A good craftsman takes care of his tools and makes sure they are properly stored for the colder months. We are now at that stage of limbo when fall comes one day and winter the next. Your outdoor power tools that you have used rigorously for the last few months need a little TLC before winter really hits, allowing them to work better come springtime. Here is a list of things not to forget when it comes to taking care of your outdoor tools.
Drain the oil
You will want to drain the oil from your lawnmower, weed whip, tiller, chainsaw & hedge clippers otherwise the oil inside these tools will get sludgy, making the engine less efficient. Really any tool that you used this summer for yard and garden work that you must put oil in you should drain and make to dispose of the dregs at a proper waste facility.
Inspect your tools
Your outdoor tools go through a lot of use and abuse during our short growing season here in the Midwest, so the likelihood of having missing screws, nuts and bolts is probably good. It is also a good idea to inspect your gas cans to ensure that they have O-rings that are intact and that the containers are not cracked or in need of replacement.
Fuel filters & spark plugs
If you didn’t already know, a dirty fuel filter will make your tools work harder while trying to draw gas so changing them out is out of necessity. Spark plugs ignite the air-fuel mixture that gets your engine going in your power tools. They get very dirty and replacing them is quite cheap, only costing you a couple of dollars. FYI- don’t leave cans of gasoline sitting around during the winter because it will absorb water and make your motors run rough. Always buy fresh gas when springtime arrives.
Having dirty air filters in the motor of your tools will cause them to run harder and hotter than normal. To get the most out of your air filter, clean the debris out of it regularly by tapping against a trash can.
Lube your hinges
You will want to lubricate the moving parts of your outdoor tools before storing them away to prevent rusting. Any tool that has a wooden handle will benefit by rubbing oil on it, preventing it from drying out and cracking.
Clean it up
Blast away dirt and debris with a power washer or water hose. Dirt left on your tools can cause your tools to prematurely rust due to the moisture in the soil. Use a wire brush if necessary to scrub away any stubborn dirt. Make sure to let your tools air dry completely before storing away.