As the main growing season comes to an end a lot of our tools will be lying dormant until next year, but a little care now will more than pay dividends next year. Believe it or not, petrol goes off over time and manufacturers suggest it should be used in a month in small engines like strimmers and chain saws as if it’s just left in your machines the old petrol produces gums and solids that can clog up the carburettor and the rest of the system.
You can get additives like Briggs & Stratton Fuel Fit that stabilise the fuel and extend its shelf life but for winter storage you’re best to drain the fuel from the tank and then run the engine to clear the last fuel from the system.
Check your manual for how to ‘mothball’ your equipment, for example where there is exposed metal as on the rotavator tines or chrome, run over it with an oily rag which will prevent corrosion.
Electrical equipment and hand tools just need a good clean and the oily rag treatment where appropriate. With wooden handled tools a rub over with linseed or teak oil will help keep the wood in good condition.
It’s a good idea to check rotary lawnmower blades. If they’re chipped or blunted then you can sharpen them ready for next year but do take care not to take more off one side than another as it will throw the blade out of balance and this can damage the machine.
Most garden machinery shops offer blade sharpening and balancing at a small charge. If you’ve equipment that really needs a shop service, now is the right time to get them in because everyone else will be taking them in the spring when they’re needed.