Four questions to ask before fueling your outdoor power equipment this fall


By Debbi Mayster

Special to The PREVIEW

Autumn is coming soon, which means fall leaves and yard work. Homeowners are opening up their garages and sheds and getting out their mowers, trimmers, blowers, power washers and other outdoor power equipment to use for fall chores.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing power equipment, small engine, utility vehicle, golf cart and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, provides these tips to get “backyard ready” for fall — starting with proper fueling of your equipment.

“You want your equipment available when you need it and that starts with proper maintenance and fueling,” said Kris Kiser, OPEI president and CEO. “Always check which fuel you’re buying before filling up.”

Four questions to ask before you start fueling outdoor power equipment:

1. Have you read the owner’s manual for the equipment? Always follow manufacturer’s fueling recommendations and use the type of fuel specified.

2. Is the fuel in your equipment fresh? Fuel should not sit in the tank for more than 30 days. Untreated gasoline (without a fuel stabilizer) left in the system will deteriorate, which may cause starting or running problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system.

3. Did you purchase the correct fuel? What goes in your car or truck may not be the correct fuel to use in your outdoor power equipment. There are many choices at the pump today, and you should only use fuel that is E10 or less in any outdoor power equipment. Some gas stations may offer 15 percent ethanol (E15) gas or higher ethanol fuel blends, but any fuel containing greater than 10 percent ethanol can damage — and is illegal to use, says the Environmental Protection Agency — in small engine equipment not designed for it.

4. Are you using a fuel additive or the manufacturer’s fuel? Many manufacturers make fuel additives and fuels, sold at retail locations, to improve equipment performance and mitigate any fueling problems caused by ethanol-based fuels. Check with your manufacturer’s recommendations and make the best choice that will keep your equipment running strong all season.

“It’s also important to drain fuel tanks before storing equipment for the winter,” he said. “Fuel more than 30 days old isn’t good for machines. Also service and winterize your lawn mower, string trimmer, leaf blower and other outdoor power equipment before storing so it’s ready to get jobs done.”

For more information on safe fueling, go to