How to store power equipment for winter

If your mower is equipped with a Briggs & Stratton engine, as many are, the advice is straightforward. "There's no need to drain gasoline from the engine prior to winter storage if stabilizer is added to the fuel according to its directions," says Steve Lavender, the engine maker's senior director of engineering. Put the stabilizer in the gas can, add fuel, and then pour the fuel into the gas tank.

Problem solved? Not quite. A review of owner's manuals for other engines we've tested indicates a variety of methods for storage. The same manufacturer may have different recommendations depending on how long the machine is kept out of service. For example, one manufacturer advises storage from 30 to 90 days with fresh fuel in the tank, provided that stabilizer is added. The company advises running the engine so the fuel makes its way into the carburetor and then shutting down the engine and closing the fuel valve. Beyond 90 days, it recommends just the opposite: Empty the fuel tank or simply run the machine until it stops.

Some equipment manufacturers recommend running the engine dry and then draining what little fuel remains in the carburetor bowl. Finally, they advise pulling the recoil start handle to position the piston at the top of the cylinder in order to seal the combustion chamber. That will prevent any remaining fuel in the combustion chamber from turning into varnish.

Your owner's manual will also shed light on specifics that aren't related to fuel. Some manufacturers want you to spray fogging oil into the engine to lubricate the cylinder bore before storage. Others say to dribble as much as a half-ounce of clean engine oil into the cylinder through the spark plug hole, then pull the recoil handle several times without starting the engine to distribute the oil over the cylinder wall.

Manufacturers may differ on specifics, but these general tips will help keep all engines healthy.

(1) Clean any machine before storing it. This removes moisture-trapping debris and reduces the possibility that you'll get dirt in the gas tank.

(2) Use the gas-to-oil ratio recommended by the manufacturer for two-stroke equipment such as leaf blowers and chain saws. This reduces engine wear and will make the machine easier to start after storage.

(2) Use the gas-to-oil ratio recommended by the manufacturer for two-stroke equipment such as leaf blowers and chain saws. This reduces engine wear and will make the machine easier to start after storage.

(3) Never use E15 in your outdoor power equipment. If E10 is bad, E15 is worse. In fact, avoid filling your gas can at stations that dispense both through the same nozzle, because there can be E15 residue in the fuel line.

(4) Never store any machine with raw, unstabilized gas in it unless it's packaged fuel, which does not contain ethanol and is sold in steel cans at hardware stores, home centers, and outdoor-power-equipment dealerships.

Staying Up to Date

Mobile Mower Christmas Party!

Why use Ethanol Free Fuel?

Fall is here and winter is not far behind. During this part of the year it's update school time. New and improved technology is coming out, whether that be battery powered products, electronic fuel injection (EFI), or new engines. It can be a job in itself staying abreast of the updated technology in new products. Online courses and several day school hands-on schools are becoming the standard. Every manufacturer has their own way of doing things, which makes keeping up to date with manufacturer practices vital to properly service machines. EFI's can be especially difficult with each manufacturer requiring separate software. Each manufacturer has a different way of navigating through their website and most have a way to achieve expert or master status within their educational system. With 12 manufactures at last count it's a lot to juggle and in the end you will be served best by servicing dealers like Mobile Mower Repair who embrace change and education.

This video explains the different types of gas you can use in your engines and how to properly store your gas during the off-season.

Why Use Ethanol Free Fuel?

How to Prevent Lawn Mower Fires

​Finished Holder for tools on the truck. Great job Stacey!

​Here is Stacey working on a welding project for the truck. ​


Ethanol in gasoline can cause many serious problems to the small engines used on lawn mowers.

Ethanol in gasoline can cause many serious problems to the small engines used on lawn mowers, snow throwers, lawn tractors, generators, chain saws, weed trimmers and other chore performers. 

The ethanol is alcohol and acts as a corrosive to the metal, rubber and steel in carburetors, fuel lines and fuel tanks. It also draws the moisture out of the air that is in your gas can or gas tank and causes water to form with the gas.

Ethanol eats lawn mower parts such as carburetor bodies, rubber seals and gaskets just like battery acid and creates a very serious fire hazard.

In a typical float bowl, fuel enters the carburetor through an inlet hole that is opened and closed by a needle valve that sits on top of a plastic air-filled float. When the engine is running, fuel draws up out the bowl and as the fuel level inside the bowl drops, the float lowers and this drops the needle valve out of the way so more fuel can enter. This is similar to a float valve in a toilet tank that drops when the water leaves the tank to let more water come in.

Over time, the ethanol and water that is drawn from the air damages the needle valve and the seat plugs. The needle can then no longer stop the gas from coming into the carburetor. 

The fuel, which is typically gravity-fed, continues to flow into the carburetor, flooding it and finding its way into the engine cylinder and crankcase. It mixes with the engine oil and can flow into and out of the muffler and air intake. It is very common for a full tank of gas to completely empty into an engine while the machine is sitting idle.

This is extremely dangerous. You can cut your whole lawn with no problems and then put your lawn mower back in the shed or in the garage under your bedroom and a chain of events can follow that can burn down your out building or house. 

Unknown to you, when you park the machine, the needle valve may not be completely seated in its valve seat and the fuel begins to flow from the tank into the engine, just like a toilet that continues to run after flushing. 

The fuel, pushed by gravity, flows to the area of least resistance and can come out of the carburetor, the muffler and the breather. This builds up extremely flammable vapors and a spark or heat source can ignite it and start a full-blown fire.

You can eliminate this particular hazard by installing, and more importantly, using an inexpensive fuel shutoff valve. This hazard is well known by engine and equipment manufacturers and some newer machines will come with built in fuel shutoff valves, but many don’t. Lawn mowers safety tips

For safety, and to extend the life of your carburetor, we recommend you do the following:

- Add Briggs and Stratton fuel stabilizer to your gas can each fill up

at the gas station. 

This prevents gas from going stale (which it normally does after

30 or more days) and prevents water from forming in the gas.

Be sure that all of your fuel containers are properly sealed and

stored so that they can’t be contaminated by water or dirt.

- Use your machine’s existing fuel shutoff valve. You can also

install a fuel shutoff to be able to run the carburetor out of gas

between each use.

- Replace the fuel line every year or two. Doing so will prevent

the hazard caused by rotten fuel line leaking or sending rotten

rubber particles into the carburetor.

- Allow the engine to cool off before refilling with gasoline. This may seem obvious, but taking this preventive measure is a necessity.

- Smell for fresh gasoline. If you smell fresh gasoline on your machine or in its storage area, roll the machine outside. Once you’ve done this, you can either empty the gas or call us for service.

- Inspect your carburetor. If your engine spews liquid out of the muffler when starting or begins to falter and smoke when running, your carburetor may have failed and needs to be inspected and repaired. If the gas has mixed with the oil, you may think it is just oil leaking, but it can be the oil and gas mixed. Do not use until you've identified and corrected the problem, and do not store the machine indoors.

- Watch your oil level. If the level of your gas tank drops while the engine is at rest or you see that the level of your engine oil has risen or you can smell gasoline on your oil dipstick, do not use the machine until it can be repaired and do not store the machine inside.