Winter Storage:  Storing a gas engine during the winter

Winterizing Your Gasoline Engine: Essential Tips for Storage and Maintenance

By Wayne Watson

1. Stabilize the Fuel

The most significant threat to your engine during winter storage is stale fuel, which can lead to carburetor issues. Add a fuel stabilizer to the tank and run the engine for a few minutes to ensure the treated fuel reaches the carburetor. This prevents the formation of gum and varnish that can clog fuel passages.

2. Run the Engine Dry

For equipment with manual recoil start, run the engine until it uses up all the fuel in the carburetor. This prevents residue buildup in the carburetor and fuel system during storage. This practice is highly effective to prevent damage to your carburetor.  

For engines with electric starts, simply turn off the fuel valve and run the engine until it shuts down due to fuel exhaustion.

Always turn the engine switch to the off position when storing the engine set.  Forgetting to turn the engine switch off can cause damage to the engine where oil and gas will mix.  This type of damage is not covered by the engine warranty.  This is the responsibility of the engine owner.

3. Change the Oil

Fresh oil is essential for preventing corrosion and maintaining engine lubrication. Change the oil before storing your equipment, ensuring you follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the appropriate oil type.

4. Remove or Disconnect the Battery

If your equipment features an electric start with a battery, remove the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. Periodically charge the battery throughout the winter to maintain its health. For manual recoil start engines, ensure the pull cord is in good condition and lubricate any moving parts.

5. Protect Against Corrosion

Coat exposed metal parts, such as the engine and other components, with a thin layer of rust-preventative oil or silicone spray. This helps guard against corrosion caused by moisture in the air.  

6. Store in a Dry Location

Whenever possible, store your equipment in a dry and sheltered location, like a garage or shed. If outdoor storage is necessary, use a 3rd party weatherproof cover to shield the engine from the elements.  We do not offer covers, but they can be purchased easily and will also help keep your equipment looking it's best.

7. Check and Clean the Air Filter

A clean air filter ensures optimal engine performance. Check the air filter and replace or clean it as needed before storing your equipment.

8. Inspect Spark Plugs

Remove and inspect the spark plug. Clean or replace it if necessary. Applying a small amount of oil into the cylinder and pulling the recoil starter a couple of times helps protect the cylinder wall from rust during storage.

9. Clean the unit

Keeping your unit clean will help you identify problems that could arise later.  There should not be fluid, dirt, grease, or grim that gives your unit an unsightly appearance.  Keep it looking its best by giving it a good cleaning before storing it over the winter months.

10. Be Prepared for Emergencies

If you're storing a generator for potential emergency use during a power outage, periodically test it to ensure it starts easily and runs smoothly. Keep a supply of fresh fuel and check the equipment regularly to address any issues promptly.


By following these winterization tips, you'll be well on your way to preserving the health and functionality of your gasoline-powered engines during the winter months. When spring arrives, your equipment will be ready to tackle any task you throw its way.  


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