Prepare your lawn equipment for spring

Spring is on its way, and soon, home and business owners will be cleaning and preparing lawn and garden equipment.

Whether it’s a mower, trimmer, blower, chain saw or pruner, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute offers tips to help users avoid fuel-related problems and ready their equipment to operate safely.

Check the fuel tank. If fuel has been sitting all winter long in the fuel tank, do not use it in the spring. Drain it responsibly and put in fresh fuel. Remember to dispose of this fuel properly.

Use only E10 or lower fuel in your outdoor power equipment. Do not use gas with more than 10 percent ethanol, E10, in outdoor power equipment. Some gas stations may offer 15 percent ethanol, E15, gas or other fuel blends, but this higher ethanol fuel is dangerous — and is illegal — to use in any small engine equipment, such as lawn mowers, chain saws, generators, and all other lawn and garden equipment.

Don’t leave fuel sitting in the tank for more than 30 days. Untreated gasoline — without a fuel stabilizer — left in the system will deteriorate, which may cause starting or running problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system.

Inspect your equipment. Check for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. If you find anything concerning, replace the parts or take your equipment to a qualified service representative.

Drain out the old oil and put in fresh oil.

Remove the oil drain plug in your lawn mower and catch the old oil in a container. Replace the plug and refill the engine with oil recommended by the manufacturer. Properly dispose of the oil you drained.

Install clean air filters. Your engine and equipment will run much better with clean filters. Paper filters must be replaced. Some foam filters can be cleaned and replaced.

Sharpen your cutting blade. Have your lawn mower’s cutting blade sharpened so you can get a clean cut on your lawn.

Your lawn will be healthier and your lawn mower will operate more efficiently, too.

Give your equipment a good spring cleaning. A cleaner machine will run more efficiently and last longer.