Expert Tips and Care for Your Equipment

Why Won’t my Equipment Start or Run Smoothly this Spring

If you want your old trusty mower to start back up in the spring, after several months in hibernation?
Then properly preparing it for winter storage is crucial.

Here are 4 common mistakes to avoid this when storing your equipment for the off season.

1.) NOT Removing Old Fuel from the Gas Tank and adding fresh Stabilized non ethanol fuel.

Leaving untreated fuel in your gas tank during winter is practically a death sentence for your lawn mower’s fuel system. The gas will begin to go stale, corrode, and form gummy deposits in the fuel tank, carburetor, fuel lines, and fuel filter. So, your safest bet for long-term storage (more than 90 days) is to use fresh , stabilized non ethanol fuel in your mower.

Gums rapidly form in the fuel tank and fuel delivery systems as ethanol fuels age.  However, ethanol is also a powerful solvent that will strip away and disperse this build-up back into the fuel as large, performance-robbing particles.  This leads to clogged filters, injectors and carburetors. Common mixing Jets in carburetors are smaller than a human hair.



Ethanol also attracts moisture from the atmosphere, forming an ethanol/water solution mixed in the gasoline.  E-10 fuel will naturally hold .5% water in suspension, but when water levels exceed this threshold, or when the fuel cools significantly, the water/ethanol mix drops out of suspension. This is phase separation.  

Excessive water in the fuel tank causes engines to run rough, stall, and can lead to internal damage to engine components, as well as corrosion in metal based Carburetors and fuel tanks.

Ethanol provides a significant amount of the fuel’s octane, so when the ethanol/water solution separates and drops to the bottom of the tank, the remaining fuel is left without enough octane to properly operate the engine.  Additionally, the ethanol/water solution can become partially combustible, which can lead to engine damage.


In older machines ethanol can attack the rubber components causing them to swell leak and break down, clogging fuel passages or creating air leaks and causing diaphragm fuel pump systems to fail.  


Over a short period of time ethanol fuel begins to break down.  As ethanol and other components evaporate, the fuel loses octane and becomes “stale”.  This causes hard starts, pinging, and engine knock, which robs your engine of power and can cause damage.

Ethanol fuel does not produce as much energy as traditional fuel.  This results in inefficient combustion, decreased performance, reduced throttle response and poor fuel economy

Leaving Stabilized fuel in your system helps prevent rust and corrosion in metal tanks, and if you empty your system and don’t get it 100% dried out the tiniest bit of fuel can dry out leaving the additives behind to clog things.



2.) NOT Draining the Carburetor Fuel Bowl

Drain Carb Fuel Bowl

You’ve done a good deed by replacing the fuel in the fuel tank, but a small amount of the old fuel still remains in the carburetor fuel bowl. Get that old stuff out! Water from condensation from the seasons use may be in your Carburetor along with fine dust and debris so Drain and clean fuel bowl so that old gas won’t deteriorate, gum-up, and damage your carburetor.


3.) NOT Disconnecting the Battery

Disconnect Battery

Even with the machine off, a small amount of juice can still be sucked from the connected battery on your riding mower and zero turn. This is often referred to as Vampire Power (Standby Power). When storing your equipment for long periods of time, disconnect the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. It will help decrease the rate of the battery’s discharge. A completely discharged battery can also freeze and leak out the acid causing severe corrosion on many components.

*Important Tip: Recharge batteries once a month to keep the juices flowing.


4.) NOT Changing the Oil

Change Oil

So why would you want to change the oil before storage? First of all, old used oil contains contaminants and can actually form carbonic acid that you definitely don’t want sitting in your engine for three or more months. Secondly, it also gives you a head start on next spring’s tune-up, ensuring your engine is properly lubricated from the start.

If you need help with the any of the above come see Robert at Buffalo Small Engines and we will get you back up and running.



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