If you are the owner of small engine equipment such as a lawn mower or other outdoor power equipment, you may already be well acquainted with using gasoline to fire them up. However, did you know that some types of gasoline are unsuitable and could even do your equipment a lot of damage? Also, there are components you can add to your fuel to help it to last longer.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best fuel to use in your equipment, those to avoid and what you can do to ensure your fuel gives you optimal performance.
How to Choose the Right Fuel for Your Small Engines
There was a time when you could just fill up a small gas can of fuel for your small engine equipment at the same time as filling up your car. In fact, you may still be doing this. The problem is that today’s modern vehicles are fitted with sophisticated fuel controls and small engines are not. As a result, smaller engines can have a hard time compensating for the lack of lubrication, the higher heat and corrosive effect that some fuels can have.
In general, most mowers and other small engine equipment will run beautifully on fresh, high-grade unleaded fuel. If you are unsure or you want to keep your warranty agreement firmly intact, check your owner’s manual. Whether you are running a mower, generator, chainsaw or snow blower, you should never require fuel with an octane rating higher than 87.
The Problem with Ethanol
Small engine equipment can last for many years if you look after it right. Don’t ever guess what type of fuel your equipment takes as you could cause more harm than good. For example, if you use a fuel with more than 10% ethanol (for example, E15 or E85) you can run into problems and even void your warranty. You see, ethanol absorbs water from the atmosphere and this can cause corrosion in your engine over time. While some engines can run on E10 (10% ethanol), it is best to check the manual. Manufacturers are working towards building engines that run on E15, but these designs are still in the pipeline.
Use a Fuel Stabilizer for the Best Results
Over time, the compounds in stored fuel can start to break down and affect the performance of your small engine equipment. In fact, most fuels have a shelf-life of only 30 days before they start to go stale. We recommend adding a fuel stablizer such as STA-BIL to your fuel to help it to last longer between uses and fill-ups. If storing your equipment away for the winter, be sure to drain all remaining fuel from your system or leave your equipment running until it stops. Some manufacturers also say that it is fine to leave fuel in your system over the winter months if it is treated with a stablizer, so again, check your manual for your specific equipment.
Always Look Before You Pump
To be sure of high performance and to protect the life of your small engine equipment, always look before you pump. If you do accidentally put in the wrong fuel, don’t panic. Drain the fuel completely, top up with the correct fuel and you should be good to go.