For many Iowans, it’s time to prep the snowblower and retire the lawn mower for the winter. Jeff Bartos runs a repair shop for small engines in Omaha/Council Bluffs and says Iowans should follow a few guidelines when winterizing their equipment. Bartos says to clean up the lawn mower before storing it.
“Make sure the mower deck is all cleaned out at the bottom,” he says. “We recommend using stabilizer in the fuel. Once you put that stabilizer in there, run it for about 15 minutes so the stabilizer is in the carburetor and it should be good for the wintertime after that.” Bartos says it’s not a good idea to empty the gas tank before putting your mower in the shed for winter.
He says, “If the gas tank is empty and it’s metal, it can condensate and get water in there, so by leaving it with a full tank of gas with the stabilizer, you should be good for all winter that way.” Once the warm weather returns, Bartos says there are a few things to do before using the mower for the first time.
Now in the spring, you should drain the old gas out and put fresh gas in before trying to start the mower, but he says, that’s all you really have to do on trimmers, chainsaws and leaf blowers. If your machine is a four-cycle mower, Bartos says there’s no need to drain the oil before storing it. He says it can cause big problems if you forget to add new oil in the spring.
“I’ve seen people make the mistake, they drain it out and forget to put oil back in it in the springtime and they ruin their machines,” Bartos says. “The best thing to do is leave the oil alone and in the springtime start it up and let it run for a few minutes, then change it. Then you are good for the summertime.” When spring arrives, check the filters and spark plug to make sure your equipment is in good running condition for the season ahead.