Proper preparation for long term storage is critical for long term reliability from your equipment!
For those of us that experience a Winter season, preparing lawn mowers, weed eaters, trenchers, augers, and other small engine equipment is a well known but often forgotten practice.
As temperatures continue to drop in the Fall months, planning to winterize or prepare your equipment for the winter storage is a must. Despite the best plans, it is common for winter to roll in without notice, leaving those plans yet to get completed. We have all been there, and don't worry, it's not too late!
In this article, we have compiled some of the key steps to prepare your equipment for storage.
1. Stabilize Your Fuel - STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer
Gasoline tends to varnish and coat small passages inside your small engine. This includes the gas tank, fuel lines, and all of the important jets and passages inside of the engines carburetor. When carburetors get clogged up they cause the engine to run rough and often will prevent the engine from starting all together. This is a pain when Spring time comes around and you want to use your equipment.
A simple & highly effective way to prevent fuel & storage related carburetor issues is to stabilize your fuel. We recommend using STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer for all small engine storage. This product is a proven solution with easy to follow instructions and measurement devices built-in to several of their bottles.
Simply mix the correct amount of Fuel Stabilizer into your gas can while empty or close to empty and fill it at your local gas station. Once your gasoline is mixed, fill the gas tank on your equipment and start the engine and let it run for 3-5 minutes to ensure the fresh mixture has made its way through all of your engine. Keep the Gas Tank on your equipment 95% full during storage to prevent moisture build up. Be sure to leave your Fuel Petcock in the OFF position once you are ready to store your machine.
2. Change Your Oil
Oil changes are often overlooked for small engine equipment. Staying on top of annual maintenance/ service intervals is very important for long term reliability of your equipment. If you follow your recommended service intervals for oil change, Changing your Oil before storage is not necessary, but for many it is a great opportunity to do so. As your engine oil cycles hot and cold it picks up various particles and fuel atoms and potentially moisture.
Changing your oil before storage ensures that the internals of your engine are moisture and contaminant free. This is also a good habit to ensure you stay within your Suggested Service intervals. If you are curious about Service Intervals and Oil Capacities for your Ground Hog Inc Machine, Please refer to our Honda® Engine Service Intervals Article.
3. Fog Your Cylinder (Long Storage Periods)
Cylinder Fogging is a procedure that fills your Engine's Combustion chamber with a light Fogging Oil in order to remove & prevent Moisture from causing damage to your piston, rings, and cylinder walls. Fogging oils are common in Marine engine storage preparation and anywhere that has high moisture issues. It is also highly recommended for Extended periods of storage that will allow the residual oils inside of the combustion chamber to evaporate or dry out.
We recommend STA-BIL® Fogging Oil for all Fogging usages. This is a step we consider optional for short term/winter storage.
4. Check / Change Your Air Filter & Spark Plugs
Small Engine Air Filters & Spark Plugs do not need changing very often, but preparing your equipment for storage offers a great opportunity to check both and stay on top of the proper Service Intervals recommended by the Engine Manufacture. If you are curious about the proper Air Filter and Spark Plug service intervals for your Ground Hog Inc Machine, Please refer to our Honda® Engine Service Intervals Article
5. Check your Tire Pressure
If you own a T-4 Trencher, HD99, or 1M5C, storing your equipment with proper air pressure will prevent possible flat spots and dry rotting from developing on your pneumatic tires.
6. Shut Off Your Fuel
If your engine is equipped with an ON/OFF for your fuel tank, it is best practice to leave it in the OFF position for any amount of storage.
Completing these simple steps will ensure that your machine is ready to go in spring when you need it! If you have any questions regarding these steps or need help with them, please email us at CustomerService@GroundHogParts.com. We are always happy to help!