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Frequently Asked Questions

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End-of-Season Maintenance

How can I properly prepare my engine for storage?

Engines are built to run. But many small engines are only used seasonally and sit idle for long periods. Long-term storage can aggravate overlooked problems, and other problems can develop. For example, unstabilized gas left in an engine can gum up a carburetor, unlubricated engine parts can corrode, and moisture can accumulate in the ignition system. With proper storage preparation, you can avoid most such problems. If you plan to store your engine for more than 30 days:

Drain the gasoline
Drain The Gasoline

Untreated gasoline that's allowed to stand for over a month may form a varnish on the inside of the fuel tank, carburetor, and other fuel system components. Draining the gasoline reduces varnish problems.

Please be aware that even when the gasoline is drained or run "dry", small amounts of fuel will remain in the fuel system. If the fuel is untreated, this small amount of fuel can still lead to problems. Whether the fuel is drained or run dry, it is recommended that stabilized fuel should be run in the engine until it is warm to ensure that treated fuel is circulated throughout the entire fuel system. Please note: The Environmental Protection Agency recommends adding the drained gasoline to your car's gas tank, provided your car tank is fairly full. Once diluted, old gasoline will not harm your car engine.

Another way to protect against the varnishing effects of stale fuel is to add a gasoline stabilizer such as Briggs & Stratton Advanced Formula Fuel Treatment & Stabilizer to your fuel before storage. This allows fuel to safely remain in the fuel system and helps prevent gaskets and seals from drying out.

Change the oil
Change the Oil

Changing the Oil will prevent particles of dirt in the oil from adhering to engine parts (see "Checking & Changing Oil").

Seal the fuel tank
Seal The Fuel Cap

Your small engine emits small amounts of fuel vapor into the air - even when it's not running. To reduce emissions during storage, cover the vented fuel cap with aluminum foil and secure it with an elastic band.

Lubricate internal parts
Lube Internal Parts

Injecting oil through the spark plug hole is an easy way to lubricate the cylinder. Pour a couple ounces of engine oil into the spark plug hole. Then, spread it throughout the cylinder by reattaching the spark plug and slowly pulling the rewind.

Inspect the spark plug
Inspect Spark Plug

Clean and regap the spark plug or replace it, as necessary (see "Servicing the Spark Plug").

Service the air cleaner
Service Air Filter

This step can extend the life of the air filter and improve engine performance next season. (see "Servicing the Air Filter").

Sealing the combustion chamber
Seal the Chamber

You can prevent varnish formation in the combustion chamber during storage by placing the piston at top dead center (TDC), the point at which both valves are closed. This keeps out stale fuel and debris, Just pull the rewind rope slowly. When you feel increased tension on the rope (due to the compression of air in the chamber), the piston is at TDC. For additional information, please visit our Compression System FAQ.

Remove dirt and debris
Remove Dirt/Debris

Debris tends to accumulate in the cylinder head fins, under the blower housing and around the muffler. This debris can fall into the engine. Remove it now to ensure good performance next season. Then, cover the engine with a sheet of plastic and store in a dry place. For additional information, please visit our Removing Debris FAQ.

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