SHREVEPORT, La. - Bears aren't the only things that hibernate over the winter. For many across the country, the first cold snap means the seasonal retirement of lawn and garden equipment for many months. Improperly stored, hibernating lawn and garden equipment can break down and even potentially become dangerous when brought out for first use in the spring time.
To solve and prevent these problems, TruFuel has compiled five tips that will save homeowners headache months later.
1. Before Storing For Fall/Winter, Thoroughly Clean Equipment
As with any tool, it's important to thoroughly clean your equipment after each use. In particular, when storing outdoor power equipment for months at a time, it's important to pay attention to crevices where debris may build up and corrode parts.
2. Find a Proper Space for Storage
- For Chain Saws: Remove the chain cover and brush away all the wood chips and sawdust that have collected over the spring and summer.
- For Edgers and Trimmers: Clean out all grass, debris and dirt that may have built up in cutting line head, debris deflector and cutting guard.
- Hedge Trimmer: Clean the cutting blades, free them of any debris and spray the blades with a high-quality lubricant.
- Mower: Clear any clippings from the blade and mower deck with a scraper, brush and compressed air.
3. Protect Metal Surfaces Prone to Rust and Corrosion
- If possible, avoid storing tools at or below freezing temperatures. Freezing temperatures can cause metal and plastic parts to become brittle and more susceptible to breakage.
- Avoid storing near items that may damage equipment if spilled, such as solvents, pool chemicals, fuels or fertilizers.
- Store equipment out of children's reach and in a position where no sharp edges can cause accidental injury.
Rust and corrosion can bind up machinery, decreasing performance and at worst making operation of power equipment dangerous.
4. Protect Your Power Equipment's Internal Parts
- Where possible, store equipment indoors, in a low humidity environment that's free of moisture.
- Apply a high-quality lubricant to all machined surfaces and moving parts to keep rust and corrosion from forming.
The inside of your outdoor power equipment is just as important as the external surfaces though they are often neglected.
5. Inspect and Treat the Fuel and Oil Systems
- Prevent internal surfaces from corrosion by adding a small amount of 10w-30 synthetic oil.
- For Four-Stroke Engines: Remove the spark plug and put approximately one capful of oil in the cylinder head.
- For Two-Stroke Engines: Remove the spark plug, add approximately half a cap of oil in cylinder head.
- After adding the oil, replace the spark plug (without reconnecting the wire) and turn the engine over or pull the starter cord gently a couple of times to cycle the engine and distribute the lubricant.
Fuel and oil are two of the most important areas to be concerned with when storing your outdoor power equipment. Damaged or deteriorated tanks and lines can cause dangerous leaks or spills. The ethanol in typical station gas attracts water from the atmosphere and separates from the fuel, ultimately causing severe damage or ruining small engines altogether.
- Inspect all fuel lines-Rubber fuel lines tend to deteriorate and crack over time, which may cause dangerous fuel leaks.
- Change the engine oil with fresh oil (on applicable equipment)-Old oil contains moisture and acids that cause pitting and deterioration to bearing surfaces.
- Fill the fuel tank to full with a high-quality engineered fuel such as TruFuel-By keeping the tank completely full, it eliminates any room for moisture to accumulate and keeps gaskets from drying out. Normal fuel begins to break down in as little as 30 days, ethanol-free TruFuel is engineered ensure that the fuel stays fresh for years and eliminates the risk of separation.
- If not using TruFuel, drain and burn off all fuel in the equipment-Remove all fuel by draining the fuel tank and running the engine until it dies. Running the engine ensures that all fuel is removed from the carburetor and tank.