Winter is upon us, and temperatures in many areas dictate when we can start or finish chores in the garden. This includes storing power lawn tools that we won’t be using for a few months. Winterizing lawn mowers, trimmers, blowers, and other gas or electric-powered equipment helps extend the life of the engines. It’s just as important as storing any other garden tools.
Preparing Power Equipment for Winter
When winterizing gas power tools, there are two options. You may drain the gasoline from the engines or add a stabilizer to the gas. If you have to remove the gas when storing power garden equipment for the season, you can use it in your automobile. Read the equipment manual to learn if gas is meant to be drained or stabilized. Many equipment manuals are available online at the dealer’s sight.
When using the stabilizer, follow the instructions on the container. In most cases, it requires that you fill the tank. Then, operate the machine as instructed to circulate the gasoline mixture into the fuel lines and carburetor. Note: 2-cycle engines already have stabilizers added to the gasoline/oil mixture. Use a piece of aluminum foil as a vapor barrier taped over the tank cap for further protection. You may also add a few drops of oil to the spark plug port to provide further protection in winter.
Don’t forget to empty any unused gasoline that’s left sitting around. As with drained gasoline from power equipment (unless a stabilizer has been added), this can normally be poured into your vehicle for use.
Clean and Maintain Lawn Equipment
When preparing to winterize your lawn equipment, take the time to remove dirt and grass from the mower’s deck and sharpen the blades. You may find it is an appropriate time to change the engine oil and change or clean the filters too. Disconnect batteries to prevent corrosion and clean the terminals.
Electric and gas-powered string trimmers should be cleaned as well. Check the line and replace if needed for next year. Also, clean the string head and sharpen the string-cutting blade if necessary. For gas-powered trimmers, turn on and allow the gas to run out before storing.
You may or may not be using the chainsaw over winter, but it’s a good idea to ensure that’s it’s in tip-top shape should you need it, like for downed or winter damaged trees. It’s normally recommended that you mix high-octane winter fuel and fuel stabilizer rather than plain gas to help protect the engine. Also, check the spark plug and examine the chain for any broken links.
How to Store Power Tools in Winter
Locate your power tools in a cool, dry place for winter. Keep them out of direct sunlight. Find a spot in a building or garage where they will be conveniently out of the way, if possible.
If you don’t have a suitable area for your mower or if it’s in an area where wind-blown rain or snow can get to it (such as an open carport), you should provide some type of cover for it – either one specifically for mowers or secure a tarp around it.
Unplug power trimmers and blowers and store them in a dry place. Store string trimmers by hanging them whenever possible.
Also, be sure to store the disconnected batteries from mowers or other battery-operated tools in a cool, dry place.