How to store equipment through the upcoming offseason

Updated Sep 29, 2021

Toro Store EquipmentAs the cold season quickly approaches, landscapers need to be ready to store equipment properly.

If a piece of equipment is stored incorrectly, it could lead to equipment breaking down creating a dangerous situation come springtime.

TruFuel has put together a list of five tips on how to store equipment correctly through the winter months.

1. Thoroughly clean equipment

As with any tool, it’s important to thoroughly clean your equipment after each use. In particular, when storing outdoor power equipment for months at a time, it’s important to pay attention to crevices where debris may build up and corrode parts.

  • Chainsaws: Remove the chain cover and brush away all the wood chips and sawdust that have collected over the spring and summer
  • Edgers and trimmers: Clean out all grass, debris and dirt that may have built up in cutting line head, debris deflector and cutting guard
  • Hedge trimmer: Clean the cutting blades, free them of any debris and spray the blades with a high quality lubricant
  • Mower: Clear any clippings from the blade and mower deck with a scraper, brush and compressed air

2. Find a proper space for storage

  • If possible, avoid storing tools at or below freezing temperatures
  • Freezing temperatures can cause metal and plastic parts to become brittle and more susceptible to breakage
  • Avoid storing near items that may damage equipment if spilled, such as solvents, pool chemicals, fuels or fertilizers
  • Store equipment in a position where no sharp edges can cause accidental injury 

3. Protect metal surfaces prone to rust and corrosion

Rust and corrosion can bind up machinery, decreasing performance and at worst making operation of power equipment dangerous.

  • Where possible, store equipment indoors, in a low humidity environment that’s free of moisture
  • Apply a high quality lubricant to all machined surfaces and moving parts to keep rust and corrosion from forming

4. Protect your power equipment’s internal parts

The inside of your outdoor power equipment is just as important as the external surfaces though they are often neglected.

  • Prevent internal surfaces from corrosion by adding a small amount of 10w-30 synthetic oil
  • For 4-stroke engines: Remove the spark plug and put approximately one cap full of oil in the cylinder head
  • For 2-stroke engines: Remove the spark plug, add approximately half a cap of oil in cylinder head
  • After adding the oil, replace the spark plug (without reconnecting the wire) and turn the engine over or pull the starter cord gently a couple of times to cycle the engine and distribute the lubricant

5. Inspect and treat the fuel and oil systems

Fuel and oil are two of the most important areas to be concerned with when storing your outdoor power equipment. Damaged or deteriorated tanks and lines can cause dangerous leaks or spills. The ethanol in typical station gas attracts water from the atmosphere and separates from the fuel, ultimately causing severe damage or ruining small engines altogether.

  • Inspect all fuel lines
  • Rubber fuel lines tend to deteriorate and crack over time, which may cause dangerous fuel leaks
  • Change the engine oil with fresh oil (on applicable equipment)
  • Old oil contains moisture and acids that cause pitting and deterioration to bearing surfaces
  • Fill the fuel tank to full with a high quality engineered fuel
  • By keeping the tank completely full, it eliminates any room for moisture to accumulate and keeps gaskets from drying out
  • Normal fuel begins to break down in as little as 30 days
  • If not using TruFuel, drain and burn off all fuel in the equipment
  • Remove all fuel by draining the fuel tank and running the engine until it dies
  • Running the engine ensures that all fuel is removed from the carburetor and tank
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