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Fix-It Chick: Winterize equipment to make it last

December 5, 2011

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Winterizing small gas-powered equipment before storing it away for the season can extend the life of the equipment and reduce engine problems in the spring.

Step 1: For two-cycle engines (engines that use an oil and gas mixture), drain the oil-gas mixture from the tank by removing the cap and tipping the equipment over a suitable container. Pour the gas into the container, and as the tank finishes draining, press the engine’s primer bulb a few times. This will allow any excess fuel mixture remaining in the primer bulb to drain out also.

Step 2: For four-cycle (straight gas) engines, simply start the motor and allow the equipment to idle until all of the gas is used and the tank is dry. Or use a hand pump to siphon the fuel out and into an appropriate container. Never tip a four-cycle piece of equipment to drain the gas out. Another option is to drain the fuel out by placing the equipment up on blocks. Set a container beneath the fuel tank, remove the fuel cap and disconnect the fuel line from the tank. Allow the gas to flow out into the container; then reattach the fuel line.

Step 3: Once the fuel has been drained from each piece of equipment, replace the gas cap, choke the engine and attempt to start the engine a few times to burn off any remaining fuel.

Step 4: Remove the spark plug, wipe it clean and add a teaspoon or less of motor oil into the spark plug socket. Pull the starter rope a couple of times to turn the motor over. This will lubricate the top of the cylinder. Replace the spark plug and tighten it into place.

Step 5: Remove the air filter and clean it. For paper filters, use compressed air to blow the dirt out or tap the filter on a hard service. Clean foam filters in warm, soapy water and allow them to dry completely. After cleaning, foam filters should be soaked in oil and wrung out. The oil will keep small dust particles from clogging the filter.

Step 6: Replace the filter, wipe down the body and underside of the equipment and store it away for the winter.

Dispose of clean gas by adding it to an automobile’s fuel tank or take it and any oil/gas mixture to your local household hazardous waste facility.

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