Prepare your lawn equipment for winter hibernation

Posted on Nov 01 2016 in Backyard
Photo by VukasS/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Photo by VukasS/iStock/Getty Images Plus

November has arrived, and winter temperatures will be here soon. That means it’s time to put away your summer outdoor power equipment — such as lawn mowers and string trimmers — and take out the equipment you will need this winter — such as snow throwers and generators.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute offers the following tips to help home and business owners prepare.

• Review the owner’s manual.  Re-familiarize yourself with how to handle your equipment safely and any maintenance needs. If you lost your manual, you can usually find it online.

• Service all equipment. Before storing equipment, clean and service it yourself or take it to a small-engine repair shop.  Drain and change engine oil and dispose of old/used oil safely.  Service the air filter and perform other maintenance activities directed by the service manual. Check and do the same with all winter equipment too.

• Recharge the battery.  If any equipment has a battery, remove and fully charge it before storing or to have it ready for an unexpected weather event.

• Handle fuel properly. Unused gas left in gas tanks over the winter can go stale and can even damage equipment. For any equipment stored over the winter, add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank and then run the equipment to distribute it.
Turn the engine off, allow the machine to cool, then restart and run until the gas tank is empty.  For winter equipment, be sure to use the appropriate fuel.
Most outdoor power equipment was designed and built to run on 10 percent or less ethanol fuel.

•  Do a yard cleanup. Clear paths regularly. Make sure there is space in the garage or basement to place larger yard items such as patio furniture, umbrellas and summer toys and games.

For additional safety tips, visit

Rosie Lerner is the Purdue Extension consumer horticulturist and a consumer of Tipmont REMC. Have a question about gardening? Use the form to send it to us. Or, questions about gardening issues may be sent to: “Ask Rosie,” Electric Consumer, P.O. Box 24517, Indianapolis, IN 46224, or