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GardenSMART :: Avoid Damaging Seasonal Equipment: Tips for Proper Fuel Use

Avoid Damaging Seasonal Equipment: Tips for Proper Fuel Use

By the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
Photographs courtesy of OPEI

When using your outdoor power equipment, it’s important to be mindful of additional fuel products entering the marketplace. With varying ethanol blends now available, such as E15, E30, and E85, it’s critical to be sure you are using the right fuel for the right product.

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Now that winter weather is arriving across much of the country, many lawn mowers and other pieces of outdoor power equipment will be stored for the season. It’s a good time to ensure the fuel is being properly handled. For instance, if your gas-powered equipment is going to be put away for the season, it should have the remaining fuel removed from its system.

“Proper fuel use and storage is easy to accomplish and a good thing to be mindful of as we change seasons,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “Whether we’re filling our cans at the pump, or ready to put equipment away for the season, there are a few simple but important things to remember in order to protect equipment and avoid costly misuse. OPEI offers fuel use and storage tips to help consumers who are winterizing their equipment investments:

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Tip #1: Look Before You Pump. Most gasoline contains 10 percent ethanol (E10), which is safe for your equipment. But many gas pumps now offer higher ethanol blended gas – such as 15, 30, 50 or 85 percent ethanol gas. These higher blends are not designed for use in outdoor power equipment and may cause damage or failure. It’s best to check your owner’s manual and manufacturer recommendations for use. And remember, fuels containing ethanol can potentially stale over time. To be safe, try to avoid purchasing more than what you’ll need for thirty days.

Tip #2: Properly Dispose of Leftover Fuel. Whether left in the tank of your equipment or in a gas can on the shelf, it’s easy to forget how old your fuel is. Take note of when you purchased the fuel and properly dispose of it after a month. If you have leftover fuel in cans that won’t be needed until the next season, consider disposing of it by simply adding it to your car’s fuel tank.

Tip #3: Run the tank dry or drain unused fuel out of the equipment you are storing. A safe and easy way to dispose of fuel is to run the engine until the tank is empty. You can also add fuel stabilizer to the gas, run the engine so it circulates throughout the system, and then safely drain the tank. This step ensures that any residual fuel remaining in the equipment after the tank has drained is treated.

For more tips and information, please visit OPEI.org.

About OPEI

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show, and the creative force behind the environmental education program, TurfMutt.com. OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces.


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