Get your small engine ready for winter!


Old 11-25-03, 08:57 PM
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Get your small engine ready for winter!

It's getting cold, and many are putting those mowers away for the winter months. Here are some tips to help avoid having problems in the spring when you pull that mower out and try to bring it back to life.

Drain out all the fuel, and crank it up until the fuel in the carburetor burns out and the engine stalls. As it begins to stall, activate the choke to get the last of the gas out of the carb, or better yet, remove the carburetor bowl and dump out the last of the fuel.

Inflate the tires to the reccomended pressure...air contracts in cold weather, so the tire pressures will drop a bit over the winter. A riding mower sitting up in one place for a period of storage time with low tires will cause them to dry-rot at the bulge near the bottom of the tire. Also, if possible, get the wheels off the ground. Get it on concrete blocks or treated lumber to help keep dry rot from setting in.

Grease all fittings and spray a lubricant on all moving parts. Silicone is good because it doesn't eveporate off and will help keep the parts from rusting while not being used.

Clean off all debris from under the hood, around the engine, off the top and underside of the deck and apply paint or silicone spray to deterr rust.

Run the engine until operating temp is reached, then change the oil. Old oil with contaminates in it will settle out over periods of non-use. These contaminates will settle to the bottom of the engine and create a sludge. This sludge doesn't come out very easily, so it is better to not allow it to form in the first place.

Disconnect the battery and store it in a place that will be protected from freezing. Store it in a plastic container in case it leaks acid.

This is a good time to check the belts and blades, air filter, spark plug, and other things. This way you can have it ready to go again when spring comes and eliminate potential problems, or at least have a good idea of what you'll need when spring comes along.

You can give your mower a coat of wax to protect the finish and help keep it looking good and prevent rusting.

This is also a good time to remove the cooling fin shrouds and clean out the cooling fins. This is a common cause of engine overheating and failure, and it often gets overlooked.

Flip the seat up to keep it from gathering dust, getting punctured, and fading/drying out from sunlight.

You might consider using duct tape to cover holes in the engine shroud that would be large enough for a mouse to enter. Mice love to nest under the blower shrouds of some engines. When you start an engine with a mouse nest in it, you can have all sorts of problems, like overheating, a fire, broken parts. Mice also like to chew through wires.

For those who have very short winter storage times, and the winters don't get terribly cold, you can leave the gas and battery in IF you will crank it up and run it for a few minutes every 3 to 4 weeks. Run it at different speeds and engage attatchments. Add some fuel stabilizer. This helps keep the fuel in the carb circulating, and helps keep the battery up.

For those with pressure not allow them to be in freezing temps unless the pump has been drained of water, or pump damage will likely result. The water in it expands when it freezes, and breaks valves in the pump.
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Old 12-08-03, 08:35 AM
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your post is appreciated...thanks
Old 12-08-03, 10:27 PM
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You're welcome Glad you found it useful!
Old 12-16-03, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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re: get yer engine ready

Hello Cheese:

I must say all of your advice is dead on but would like to add a few tips if I may.

Here in Upstate NY the temps can change radically this time of year.

That said, one of the best things a user can do for his snow machine is to make sure he or she has used Stabil and Drygas in the fuel supply.

My neighbor came by on Sunday night and his new Ariens was running and then dying even at full choke unless one primed it constantly.

I put in a few drops of drygas and all was well.

Gasoline these days is not formulated as it was years ago and starts to break down in under 30 days. Add changing temps and condensation and one is looking at water in the fuel.

Also..I hear many who live near me complain the machine does not throw as far as it should. My tip for that is to use PAM cooking spray or skiwax on the chute

Ohhh..loved the story about the mice and it is not a problem here on snowblowers--but sure is on garage door openers. Went over to my Dad's last week when his did not work and found I could have left my VOM and other diagnostic gear at home.

BIG mouse family in the main motor unit.

Kindest Regards,

Old 03-23-04, 09:34 PM
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I have un-stuck this thread from the top list on this forum, as it is no longer valid, except for those who are putting away their snowblowers for the summer.

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