In order for you to be ready to put up your best fight against the elements of a Minnesota winter you need to have your equipment in working order. It does you no good to own an expensive snow blower, which takes up precious garage space, if it doesn’t start when you need it.

There are a few simple steps that you need to take to make sure you’re ready for 3-12 inches of the white stuff.

Make sure that you don’t leave gas in the snow blower for more than 1 month without some sort of fuel additive. This rule also applies to the gas can that you fill your blower with. Gas is volatile. This means that gas vaporizes in order to perform correctly and efficiently in your engine. Because of these vaporizing characteristics, parts of the fuel can evaporate over time. When these parts of the fuel evaporate the fuel is less efficient causing rough running, difficult starting, or even may cause the engine to not run at all. This is the main reason for poor running small engines.

Oxidation of the fuel may also occur. This is caused by hydrocarbons in the gas mixing with oxygen. When this occurs the fuel composition changes and it wreaks havoc on your engine. It can gum up your fuel lines, filters, and carburetor.

Water can also form in your gas tank and gas can due to condensation. Water can cause rough idling and hard starting. Resulting scale and deposits from water can plug up lines and also can clog your carburetor.

To avoid having fuel go bad use a gas additive. There are a few choices of additives out there that stabilize gas. Sea Foam and Sta Bil are the two that we’d recommend the most. Sea Foam is the better product in terms of the variety of stuff it does. It not only stabilizes gas it also aids in the cleaning of your carburetor and removes moisture from the gas. Add the stabilizer each time you fill up your gas can. Adding stabilizer to already oxidized gas won’t bring it back from the dead. It’s meant to prevent not cure. Using a gas additive adds longevity to your gas but does not make it eternal. Even if you use a stabilizer your fuel can eventually go bad.

Another tip is to use a smaller gas can when you fill up on gas. If you have a large gas can that is full of gas the chances of you using it up before it goes bad aren’t as likely as if you had less to begin with. You still need to make sure to mix your gas correctly if you have a 2 cycle gas oil mixed engine.

Make sure that your gas can is clean and clear of debris. If you suspect that the inside of your gas can may have something in it that shouldn’t be in it then don’t use it. If you own an old metal gas can make sure that it isn’t rusting at all as this can cause debris to be present in your gas. Buy a new clean gas can it will cost you less then having a professional clean out your carburetor.
Another step would be to drain the system of fuel when the season is over. Actually the best case would be to put stabilizer in the fuel and then drain the tank. This prevents the possibility of gas varnishing the insides of your engine. When you need it the next time, try and add fresh gas if at all possible.

Have your small engine tuned up at least every few years. If you take care of your engine properly you can wait longer between tune-ups. If you are one of those who prefer to do nothing in terms of storing your machine you may need to have it done yearly and possibly twice a year.

Keeping on top of small engine maintenance prevents costly repairs and huge headaches (and back aches) in the future. Just in case it’s still a good idea to have a few good shovels on hand in case of an emergency. As always you can find the products mentioned above as well as high quality fast turn around small engine repair at LeVahn Brothers Hardware Hank in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

For more tips check out this small engine troubleshooting link:

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