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Outdoor power equipment plays an important role in keeping your home landscape looking its best. Just as proper maintenance can help you get the most out of your machinery, proper fueling of your gasoline-powered equipment can help it last longer, maximizing your investment.
There are several situations you should be aware of when fueling your outdoor power equipment. Standard pump gasoline can degrade over time and corrosion or the formation of gum or varnish in the fuel system can harm an engine. In addition, there is a potential for damage from fuel containing a higher level of ethanol than that specified by the equipment or engine manufacturer.
While finding ethanol-free pump gasoline may be an option, much of the fuel sold at gasoline pumps in the United States contains ethanol. As the percentage of ethanol in the fuel increases from the current 10% (E10) to a proposed 15% (E15), it reaches a level that may damage the engines in outdoor power equipment, resulting in machinery that will not start.
There are two types of products available to help you take care of your outdoor power equipment:
Fuel stabilizers prevent gum and varnish as well as rust and corrosion in engines. In addition, fuel stabilizers keep gasoline fresh for more dependable starts.
Ethanol-free pre-mixed fuels are available for both 2-cycle and 4-cycle engines. These fuels stay fresh, don't degrade like pump gasoline and provide easy, dependable starts for your outdoor power equipment. Pre-mixed fuel for 2-cycle engines also saves time since you don't need to mix the gasoline and oil yourself.
If you do purchase fuel for your outdoor power equipment from the gasoline pump, make sure you know the type of fuel the manufacturer specifies. Check the labels at the pump and make sure you are purchasing the proper fuel.
While taking care of the fuel systems in your machinery is important during regular use, it's also a consideration when preparing for off-season storage. Manufacturers may instruct you to run the fuel system dry or to store the equipment with the tank full of fuel mixed with a fuel stabilizer.