Small Engine Tips

Tips for your lawnmower, leaf blower, snow blower or other small engine.

Hard-Starting Engine

If an engine is cold or has been sitting and not been started in a while, despite having performed proper maintenance, the engine may not start on the first or second pull or with the electric starter.

  1. Make sure the fuel valve is open and there is fresh fuel with STA-BIL in the tank. Be sure that the spark plug boot is securely attached to spark plug.
  2. For 2-stroke engines be sure the fuel mix is the right ratio of 2-cycle oil to gas (do not use regular oil). For most newer engines a 50:1 ratio or 2.6 oz/gallon is the amount but check on the gas cap or manual. A mix that is too rich (too much oil) could prevent your engine from starting and can cause other problems now and down the road. Too lean a mixture and you can damage the engine.
  3. Open the air cleaner cover and remove the cleaner, open the choke and spray carburetor cleaner into the carburetor for 2-3 seconds. Keep the air cleaner out and pull on the recoil rope and see if it starts. If it starts, keep it running for a bit.
  4. If you did not replace the spark plug check it to make sure it is not fouled. Securely attach the boot to the spark plug.
  5. If after priming the carburetor and changing or cleaning off the spark plug and adding fresh fuel, you cannot get it started please give me a call.

Call 630.908.7785  to troubleshoot and for help with starting your lawnmower or snowblower or before storing it at the end of the season. 


Beginning of Season

  1. Be sure there is fresh (clean) fuel with STA-BIL and recommended 2-cycle oil/fuel mix (if your machine requires a mixture) — do not use regular oil.
  2. Inspect fuel filter, it is recommended that filter be replaced every season if you have regular to heavy usage.
  3. Inspect air filter for dirt accumulation and clean or replace.
  4. Inspect spark plugs and replace if fouled. A normal spark plug will have brown or grayish-tan deposits on the side electrode.
  5. For mowers and chainsaws, sharpen blades/chains or replace if damaged. For Snowblowers check the auger paddles, shave plate, skid shoes (for 2 stage snowblowers) and shear pins.
  6. Inspect wear items such as belts, starter cords, tires and cables and replace if damaged or badly worn.

Call 630.908.7785  to troubleshoot and for help with starting your lawnmower or snowblower or before storing it at the end of the season. 

Off-Season Storage

There are several issues that affect storage of power equipment. Gasoline breaks down and leaves a varnish-like coating inside fuel tanks, fuel lines, carburetor and makes rubber and plastic parts brittle. Additionally, tires flatten and dry-rot, and unprotected metal surfaces rust. To avoid damage and expensive repairs you want to perform a service before you store. This may include the following (based on type of equipment):

  1. Change your oil (and filter if applicable on models with separate oil and fuel ports).
  2. Close the fuel valve and run the engine until it is out of fuel and stops running OR drain the fuel from carburetor. If there is fuel left in the tank, be sure there is STA-BIL in the fuel.
  3. Grease and use light oil on all bearings and mechanisms requiring lubrication e.g. gears, wheels and axles, augers and cables.
  4. Lift equipment and set on blocks to avoid flattening and cracking tires.
  5. Cover equipment to protect from sun and weather.

Call 630.908.7785  to troubleshoot and for help with starting your lawnmower, snowblower or other equipment and before storing it at the end of the season.