By now, you, the rest of the family as well as your home are likely buttoned up for the cold months ahead. However, before the first snow falls and you start enjoying the warmth of your fireplace, it is a good idea to look after your outdoor power tools as well. Below are some useful upkeep that you can do today that will greatly benefit those yard equipment, making them hibernate comfortably during the long winter ahead and ensuring they will roar back to life without problems once spring season begins.
Drain the oil or fuel
Since you will not be using your lawn mower and other equipment to tend to your yard for months, you should start draining their oil and fuel. As winter sets in and you leave your tools unused with oil inside, the liquid will become clammy which in turn will affect the efficiency of the tools’ engines. In the case of fuel, allowing it to sit over the winter will cause the ethanol to separate from other chemical components, causing the fuel to degrade the tank.
To avoid that from happening, drain or siphon the oil and fuel from the motor and catch it in a container. To empty the tools of remaining oil and fuel, start and run them one more time before storing them.
Give them good cleaning
Even if you will be storing your yard equipment for winter, it is crucial that you clean them first before sending them into hibernation. Dirt and other particles lodged within the components of your tools will easily trap moisture, causing them to rust.
To give your lawn mower thorough cleaning, remove its blade, wipe it with a dry, clean cloth and sharpen it. After which, apply a light layer of oil to the blade and reinstall it on the mower. For your trimmer, clean and rewind the string head and sharpen the string-cutting blade of the machine. If you keep a chain saw at home that you use for wood cutting, now is also the time to attend to its cleaning, tune up and sharpening needs. If you plan on using it this winter to cut wood, be sure to have extra chain at hand.
Do not forget that most gas-powered tools have spark plugs responsible for igniting air-fuel mixture that keep engines running. With repeated use, these little components get all dirty, which when left unchecked would affect the spark plugs’ performance. To clean them up, remove them in place using a socket wrench and spray their ends with brake cleaner. Carbonized particles covering the body of the spark plugs can be removed using a stiff wire brush. However, if the plugs are too dirty, it is about time that you replace them with new ones.
Just like spark plugs, most yard power tools also have air filters that help keep their motors clean. However, frequent usage can cause them to get clogged or torn. When that happens, your equipment’s motors have to work harder, affecting their efficiency. As such, you need to make sure that you clean their air filters by regularly removing trapped debris. Do that by tapping the filters firmly or spraying them with compressed air. Damaged filters must be replaced immediately.
Aside from cleaning, another important step you need to take before you store your tools is to lubricate them to prevent them from rusting. Hinges and other moving parts should be sprayed with lubricant. Wooden parts, on the other hand, such as handles, should be wiped with tung oil so they do not dry out or crack due to freezing temperatures.
Replace missing or worn out parts
It is equally important that you inspect your power tools for missing or worn out parts. Screws and nuts are among the parts that easily get lost because of their small size, so be sure that they are properly screwed in place. Gas caps along with their O-strings should also be present as they seal off tanks and protect fuel from dust and moisture. Should you find that parts of your equipment are missing or broken and they are still under warranty, do not hesitate to contact the manufacturer and request for parts replacements.
Store them properly
Keeping your tools dry for the entire duration of winter so they do not rust is perhaps the most important thing you will do. As such, storing them in a clean, dry place away from the elements after cleaning and tuning them up is necessary. Closed cabinets as well as a well-kept shed with proper covering are excellent storage systems for your tools that will allow them to safely get through winter.
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