving tips.