Gas powered items that you use in the spring, summer and fall months are usually among some of the higher priced equipment that you own. Whether it’s a lawnmower, a car, a boat, an RV, or any other gas powered item, you’ll want to keep your things safe and dry throughout the winter months.
Winters can be long, cold and snowy (depending on where you live), so it’s important to make sure you’re ready for it when it comes. Preparing for winter can be a long, stressful process with all of the different preparations you will need to take, but it is very much worth doing right the first time so you’re not paying for it in the future, especially with these higher priced items. Here are tips on how to properly prep your items for storage:
As a general guideline, gas shouldn’t sit in a gas can or gas tank for more than about three months. After that, the ethanol starts to break down, releasing water into the gasoline, and the fuel loses its ability to combust. You have the option to use a stabilizer. Stabilizers help to stop gas from chemically breaking down while it is being stored over a long period of time. Make sure you fill the tank up with fuel first, then add a dose of stabilizer. Filling up the tank will help reduce room for condensation in the tank.
For a Lawnmower
- Drain the tank, then run it until it dies – Even when you drain the tank, there will still be extra fuel in the lines that could also damage your equipment. (You may also use a stabilizer, but make sure your tank is full!).
- Disconnect the spark plug before cleaning to make sure that it doesn’t accidentally start up on you while you’re performing maintenance and cleaning.
- Change the oil to make sure it’s fresh and ready to go in the spring.
- Clean it! Make sure that you won’t have extra dirt and debris getting into the gas tank while it’s sitting.
- If necessary, it is also a good time to check the blades and sharpen them with a file. Make sure you remove the blades first for this step.
- If there is an air filter, change it if necessary.
For a Car/RV/Boat
- One of the most important things you can do to put your vehicle away for the winter is keeping it covered. Companies like U-Haul has vehicle/RV and boat storage for you to keep it covered and protected. You can also keep it in a garage or under a car cover outdoors as a last option.
- Change the oil – Acids or water in the oil could cause damage to the engine over these winter months.
- Clean it well – make sure the vehicle is cleaned and waxed (wax helps to protect it from rust and corrosion).
- Top it off – Condensation can occur if the tank is not completely full. Add stabilizer to make sure the fuel does not break down chemically.
- Disconnect the battery/batteries and periodically check to make sure that you keep them charged.
- Use chock blocks on the tires to prevent your vehicle from moving. Applying a parking brake may cause damage to the brake pads.
- Check for any spots on the vehicle (like exhaust pipes) where mice or other rodents may be able to get in and cause damage. Cover these spots – You can use something like duct tape for this.
Extra steps for boats and RVs
- Change the antifreeze
- Spray fogging oil on the engine (according to your manual) to keep the engine’s moving parts protected
- For a boat – remove or loosen the drive belts so they don’t crack or wear under the constant stress
There are many different types and brands of lawnmowers, cars, boats and RVs out there, and the manufacturers for each may have different storage techniques as well. Check the manufacturer’s manual for their specific storage recommendations.
Have any other tips or tricks for getting your equipment ready for winter? Share them with us in the comments section!