Tips & Tactics

Off-season Small Engine Care

Off-season Small Engine Care

By Ken Piper

Photo: It might cost more at the pump, but ethanol-free gasoline will likely prevent a visit to the mechanic.

As a hunter, you likely own an ATV or UTV, as well as operate several smaller engines such as chainsaws, generators or trimmers.

You’ve also probably heard conflicting opinions on what type of fuel to use in those vehicles and tools.

Unlike the engine in your truck, smaller engines are not designed to work with ethanol-enhanced gasoline.

The chemical properties of ethanol increase the chance of metal corrosion and can damage plastic and rubber parts.

While you won’t notice problems immediately, continued use of gasoline with ethanol will likely lead to issues with your small engines.

Pay particular attention to tools that go for long periods without being used. When you can get it, it’s worth it to pay a little extra for ethanol-free gas for your hunting and yard equipment.

Sometimes, finding it can be difficult, but a quick Internet search for ethanol-free gasoline can help you locate the nearest supplier.

For your ATV, it helps to crank and run it each week, which is easy to forget after hunting season ends. Even a few minutes of allowing gasoline circulation throughout the system and fuel lines will greatly reduce the chances of the engine gumming up.

If you’ve let it sit too long without running and it’s difficult to crank, a motor additive such as Sea Foam Motor Treatment might solve the problem.

There are also gas treatments available that reduce the effects of the ethanol additive, such as STA-BIL.

When storing equipment, or any time an engine won’t be used for several months, either drain the gas tank and fuel lines completely, or make sure the tank is completely full. A full tank helps reduce the effects of ethanol vapors.

Everybody gets in a pinch and has to use gas with ethanol now and then, but a little extra effort and care will help you keep your ATVs and gas-powered tools running smoothly.

The best advice we can give is to locate an ethanol-free supplier and fill up your gas cans. The higher price per gallon is cheaper than having to haul your equipment to a small engine mechanic.


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