GAS CANS AND FUELS
This is one of the biggest REASONS why small engines run poor or do not run at all -Bad maintenance of gas cans and/ or bad caps.
1. The gas can needs to be in good and CLEAN condition inside and out.
2. Gas cans need secure caps! (Today fuels are made with different chemicals). Without caps being properly secured some of the chemicals in the fuel can evaporate resulting in a loss of quality, the engine will then try to run on sub-standard fuel, resulting in the following-hard, or won’t start, skipping and loss of power, causes other parts to fail by the “domino effect”.
3. You must store the can in a cool dry place, away from the sun, which speeds up the process of evaporation. Another problem resulting in poor storage is water in the fuel, most times caused by high to low temperature changes, which creates a sweating condition inside the gas can. Check with a flashlight, if the fuel looks like Italian dressing before you shake it up. Do not use it! I promise you will have problems!
4. Last but not least, do not use any fuel purchased older than 30 days, as recommended by all small engine manufactures. If you need to keep any fuel longer than 30 days, you can, but only if fuel stabilizer is added to the gas the day you pump it. Stabilizer when added to fresh fuel will keep it fresh for as long as two years. This is a must for equipment like a generator that needs to run when needed but is unknown when you need it.
Most mowers today are able to mulch the grass as you cut. This is the best way to fertilize your lawn for free. From the cheapest to the most expensive machines available today mulching only works properly if you follow these rules.
1. Rule #1. Never mow damp or wet grass!
2. Never remove more than 1/3rd the total length of the grass.
3. Keep the blade sharp. If after mowing, the grass has the look of being cut with scissors, you are in good shape. If you see jagged or split ends, you are in need of a sharpening or a new blade.
PRE-START CHECK LIST
On flat level ground, check the oil. Most engines have a dipstick with the full mark on the end of the stick. If it is on add… using SAE30 oil, add just a little and let the unit sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then re-check the level. Do not overfill. Most engines have a total capacity of a slightly more than 1/2 of a quart when totally empty, so if it is ‘on add’ it does not take much to bring it back up to full. Walk the area to be mowed and remove any sticks, rocks, kid’s toys (and the like) that could damage your mower or be struck by the blade and sent flying into a window or a bystander!
KEEPING THE UNIT CLEAN
It is good practice to keep the mower deck and covers over the engine clean. An old rag or blowing it off with air works wonders. It is important you never hose off the machine. Water and engines (as well as the equipment) do not mix. Water may enter the fuel system and/or bearings causing rapid rusting and failing of parts. Your heart is in the right place by keeping things clean but the damage done by using the “hose off” method will cost you when things rust out and fall apart. I am aware that manufactures have been installing “washout ports” on their units and to this day I have not seen an effective one yet. What I do see is rapid wear caused by cleaning with water and it is far worse when the motor and mower are still warm from recent use.
Image Credit: mauimama