Prepare Your Gas-Powered Yard Equipment for Winter Storage

Close-up-of-lawn-mowerSoon the fall leaves will all been raked, the firewood will be split and stacked and the last of the garden vegetables harvested. Winter will be coming and it’s almost time to store awayyou’re your summer lawn and garden equipment – the lawn mower, weed trimmer, chainsaw, tiller, blower and brush cutter – until next spring. Their time will come again, when the snow melts, but soon they’ll have earned their rest.

Power equipment maintenance

Storing away your yard equipment isn’t a matter of just stashing them in the garage or shed, however. For those tools that are powered with two-stroke engines – the kind that use an oil-and-gas mixture for fuel – a few hours of winterizing maintenance now can help make them ready to start up fast and easy as soon as you need them in the spring. It can also help extend their useful working lives, saving you a lot of money in repair or replacement costs.

Craftsman-trimmerAny motor needs preparation before being stored for months at a time, but equipment with two-stroke engines in particular require special care. The gas/oil mixture, if left in the fuel system, can cause damage to the motor. In addition, the kind of work that this type of equipment does makes them susceptible to rust, jamming and clogged mechanisms and even complete failure – just when you want to get started next spring!

Here’s what you can do to prepare your motorized yard equipment for winter storage:

1. Run the motor until it completely runs out of gas.

2. Remove the spark plug, spray the plug socket with a little lubricant and give the starter cord a couple of pulls. Replace the spark plug. (Do you need a new one? Now is the time!)

3. Grease any parts that the operator’s manual requires.

4. Top off any lube and replace filters as needed.

5. Clean out any old caked-on grass, wood particles, dirt or debris from the working parts. Brush and wipe off the painted surfaces. While cleaning, if you see any chipped paint, now is the time to touch it up to prevent rust from getting a foothold.

6. Remove the chain from chainsaws and blades from brush cutters and, if they’re still in good shape for next year, store them with a light coating of oil in a sealed plastic bag.

7. Prepare some gas/oil fuel mixture, using fresh high-octane gasoline and oil to the proper ratio for the machine and adding a small amount of gas stabilizer (available from an auto supply store). Pour a small amount into the gas tank and run the machine until it runs out of fuel again.

8. Disconnect the spark plug, but leave the plug in place.

9. Store the equipment, upright, in a place where it will be dry and free of dust.


Sound simple? It is, but it will help keep your equipment running smoothly for years longer. It also means that, come spring, your equipment will be ready to go to work for you.

Read and follow instructions in the owner’s manual for any small motor equipment maintenance. In the case of any conflict with the above instructions, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.


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