Your 7-step process to winterizing your lawn-care equipment

(BPT) - Winter is coming and that means the end of another season of yardwork. This also means it’s time once again to store your tools and prepare them to endure the winter months ahead.

These tools have been good to you all season so it’s time to return the favor and follow the seven simple steps below to effectively store your equipment for the winter. A little extra care and attention at the end of fall will ensure you a hassle-free start in the spring and extend the life of your equipment.

* Keep your equipment indoors. Keeping your tools indoors during the winter months can help your equipment avoid some of the normal wear and tear that occurs during colder temperatures. A garage, shed or outbuilding is perfect for storage and if you don’t have an indoor option, covering your equipment with a tarp or protective cloth is another great way to protect them from winter's harsh elements.

* Drain or stabilize the fuel in equipment with engines. Any gasoline left in your gas-powered equipment can leave gum deposits and buildup that can potentially plug the fuel system. To protect your equipment drain the fuel system before storage or use a fuel stabilizer to keep the gas fresh until spring. If you decide to use a fuel stabilizer, let the engine run for at least five minutes after you add the stabilizer to ensure it gets into the carburetor.

* Drain and dispose of oil for equipment with engines. Oil left in your small engine while a machine is not in use can create sludge and ultimately ruin the engine. Drain the oil and catch it in a pan or container to dispose of properly by taking it to a recycling center or a waste facility. Once you have drained the oil, it can be helpful to put a note on your equipment that the engine is empty and needs to be refilled — that way you remember when spring rolls back around.

* Lubricate where needed. Lubricate all hinges and other moving parts on your machines so they don’t dry out while in storage. You should also lubricate them again after removing them from storage and attempting to start them up in the spring. Husqvarna offers a wide array of lubricants — as well as oil or fuel options — for any outdoor tool.

* Remove the spark plugs. It’s important to change the spark plugs in your equipment at the start of every new season. A great way to remember to change those spark plugs is to remove old ones before storing them for the winter. Removing spark plugs will make you remember in the spring when the engine doesn’t start that you are ready for a new one.

* Inspect those air filters. It’s easy to forget the air filter, but this tiny piece holds an invaluable role by preventing dirt from entering the engine’s carburetor. This inspection will save you time and money so take a moment to check the filter and clean it or replace it if you need to. Your engine will thank you.

* Don’t forget about your tools during the winter. While you may not need your tools during the winter months, checking on your tools a few times during the winter months is a great idea. This ensures no mice or other creatures have built any nests or started to chew on wires or other vulnerable parts of your equipment. These inspections are also the perfect time to make those long put-off repairs. Set your machine out in a comfortable work area and take your time fine tuning and pruning your equipment — see your dealer for any extensive tuneups.

Start your winterizing efforts today

The outdoor lawn care season may be over but there is still plenty of work to do. While it may be difficult to prioritize your tools now, a little bit of effort will improve their shelf life and ensure your tools will be ready for next spring when you need them most. To find the perfect tools and accessories for your lawn-care needs, visit Husqvarna.com.

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