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Winterizing Your Lawnmower
Winterize Your Lawn Equipment
To winterize your small gasoline
engines there are two different approaches you can take:
winter approaches, it reminds us that it is time to winterize not only
your home and car, but also your gasoline-powered equipment such as
lawn mowers and chain saws.
Winterizing will help extend the life of your small gasoline engines.
Drain the Tank
- Check the owner's manual for
information on draining the fuel system for off-season storage.
If recommended for your specific model, draining the tank will reduce
evaporative emissions that occur during storage, according to the Engine
Manufacturers Association (EMA). EMA is a Chicago based trade
association for manufacturers of engines used in many applications including
ground care equipment.
- If the owner's manual says
the gasoline can removed and it can be done easily, the gasoline should
be carefully drained from the tank (and carburetor, if possible) and
collected in a clean, approved storage container. Any remaining
gasoline in the system can be removed by operating the engine until
it stops. If you want
to make the extra effort, adding a small amount of oil through the spark
plug port also helps winterize an engine.
- The collected gasoline can
be used in your car.
Use a Fuel Stabilizer
- If the gasoline cannot be
easily removed, a gasoline stabilizer should be added to the fuel
in the tank.
To minimize air space in the engine's fuel tank, fill the tank full with
the gasoline/stabilizer mixture. The engine should be operated for
a few minutes to draw the stabilized gasoline into the carburetor. For
added protection you may want to consider taking the time to close the
engine's valves. For engines with hand-pull starters this can be done by
pulling the cord until resistance is felt. Also an effective vapor
barrier can be added by placing a piece of aluminum foil over the
tank cap and then securing the foil with tape.
- Whichever approach is taken,
you should also store your motorized equipment in a cool, dry place that
is well ventilated and out of direct sunlight.
- Either winterizing approach
is the same, regardless of whether you are using reformulated gasoline
or conventional gasoline. Reformulated gasoline meets all the same requirements
for storability as conventional gasoline. Therefore, reformulated gasoline
is just as storable as conventional gasoline.
Why it Is Important to Winterize
is important because gasoline left in an engine's fuel tank and carburetor
can degrade over time. During storage, gasoline can interact with air and moisture
to form gums and deposits. Therefore you should not store gasoline
in the engine's fuel tank for any inactive periods longer than one to
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