J and J Small Engine Blog

RSS Grab J&J Small Engine Clinic Blog Feed

How to Store Equipment Away for Long Term, Like Winter

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 13, 2011

As 2011 draws to a close many of our customers will be storing their STIHL products for the season. Fuel-related problems are among most common issues that STIHL customers have.

Now Let's Talk About Gasoline

The gasoline we buy at the pump is not the same as what we bought 10 years ago. Gasoline is a complex chemical soup that must meet standards set by the EPA regarding the pollution created when the fuel is used in an internal combustion engine. Nearly all the fuel sold today has at least 10% ethanol added. The primary use of gasoline today is for licensed vehicles used on public roads, like cars and trucks. Today the majority of these vehicles are fuel injected with a computerized engine management system that tunes and adjusts the engine to the fuel as the vehicle is being operated. The fuel companies blend this fuel to meet EPA standards for these vehicles.

Today's gasoline is even blended differently by region and at different times of the year to help with cold and hot starting in your car or truck. It is expected that gasoline delivered to a gas station will be sold and used within two or three weeks.

Most small engines manufactured today, for lawn and garden applications as well as small outboards and recreational vehicles, still use carburetors to mix the fuel with the air for the engine to run. The challenge for small engine manufacturers has been to build their products to operate properly on gasoline blends that keep changing. This has lead to such things as materials compatibility. Here is an example: take an engine that is a few years old and ran fine last season, but now will not start. When the unit is evaluated by a service technician at the dealership, they may find that the fuel line was found to be hard and brittle and had crumbled away, or it may have become soft and spongy and simply collapsed so no fuel can flow through it.

In some cases the carburetor itself may be damaged by the fuel, clogging jets or damaging rubber or polymer components that the fuel comes into contact with. They may swell or shrink, causing problems that prevent the machine from running correctly. It is easy to blame some of these problems on the ethanol that is mandated by the EPA to be added to most fuels, but there may be other additives in the fuel that could be a cause of these problems as well, especially in older machines.

Available Options

So what should you do to make sure your small engine will start when you want it to? There are some options available. They may require spending more money on fuel, or more time in preparing the machine for off-season storage, but the cost of not doing these things will be down time and a repair bill to correct the problems.

STIHL continues to make changes to the polymers and the carburetors used on current products to help prevent this sort of thing from happening. We do have some recommendations to help prevent starting problems for anyone with a small air cooled engine equipped with a carburetor, regardless of how old it is.

The most important thing you can do is buy name brand (89 or higher) octane fuel. The reason is that name brand fuel (Shell, EXXON, BP, CITGO, etc.) is blended more consistently and should be fresher and of a higher quality than fuel bought at a retailer with no brand on the pump.

Only buy enough fuel to last you a month at a time. The shelf life of today's gasoline is not as long as it was in years past. Fuel does "go bad" over time and will change color and eventually have a sour odor. This can happen much faster if the fuel container is open to the atmosphere, as in some older gas cans that do not seal out the air.

Some older gas cans have a little plastic vent that you would open to allow the fuel to pour out, and often it will break off and the oxygen in the air can get inside the gas can and start a process called "oxidation" that will rapidly degrade the fuel. Always use a clean fuel container and consider buying a new one that has a positive sealing dispensing cap and an automatic vent.

In high humidity areas, the ethanol additive in the gasoline will rapidly absorb moisture from the air and "phase separation" can occur. This will cause the water and ethanol to settle at the bottom of the container. When the can is tipped up to fill the tank, the water and ethanol will flow into your machine's fuel tank possibly causing a non-start condition. In a worst case scenario, this can actually ruin the carburetor or even cause internal damage to the engine.

Do not use a "winter"-blended gasoline you bought in January in June, as it may cause lean running, vapor lock, hard-starting and could also lead to internal engine damage.

Another suggestion that you might consider is to add a fuel stabilizer, such as STABIL. Be sure whatever brand you buy does not have any alcohol in it. A fuel stabilizer will not fix old gasoline but it does help lock down the chemistry of fresh gasoline so if it does sit in your gas can for a month or two, it should still burn properly when you use it. But remember that adding a fuel stabilizer does not make your gasoline last forever, just longer than it would without a stabilizer added. Some two-cycle engine oils have stabilizers as part of their chemistry, which makes it convenient to have a stabilizer in the mix.

Use a dedicated two-cycle fuel can. If you have a two-stroke engine such as a chain saw, leaf blower, or trimmer, use a fuel can just for two-cycle mix, and label it clearly. We suggest using the best quality oil from the manufacturer of your particular machine, and put the oil in the can before you add the gasoline so that it mixes better and there is no chance of forgetting to add it later.

Another option is to buy pre-packaged fuel for your two-stroke equipment. STIHL markets MotoMix® which is a 92 octane fuel with synthetic oil already added at a 50:1 ratio, and there is no alcohol of any kind present. Additionally this fuel will remain stable and useable for up to two years after the seal on the container is broken as long as the cap remains tightly sealed. While this option is more expensive up front, the payoff will be no downtime or repair bills down the road. This may be a good idea for someone that uses their equipment only occasionally, like a homeowner, fire department, rescue squad or farmer.

Prepare it for long term storage. Finally, no matter what gasoline you use, the most important thing to do when a machine is going to sit for any length of time, say over three or four weeks, is to actually run it out of fuel. Carefully drain the fuel out of the tank if it is not near empty, and save that fuel or dispose of it properly. Now start the engine and let it run at idle until the engine runs out of gas and stops. Don't rev the machine, just let it idle. This will do more than anything else to help mitigate starting problems the next time the machine is put into service. There will always be a little gasoline left in the carburetor, so this is why it would be best if the gasoline had some stabilizer in it, or for a two-stroke, a product like MotoMix®.

Remember, selection of fuel and proper mixing is your responsibility. Use a name-branded fuel and two-cycle mix, and follow the information above. Your machine should be ready when you are. If you have questions, contact us by calling 774-987-9399 to speak with our experienced technicians.

Mow Your Lawn with a No Gas, No Oil, and No Emission Lawn Mower - North Attleboro

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, August 27, 2011

There are lots of people who like to get a new lawn mower in the fall. If you are one of those people, you need to look at the Toro e-Cycler lawn mower. This electric lawn mower is the perfect mower for those who want to try and go a little greener in their lives.

This is the greenest of the recycler lawn mowers. With no gas, no oil and no emissions, you can go cordless and get Green! Introducing the NEW e-Cycler battery powered lawn mower. No more gas, oil and virtually no maintenance. Just plug in and power-up, un-plug and mow.

This Toro power lawn mower is a new extension to Toro's most popular Recycler® Series walk power mowers. The Recycler Series is known for their superior mulching performance and reliability. You can go green and improve the quality of your lawn by easily mulching in the clippings. But the e-Cycler also easily converts to bagging. This green lawn mower mulches grass just like the Toro gas-powered mowers.

Get e-mail notifications of new blog posts! Enter email address below.

Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts


hand-held power tools small engine repair air filter service north attleboro gas powered tools, MA electric mowers, MA back pack leaf blowers mower tune up, MA power equipment repair, North Attleboro, MA zero turn mower lawn mower tune up, MA economical snow blowers, MA, RI gas for snow blowers, North Attleboro, MA generac generator, MA engine won't start care of lawn mowers, North Attleboro small gas engine repair, North Attleboro, MA new snowblowers, North Attleboro, MA aerators, North Attleboro leaf blower service, MA leaf blower service tighten the chain ethanol free fuel, MA electric drill ethanol free gas lawn tools, North Attleboro small engine parts hedge trimmers wet/dry vacuum small engine service, North Attleboro, MA two stage snowblowers, North Attleboro, MA sprocket nose bar women and power tools, North Attleboro snow removal commercial generators power equipement repair tips for preparing lawn mower for winter storage fall cleanup leaf blower repair, North Attleboro, MA power tools for Father's day gifts, MA problems with lawn equipment, MA handheld leaf blowers STIHL leaf blowers power tool maintenance, MA lawn mower maintenance Toro snow blowers, MA, RI snow blower storage pursh zero turn mowers trenchers Toro Stihl Wrigth North Attleboro MA green lawn mowers snowblower shopping, North Attleboro lawn equipment engine problems, MA standing mowers, MA air filter power tool repairs, MA generac generator backpack sprayer, MA lawn mower blades, North Attleboro, MA standing lawn mowers STIHL blower sprayer, MA buying a snowblower, MA battery powered lawn mowers WRIGHT two stage snow blowers Toro lawn mowers, North Attleboro small snow blowers, MA, RI chain saw Father's day power tools, MA lawn care equipment, MA landscape contractors small engine sales repair service north attleboro ma holiday shopping STIHL brushcutters small engine repair sales services north attleboro jandj small engine clinic toro lawn mowers, MA 2 stage snowblowers STIHL hedge trimmers small engine problems, MA yard equipment, MA preventative maintenance leaf blowers for clearing snow power equipment retailer, North Attleboro standby generators, MA smoking engine, MA power tool parts and service, MA backpack blowers lawn mower batteries, North Attleboro, MA chain saws, MA snowblowers require maintenance, North Attleboro, MA wet-dry vac preparing lawn mower batteries for winter storage, North Attleboro, MA zero emission lawn mowers, MA power tool sales and service, north attleboro generator repairs, MA annual maintenance, MA power tools, north attleboro outdoor power equipment repair and maintenance, North Attleboro, MA power tools sales, MA zere turn mowers generators, North Attleboro Torro zero turn lawn mower beginner power tools, Attleboro TORO Generac generators, MA pressure washer Recycler series power lawn mowers snowblower maintenance, North Attleboro backpack blower sprayer, MA buying a generator small engine repair power hand tools, MA toro snow blowers regular maintenance equipment dealers two-cycle engines right fuel for power tools zero turn lawn mowers, MA small engine repair shops, MA Massachusetts small engine repair servcies north attleboro ma smoking small engine, MA STIHL backpack blower sprayer, MA E10 gas, North Attleboro small engine parts and service, MA lawn mowers leaf blowers, north attleboro leaf blower repairs, MA zero turn lawn mower gas leaf blowers, North Attleboro rototillers, North Attleboro two cycle engines, MA blower sprayer, MA Gasoline-powered tools leaf blower won't start, MA engine parts, North Attleboro ethanol free gasoline generator repair and maintenance, North Attleboro, MA leaf blower power tool service choke outdoor power equipment repair, North Attleboro power tools service, MA new power equipment, MA North Attleboro ethanol free gas, MA small engines Local small engine repair, MA string trimmers, MA pressure washer, North Attleboro spark plugs two cycle engine repairs, MA snowblower two-stroke engines backpack blower, MA outdoor power equipment repair, North Attleboro, MA power tools repair, MA new power tools, Ma lawn mower, MA small engine repairs, MA hedge trimmer, North Attleboro gas powered snowblowers, North Attleboro snow throwers E10 gasoline, North Attleboro power tool service, north attleboro plug in lawn mowers schedule lawn mower maintenance, North Attleboro small engines, MA generators, North Attleboro, MA electric snow blowers standing lawn mowers, MA power tool parts, MA two stage snow blowers, North Attleboro, MA new snowblower electric power tools, MA snow blowers push mower, MA stationary generators, North Attleboro, MA shop vacuum, MA electric chain saw gasoline chain saws locally owned power tool dealer, north attleboro power equipment snow blowers with electric start mower blade needs sharpening, North Attleboro wet vacuum magneto, MA pole pruner lawn mower tune up Attleboro new power tools, North Attleboro wet dry vac gasoline with more than 10% ethanol lawn mower engine problems, MA putting your lawn mower away for winter storage edging, MA preparing your lawnmower, ma blowers, north attleboro outdoor power equipment repair and maintenance, North Attleboro benefits of standing mowers, MA lightweight portable generators, MA power equipement repair and maintenance sawzall, MA outdoor equipment outdoor power equipment, North Attleboro, MA gas snow blowers snow blowers, North Attleboro, MA engine overheating prepare snowblower for storage, North Attleboro snowblower repair, North Attleboro lawn mowers, North Attleboro 2 stage snow blowers, North Attleboro, MA power tool storage Generac portable generators, North Attleboro, MA chain saws snowblower maintenance new lawn mowers, North Attleboro flywheel, MA power tool engine parts carburetor kits yard tool service, MA battery-powered yard equipment snow blower maintenance and repairs gas for small engines, MA lawn mower maintenance, North Attleboro outdoor power tools compact two-stage blower trimmer, North Attleboro lawnmowers, MA solid nose bar new and power tools, North Attleboro seasonal snow blower maintenance, North Attleboro, MA Torro lawn mowers, MA portable generators powerwashers, North Attleboro small engine repairs small machines prune trees mulching lawn mowers, North Attleboro power tools, MA prepare lawn mower for winter storage necessary power tools, Attleboro portable generator repairs, MA common small engine problems snowblower maintenance, North Attleboro, MA lawn mower engine parts, MA maintenance of power tools lawn mower service snowblower needs a tune-up snow blower repair, North Attleboro residential generators smoking small engine leaf blowers, MA power tool maintenance wet vac electric lawn mowers chain saws, North Attleboro outdoor power equipment sales portable generator small engine repair north attleboro ma black friday engines idles wrong STIHL chain saw power tools parts, MA small air cooled engine fall maintenance on lawn mowers, North Attleboro stand by generators, MA hand-held gardening equipment where to buy ethanol free gasoline, MA damage to outdoor power equipment parts, MA recycler lawn mowers, MA small engine repair, MA right fuel for power equipment small engine service outdoor power equipment repair specialist, North Attleboro, MA STIHL auger single stage snowblower, North Attleboro snow blowers, North Attleboro small engine repair, North Attleboro outdoor power equipment leaf blowers, North Attleboro, MA ethanol-free gas, North Attleboro, MA snowblowers, North Attleboro ethanol free gas, North Attleboro, MA single stage snow blowers, North Attleboro, MA lawn care, MA Generac portable generators, North Attleboro leaf blower won't stay running, MA STIHL leaf blowers, north attleboro snowblower maintenance and repairs Stihl snow blower maintenance, North Attleboro, MA power equipment, North Attleboro, MA cordless drill power tools not working, MA small engine service department, MA lawn mower torro lawn mowers wet dry vac, MA sales and service of small engine equipment small engine tune-up, MA Small Engine power tool repair, north attleboro power tools parts and service, MA outdoor power equipment repair North Attleboro ethanol-free gasoline power tool engine parts, MA parts and service for all small engines, North Attleboro Wright lawn mowers portable generators, North Attleboro buy and power tools, North Attleboro power tools maintenance, MA gift ideas, North Attleboro, MA lawn mowers care, MA new snowblower, MA lawn mower repairs, ma yard care equipment, MA STIHL extended reach hedge trimmers regular maintenance, MA new lawn equipment, MA sales and service of power tools tax free weekend, MA power outages snow blower maintenance over seeders, North Attleboro father's day gifts, MA lawn mower storage backpack leaf blowers electric lawn mowers, MA J&J Small Engine Clinic wet dry vacuum snow blowers, MA, RI STIHL power tools chainsaws generators, MA generators single-stage snowblower single stage snowblowers, North Attleboro, MA causes of small engine problems trimmers and brushcutters lawn mower carburetor, ma small engine service, MA small engine equipment small engine tools power tool maintenance, North Attleboro new power tools gas leaf blowers electric hand held leaf blowers, North Attleboro power tool repair wood boring drill small engine parts, North Attleboro, MA wet-dry vacuum portable generators, MA E10 gas service and maintenance or portable generators, North Attleboro, MA sharpen mower blades, MA order small engine parts care of power tools, North Attleboro storing the snow blower fuel-related problems snowblower safety yard tools, MA cordless drill, MA mower blades, MA leaking head gasket ethanol-free gas small engine tune up, MA power tool service, MA power tool repair and maintenance, North Attleboro outdoor power equipment maintenance, North Attleboro new lawn mower, MA outdoor power equipment repair questions, North Attleboro, MA power tool repair, MA 2 stage snow blowers snowblowers, MA Toro snowblowers lawnmower service, North Attleboro lawn mower won't start, MA engine dies lawn equipment, MA drought lawn care, MA circular saw, MA lawn mower maintenance, ma small gas engines shop vac, MA small engine problems gas lawn mowers gasoline Torro lawn mower service power tools power tools, Attleboro filters gas stabilizer, North Attleboro, MA STIHL chain saws air filters preparing a small engine for winter storage, North Attleboro, MA STIHL backpack blowers leaf blower parts, MA snowblower won't start tips for outdoor power equipment, North Attleboro lawn mowers, MA small engine oil lawn mower blade sharpening, MA generator, MA power tools, North Attleboro, MA Local small engine repair lawn care, North Attleboro fuel for engines portable generators, North Attleboro, MA fuel containers bar and chain edgers, MA generator service, MA lawn mower carburetor small engine maintenance, MA small engine parts, MA battery operated electric lawn mowers, MA outdoor power equipment, North Attleboro leaf blower maintenance, MA Attleboro, MA fuel stabilizers snowblowers shop-vac cordless electric lawn mowers, MA engine oil power tools won't start, MA lawnmowers, North Attleboro spring lawn mower maintenance, North Attleboro leaf blowers Generac generators, North Attleboro, MA power tools lawn and garden power tools, North Attleboro 2 stage snowblower, North Attleboro STIHL trimmers wheeled blowers, North Attleboro chain saw FAQs Kipor generators, MA electric leaf blowers, North Attleboro power tools maintenance and repair, North Attleboro lawn mower service, MA STIHL wet dry vac yard equipment won't start, MA Stihl Dealer power tools for women, MA small engines, North Attleboro standing vs sitting lawn mowers, MA standing vs sitting mowers, MA string trimmers EPA standards trimmers, MA small engine maintenance commercial lawn mowers two-stage snow blower ethanol free gasoline, MA snow blowers require maintenance, North Attleboro, MA basic power tools, Attleboro string trimming, MA small engine service department, North Attleboro vacuum hand power tools, MA electric snow blowers, MA, RI STIHL drills power lawn mowers Toro lawn mowers generator service stocking stuffers snowblower tune-up two-stage snow blowers snow blowers, MA