Prepare for the storm before it’s here! – Small Engine Preparation Guide

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  1. Michael J. Donovan

    Michael J. Donovan Head Moderator, Online Communities Staff Member
    Messages: 3,951

    Prepare for the storm before it’s here! – Small Engine Preparation Guide

    We’re in the dog days of summer, and that means swimming, barbecues, and unfortunately, severe weather. The generator, pump, chain saw, and other disaster relief equipment you bought in the past might not have been started for a year or more. Are they ready when you are?

    June 1st is the traditional start of the hurricane and severe weather season, but July and August is when these severe weather events increase in number and severity. Having your equipment ready to go can help preserve your property, and possibly even your life.

    Safety First• Remove the spark plug wire prior to performing any service. Also gloves and eye protection are frequently required to safely perform service.
    • Next, check all of the unit’s fasteners, replace any that are missing, and tighten loose fasteners to the manufacturer’s recommended tightness.

    Sharp Cutting Attachments Are Key

    Chain saws and pole trimmers are invaluable for keeping limbs trimmed away from your house before the storm, as well as removing any fallen branches or trees after the storm.

    • Evaluate the condition of any chains or other cutting attachments. If in poor condition, these items will impair performance and can cause injury.
    • It’s often best to leave maintenance of these items to a professional unless you are a very skillful mechanic and instructions for removal, replacement, and sharpening are available.

    Simple Gas Powered Engine Maintenance

    • Perform the simple maintenance procedures from the owner’s manual.
    • Check the oil before starting any small engine that doesn’t use gas/oil fuel mix. Place the product on level ground to avoid false readings. If the oil is low, fill it to the recommended level with the specified oil. Also, while some oil consumption is normal for small engines, now is a good time to check for oil leaks that need to be addressed by a professional.
    • Check the air filter; carefully clean dirt, oil, and debris off the filter cover and the surrounding area before removing the cover. Examine the filter, and if it is dirty, replace or clean it per manufacturer’s instructions.
    • More experienced D.I.Y.’ers might want to change the oil and filter and check the spark plug also.
    • Check to make sure all of these cables and levers operate smoothly. If they don’t, lubricate or replace them.

    Start it up!

    • Now connect the spark plug wire and, following the operator’s manual instructions, fill up the fuel tank with fresh, stabilized fuel, make sure there are no fuel leaks, and start the engine.
    • If the engine doesn’t start, it is often because unstabilized fuel was left in the unit during storage. This stale fuel doesn’t like to burn, and leaves varnish in your carburetor’s small passages and the fuel line. But all is not lost; if stale fuel and a dirty fuel system are the causes of hard starting. Try a product like START YOUR ENGINES!® fuel system revitalizer. These starting fluids/system cleaners can refresh stale fuel and clean muck out of your fuel system just by pouring them into the unit’s fuel tank. It’s an easy and economical way to fix a gunked up engine.
    • If the engine still will not start after trying a fuel system revitalizer, it’s best to get a professional to evaluate the problem.

    Store the engine and extra fuel correctly!

    • Make sure your gas can has air tight closures. This prevents water vapor in the air from fouling your fuel with water and also helps prevent volatility loss so that starting is easier. Fill the fuel can to the maximum safe fuel level as marked on the fuel container. Less air space means less room for water vapor to condense and foul the fuel.
    • When you buy the fuel, stabilize it! Fuel stabilizers like STA-BIL® Brand Fuel Stabilizer prevent the fuel from oxidizes and gumming up your fuel system. Adding fuel stabilizer to your storage cans ensures that you have the freshest fuel possible when you really need it.
    • Make sure that the stabilized fuel is never more than 1 year old. Aging fuel can safely be used in your car in small doses (no more than 5% of the total fuel in the car’s tank) assuming no 2-cycle oil was added.
    • Store the engine’s fuel tank about 90% full of stabilized fuel, this leave less room for water vapor to foul your fuel. Badly fouled fuel can contain so much water that a layer of water develops on the bottom of the tank. This water can permanently damage your engine!

    For more information on STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer, START YOUR ENGINES!® fuel system revitalizer, or other Gold Eagle Co. products, visit or call (800) 367-3245.

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