Fall is rapidly approaching and the turning of the leaves and shortening days signifies an end to the long, lazy summer afternoons spent tending to our neatly manicured lawns of green grass. Instead of just hanging up your weed eater for the season, why not spend an extra few minutes to perform some preventative maintenance on your gas powered weed eater so that when the next years spring rains result in a renewed growth of your lawn, you won’t waste time draining bad gas or figuring out why the engine won’t start.
There are a few basic items that you will need to prepare your weed eater for a long winter’s nap. These items include:
- Flat blade screwdriver
- Metal scraper
- Stiff bristled brush (like an old toothbrush)
- Garden hose or pressure washer
- Sta-Bil gasoline stabilizer
- Air and fuel filter (if applicable)
I like to keep a relatively clean garage so before I break open the weed eater for surgery, I like to spray it down with a garden hose or pressure washer. I also use a flat blade screwdriver in conjunction with a small metal scraper and an old toothbrush to really get into all of the cracks and crevices to root out the dried up grass, mud and crud that has built up over the past “lawning” season (yes, I consider this a sport, exercise and a competition with my neighbors all rolled up into one).
Once you have a nice clean power tool, you can disassemble the head and inspect the line retaining spool, springs, retainers and the drive shaft. Now is a good time to lubricate the moving parts with a shot of WD-40 and to lubricate the drive shaft according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This is a great time to refill the spool of the weed eater so that when the next “lawning” season rolls around you can simply break out the weed eater and start working while your competition (read neighbors) are busy fooling with winding string.
Give a good once over to the handle and throttle control of the weed eater to insure that all bolts and nuts are thoroughly tightened. Many weed eaters have an adjustment nut on the throttle trigger to tighten up any slack that may have developed over the years.
Now turn your attention towards the engine. Add the appropriate amount of Sta-Bil gasoline stabilizer to the tank and after mixing thoroughly, run the engine for a minute or two to ensure that the stabilizer reaches the carburetor reed, seals and gaskets. It’s better to use a gas stabilizer and leave gasoline in the entire fuel system to avoid dried out seals and varnishing of interior parts which will happen if you empty the fuel system out completely.
After the engine has cooled down, remove and inspect the air filter as well as the fuel filter (if your weed eater is equipped with one). Inspect the fuel lines and insure that they are still soft and pliable. Cracked, brittle, or broken fuel lines should be replaced immediately.
Next, remove, inspect and clean or change the spark plug. This will help insure a quick start, smooth running and help with the fuel efficiency of the motor.
Finally, I like to place a very light coat of WD-40 on all of the metal parts to help prevent rust. This can easily be removed with some soap and water at the beginning of the next “lawning” season.
Don’t forget to add the proper amount of Sta-Bil gasoline stabilizer to your gas can and shake it up to mix thoroughly so that you’re not wondering what to do with a can of bad gas next spring. Remember to take a few minutes to properly store your weed eater and all of your lawn and garden tools so that you can be assured of a quick and easy start when opening day of the next “lawning” season arrives.