April 11 2018 03:52 AM

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Alexandria, Virginia, reminds you to carefully inspect those mowers, trimmers, blowers, chain saws, pruners or other pieces of outdoor power equipment that have sat idle over the winter before firing them up for the season. Here are some tips, courtesy of OPEI:

1. Get out those owner’s manuals. Follow all manufacturer guidelines and refamiliarize yourself with the controls. Lost or misplaced manuals can be found on manufacturer's websites (and saved on your computer for future reference).

2. Inspect equipment. Check for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Replace any parts needed or take equipment to a qualified service representative.

3. Drain old fuel. Fuel should not sit in your equipment’s tank for more than 30 days. Untreated gasoline (without a fuel stabilizer) left in the system will deteriorate, especially if it contains ethanol, which may cause starting or running problems and even damage to the fuel system. Old fuel should be drained and removed prior to storage and newly purchased fuel added at the season’s start.

4. Only use fuel rated E10 or lower. Some gas stations offer E15 fuel containing 15 percent ethanol. Fuel with higher than ten percent ethanol content can damage small engines. According to OPEI, it’s illegal to use fuel containing more than ten percent ethanol in outdoor power equipment.

5. Clean equipment. Remove dirt, oil or grass stuck to any of the parts. A clean machine will run more efficiently and last longer.