Below are some tips for the operation and basic maintenance for your equipment:
- Make sure you clearly mark your gas cans with an indelible marker to distinguish between straight gas and oil/gas mix. The number one cause of damage to 2-cycle equipment is using straight gas. Severe damage can occur in as little as 90 seconds to these engines.
- Where possible use premium gas, preferably Shell 91, as these mixes contain little to no ethanol. Ethanol is a gas additive that is not recommended for small engines. The ethanol is very corrosive and can damage the small rubber and flexible synthetic gaskets and diaphragms in the carburetors of small engines. Ethanol also accelerates the degradation of gas. The more ethanol in the gas the shorter the shelf life.
- Always use a quality 2-cycle oil when mixing oil and gas for 2-cycle engines. Poor quality oil will cause excessive wear on engine components and may void manufacturer’s warranties.
- Do not leave gas in your machines when not in use or when you put the equipment away for storage at the end of the season.
- Change spark plugs in 2-cycle engines more frequently to help with starting and fuel efficiency. Small engines are generally air cooled and run hotter than vehicle engines. These engines also burn oil. The result is that the spark plugs do not last as long. A small investment in a new spark plug will go a long way to prevent operator frustration.
- Make sure your air, oil and fuel filters are clean. Dirty filters make engines hard to start and consume more fuel while reducing power output. Make sure your air, oil and fuel filters are clean. Dirty filters make engines hard to start and consume more fuel while reducing power output.
- Keep the underside of your lawn mower deck clean. Rotting grass clipping create acids that will speed up corrosion of the mower deck.
- For 2-cycle engines with valves (sometimes called 24’s or 4-mix), make sure that the valves are regularly adjusted to factory specification. Failure to perform this maintenance will void warranties and may cause fatal damage to the valves or other components.
- Do not operate power equipment without the appropriate specified safety guards and always wear approved safety equipment (eyes, ear and hand protection).