Leaf Blower Storage in the Off-Season
You’ve made it!
Yet another fall cleanup under your belt; but before you add another notch to your belt, you may want to take care of one final step to ensure a hiccup-free victory for next season.
As we all know, King Arthur had Excalibur, Thor wielded his mystical hammer, and Popeye had his forearms. Just the same, you wield your mighty leaf blower.
Smaller engines that are stored without taking the proper precautions are often times difficult to start when you need them. By following just a few easy steps and investing less than an hour, you can ensure a happier blower and a happier you.
If you want to be sure that you’re ready for next year’s leaves, it’s important that you take the right precautions to properly store your gas leaf blower for the off-season.
Make yourself a list of what you need:
- Used motor oil receptacle
- Fresh motor oil
- Spark plug or adjustable wrench
- Gas can
- Detergent and clean water
- Old towels
Start by Draining the Oil (4-Cycle Blowers Only*)
Start your blower and let it warm up for a good 10 to 15 minutes. When the engine is warmed up, drain the oil from the crankcase. A warm engine will heat up the oil just enough so most of the impurities in suspended in the oil will drain out easier. Then refill the reservoir with fresh leaf blower engine oil (10W30 more often than not). If you are unsure, please consult your owner’s manual
Note: You only need to drain the oil in 4 cycle engines to protect the engine crankcase’s prolonged exposure to oxygen. 2-cycle engines (where the oil and gasoline are mixed before use) don’t have a crankcase.
Clean the Air Filter
Smaller engines have a plastic foam air filter that is laced with oil to catch dirt and particles. You will find after extended use, the filter gets clogged with dust and may stop filtering. Simply remove the air filter and cleanse it by washing and rinsing it in warm water and dish detergent. You can dry it by wrapping it in a paper towel and squeezing it. Finally soak the filter with fresh motor oil and place it back where it belongs.
Drain your Gas Tank
When your engine has cooled down, drain the gas tank until it’s bone dry. Instead of wasting that liquid gold, you can use a funnel to drain the gasoline into a 25 gallon gas storage container. Once the tank seems empty, start up the engine and let it run on the remaining gas until the engine runs out of fuel. By running the engine out of fuel, you eliminate the chance that the gas in your fuel system will evaporate and “varnish” over time. A carburetor with gas residue in could cause serious start up issues.
Remove the Spark Plug
Use a spark plug wrench or if you don’t have one, as adjustable wrench to remove the spark plug.
Once the plug is out of the engine, put a few squirts of oil right into the spark plug hole. Do not replace the spark plugs just yet. Next, pull slowly on the starter cord to turn the engine over a few times. This will disperse the oil you just applied over the valves preventing any rust from building up inside the motor.
Inspect your spark plug. If it is dirty, clean it. If it needs replacing, replace it silly. Just put the plug in by hand and give it a couple of light turns. If you decide to replace the spark plug take the old one with you to the store to make sure you get the right one.
If you followed these steps soldier, you my friend, will be prepared for next season’s worst. All you will have to do is: tighten the spark plug, fill the tank with fresh gasoline (mixed if it is a 2-cycle) and start it up. You may see some wisps of smoke from the oil being burnt where the plug is, so don’t fret. You are now one mean, lean, fall cleanup machine and you have the tool to prove it.