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Winterizing Lawn Gear Will Save You

UPDATED October 22, 2009

By Mike Averill, The Tulsa World

The cooler temperatures bring a wonderful reprieve from yard work -- at least the mowing and weed-eating parts.

But before you put away the gas-powered lawn tools, make sure to take a couple of steps so that when you try and fire things up in the spring you`re not left standing in the tall grass.

The biggest problem that comes with the winter months is build-up caused by gasoline gumming up in the carburetor. That blocks the flow of gasoline to the engine, preventing it from starting.

Tim Fenton, mechanic at Southside Lawn Mowers, recommends draining the gas tank by running the engine until the tank is empty.

"Gas has a shelf life of no more than 30 days, so it`s important to run them dry," said Fenton, noting that the 30-day rule covers gas in a can, not inside of equipment. "If it`s in a small place, like in a fuel line or a carburetor, it`s going to go that much quicker," he said.

Bryan Salley with Smith Farm and Garden recommends the another approach: using a gasoline stabilizer, such as Sta-Bil, instead of draining the gas tank.

"It`s better to leave the gas in and use a stabilizer because if you have water in

the fuel system and burn off all the gas, the water stays behind and turns to rust," he said. "You`ll want to run it a couple times a month to keep the fluids moving a little bit."

The winter is also a good time to change the oil and air filters and clean the underside of the mower.

"That way, next season you`ll be ready to go," Salley said.

And you might want to think about getting the blade sharpened as well.

"All the mower shops are slow because there`s nothing to do. You can get it taken care of in the wintertime so you`ll be ready to go," Salley said.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Tulsa World, Okla.

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