Plan now to winterize power tools

Published 8:48 pm Saturday, September 12, 2009

Now that summer is winding down and it’s almost time to mow the lawn for the last time of 2009, residents should start thinking about winterizing their equipment.

Preparing to store equipment for the winter is an essential part of caring for it, Dorsey Ficklin, a product support specialist at White Oak Equipment in Suffolk, said.

“First things first, go ahead and empty all the fuel out of it,” Ficklin said. The new ethanol in fuel means it should not be stored longer than three weeks, Ficklin said.

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“You certainly don’t want fuel sitting around because it’s breaking down a lot easier,” he said. Fuel left in a mower or other small engine can clog the carburetor and other parts, Ficklin said.

“Once it starts gumming up there, you either have to clean up the carburetor or replace it,” Ficklin added.

Also before storing their equipment for the winter, owners should wash it thoroughly, especially the underside of mowers, and then dry it. Any wet grass clippings or water on the metal will cause it to rust, Ficklin said. The equipment also should be stored in a dry, enclosed place where rain and snow cannot blow in.

Owners willing to take a few extra steps can spray lubricant on the cables within the equipment to keep them from rusting or sticking during the winter, Ficklin said. People also can do a tune-up kit on their equipment every few years, changing spark plugs, air filters and other parts to ensure the equipment remains running smoothly.

“That’s a good time to go ahead and replace those,” Ficklin said. “When spring comes, all they have to do is fuel it up and run with it.”