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How to Winterize Your 2-Cycle Lawn Equipment

October 16, 2017

WinterTaking care to properly winterize your lawn equipment prior to storing it for the season is an important task you won’t want to skip. Why? Well, failing to winterize your equipment can result in costly damage that will require professional repair.

The alcohol levels in today’s fuel (most gasoline is mixed with 10% ethanol, referred to as E10) can dissolve plastic and rubber parts in the fuel system and attract moisture, which could lead to corrosion and serious damage. Even if your equipment shows no sign of corruption at first, the damage will eventually cause your equipment to fail and ultimately cut short the lifespan of the engine.

Fortunately, prepping your equipment for the offseason isn’t a complicated process. Follow these steps and your lawn equipment will be ready when the sunny days of spring return.

Ready? Let’s Get Started!

2 Cycle Engine Basic Winterizing:

Step 1: Bring any 2-cycle equipment you want to winterize outdoors or at least to a well-ventilated space where you can safely work with gasoline, oil, and your equipment.

Step 2: Wipe any dirt and debris from the fuel cap with a rag or shop towel.

Step 3: Carefully drain the fuel tank into an approved gasoline container, using a clean and dry funnel. Use extreme caution to avoid spilling fuel while pouring.

Step 4: Pour a small amount of pre-mixed oil/fuel into the fuel tank. (We like STIHL MotoMix Fuel.) This will add a protective coating to the fuel system components while stored.

Step 5: Be sure you have all fuel containers closed and cleared away by at least 10 feet, and then start the engine.

Step 6: Run the engine at idle until it stops, run it completely out of fuel.

Step 7: Allow the engine to cool completely before proceeding to any further special steps for the specific piece of equipment you are working with. If you have multiple pieces of 2 cycle equipment that you are winterizing at one time, a smart time-saving move would be to move from one piece of equipment to the next with this first basic step, and circle back to the first piece you did to continue further steps as it should be cool enough to safely work with at that point.

Equipment Specifics: Detail Work

Once you’ve got the very basic engine protection taken care of, you’ll want to follow through with a thorough cleaning and oiling (where necessary) of the rest of the piece. Taking care to properly clean the air filters and exterior housings, as well as cleaning and protecting any blades, will ensure your equipment lasts as long as possible.

Here are some specifics for some of the most common types of 2 cycle engine equipment found in the home:

Lawn Mower

  • Complete the process for winterizing the engine as we covered above. (A high quality fuel stabilizer can be used in lieu of draining the gas completely.)
  • Brush off any grass, sticks, leaves and dirt from the top of the mower. Wipe it down with a damp rag. Remove the mulch bag and rinse it out with the hose (away from the equipment, of course.) and lay it out to dry.
  • Remove any caked on grass from the underside of the deck. Caked on mulched grass can trap moisture, which can not only cause a mold problem, it can also corrode your mower deck.
  • Check the mower over for any excess wear, including any belts, cables, and the mower deck. Make note of anything that looks like it is on it’s way out and plan to replace it before storing – or put it on your list for spring.
  • Remove and sharpen the blades. A dull blade shreds and tears your grass instead of cutting it, leaving a ragged lawn that is stressed and more prone to disease. You can sharpen the blade yourself, or if you prefer, bring it to us—we’ll sharpen it for you.
  • Remove the air filter and replace or clean it, depending on its condition. Dirt and clogs in the air filter will make your lawnmower work harder than necessary, not to mention the potential for damage to the engine over time.

String Trimmer

  • Once you’ve completed the basic steps outlined above, you’ll want to clean the trimmer before storing it. Start with removing and thoroughly cleaning the cutting attachment and then re-attaching it. Brush any stuck on grass bits off; caked-on mulched grass can begin to mold while on your machine if stored for an extended time and possibly exposed to any dampness.
  • After cleaning the business end of the trimmer, you’ll want to wipe down the powerhead, ensuring it’s clear of any grease, grime, and dust.
  • Following the manufacturer’s directions from your trimmer’s manual or manufacturer’s website, clean or replace the air filter.
  • Store the string trimmer in a secure, dry place away from the reach of children.

Hedge Trimmer

  • Complete the basic 2 cycle engine winterizing steps outlined above. After you’ve done this, you’ll want to clean the hedge trimmer before storing it away for the winter. Begin by carefully cleaning the trimmer blades. We highly recommend wearing leather work gloves for this step!
  • Once the blades have been wiped clean, coat them with a resin solvent – we recommend STIHL Resin Solvent spray. This will remove dust, dissolve any residual resin, lubricates and protects the blades from corrosion.
  • Wipe the powerhead part of the trimmer clean, removing any dust, dirt, and grease that may be built up on the body.
  • Following the manufacturer’s directions from your trimmer’s manual or manufacturer’s website, clean or replace the air filter.
  • Place a scabbard (cover) on the blade to further protect the blade while in storage, and to protect anyone that may accidentally come into contact with the blade.
  • Store the trimmer in a secure, dry place away from children.

Chainsaw

  • Follow the basic 2 cycle engine winterizing steps as above. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to clean and oil.
  • Carefully remove the saw chain and clean the guide bar thoroughly. Use extreme caution when working with the saw chain portion!
  • Using a groove tool specific to your chainsaw, clean inside the guard rail, being sure the oil holes are all clear.
  • Add oil to the bar and chain oil reservoir to keep it from drying out as it sits in storage and use a corrosion-inhibiting oil to lubricate the guide bar and saw chain to prevent rust.
  • Wipe down the powerhead and fuel/oil cap areas to clear them of any dust, dirt, or debris.
  • Following the manufacturer’s directions from your chainsaw’s manual or manufacturer’s website, clean or replace the air filter.
  • Store the saw in a secure, dry space away from children, preferably in a carrying case.

If you aren’t up to the task of winterizing, bring your 2 cycle lawn equipment to one of the top-rated repair shops in Edmonton. Performing these routine maintenance tasks before the long, cold days of winter arrive can help your equipment run it’s best for years to come.

Schedule your service with Timberland Supply today!