Brrrrr! It’s cold out there! In severely cold weather, it is important to remember that your equipment maintenance regime should be even more vigilant. Some special attention is needed for machines that are actually used during these cold months. Your lawn mower, brush cutter, and wood chipper will likely be fine sitting in the shed all winter, but machines such as snow blowers will need a little special cold weather maintenance. Just like we take extra precautions with our vehicles when the temperatures take a dive, we need to take extra precautions with our power equipment.
1. Wipe off snow and water after use.
After using any winter power equipment (snow blower, wood splitter, et cetera) wipe off the snow and water that has probably accumulated on it. When a machine is put away hot, the snow on it will melt to water and quickly freeze to ice. The next time you go to use it, you may find that the ice is stopping a lever from moving properly, a button from depressing, or other moving part from functioning properly.
2. Keep the fuel topped up.
Cold and fluctuating temperatures can cause condensation to accumulate inside your gas tank. This is true of cars, trucks, and ATVs just as much as it is of snow blowers and chainsaws. When condensation accumulates, it will likely fall into the gas tank and sink to the bottom (because water is heavier than gasoline). From there, it can get sucked into the fuel lines and freeze, causing a blockage.
3. Use fuel stabilizer.
Keeping a bit of fuel stabilizer in your tank at all times will help combat the harmful effects of ethanol and keep your fuel fresh and efficient. Fuel is vulnerable to moisture in cold temperatures. Fuel stabilizer breaks down water created by ethanol and cleans the fuel system.
4. Inspection is Key.
The best way to keep your winter power equipment in top condition in cold weather is preventive maintenance. Regularly inspect belts, check the oil level and check bolts and nuts for proper tightness at frequent intervals. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. These easy cold weather maintenance tips will help protect your investment and keep your machine in top condition.