Now that winter is almost here, it is time to think about preparing your yard equipment for the cold temperatures. Your outdoor power tools, lawn mower, string trimmer and other outdoor equipment will last much longer and operate more efficiently if you put in a little bit of time to winterize them. Clean them and prepare them now so you won’t have to worry about them powering back up once spring rolls around.
Consider what happens to a tool that is idle throughout the winter while holding oil inside. The oil turns thick and sludgy, causing the engine to operate poorly. Do not put your yard equipment at risk by leaving oil inside for the winter months. Drain the oil by unscrewing the plug that keeps the oil in and tip the device over into a pan. Drain all of your tools in a similar manner. You can bring the dregs to your local hazardous waste facility or recycling center.
Maintenance Basics for the Winter
At the end of the summer and fall you should take a close look at your yard equipment. Perform a general inspection for any missing nuts, screws and other parts. Replace anything that is excessively worn or missing. All machine gas caps should have their O-rings in place to keep the tank sealed and prevent fuel from collecting dust or other impurities. If you find that a machine’s gas cap is cracked, reach out to the manufacturer to find out how to get a replacement.
Replace the Fuel Filter
Do not let your fuel filter become dirty and make the engine work overly hard to draw gasoline. You can easily replace a dirty fuel filter without too much time or effort. Bend 6 inches or so of a metal coat hanger in a curving fashion. Once it forms a hook, reach it into your machine’s fuel tank to get the fuel line. Pull off the filter as it hangs from the end and install another.
The spark plugs of gas powered tools function by igniting the air and fuel mixture to catalyze the engine’s operation. Spark plugs get dirty each time you use the machine, so do not let them sit for the entire winter. Remove spark plugs with a socket wrench, use a brake spray cleaner to spray the ends and then take off the dark pieces with a rigid brush. If you find that the plugs are excessively dirty and too difficult to clean, you can replace them for a couple bucks each.