How to Properly Winterize Your Power Equipment

When the colder weather blows in, it’s often time to put away such outdoor power equipment as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and trimmers, and get out snow throwers, generators and other small-engine equipment.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, offers seven questions to help home and business owners prepare for this seasonal change.

“Good maintenance means equipment will be in great shape when spring arrives and you want to tackle landscaping projects again,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “Now is also the time for snow thrower and generator maintenance and reviewing safe handling procedures so you’re ready when the snow arrives.”

1. Do you know how to use your equipment properly? Review owner’s manuals for equipment. Re-familiarize safe handling procedures and required maintenance needs. If you lost your manual, you can usually find it online.

2. Does any of your equipment need servicing? Before storing equipment, clean and service it or take it to a small engine repair shop. Drain and change engine oil and dispose of old oil safely. Service the air filter, and other maintenance activities as directed by your service manual. Check all winter equipment coming out of storage and see what maintenance and repairs are required.

3. Are batteries fully charged? Remove and fully charge any batteries before storage or to ready your winter equipment for a sudden, unexpected weather event.

4. Have you drained the fuel tank in stored equipment? Unused gas left in tanks over the winter can go stale. It can even damage your equipment. For equipment you’ll store over the winter, add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, then run the equipment to distribute it. Turn the engine off, allow the machine to cool, then restart and run until the gas tank is empty.

5. Is equipment properly sheltered from winter weather? Store spring and summer equipment in a clean and dry place such as a garage, barn or shed. Winter equipment should also be kept away from the weather elements, but available for use when needed. Always keep outdoor power equipment out of the reach of children.

6. Is your yard tidy and free of debris? Clear the paths regularly used, especially during winter. Make space in your garage or basement before the weather changes, so you have room to store larger yard items, like patio furniture, umbrellas and summer toys.

7. Have you found and prepared your gas can? Always know the appropriate fuel needed. Most outdoor power equipment was designed, built and warranted to run on ten percent or less ethanol fuel. Buy the type of fuel recommended by your equipment manufacturer. Fuel goes stale and will need to be replaced if you have not used it within 30 days. Use a fuel stabilizer if recommended by your manufacturer.

Get more information on safe fueling for outdoor power equipment at and find additional safety tips at

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