There are a few things that gardeners take for granted each spring. One of them is that lawn mowers, tillers, string trimmers, leaf blowers, and other power equipment will just magically start with the first pull or turn of the switch. Unfortunately, if your power equipment hasn’t been stored properly, you might be waiting for weeks before you can get it repaired in spring. One way to ensure your tools are ready to use when you need them is to store them properly. Properly stored power tools are more likely not only to run in spring, but to do so efficiently, allowing you to keep up with lawn and tilling projects.

905Small two-cycle gas-powered engines found on string trimmers and leaf blowers can be tricky to start even under ideal situations. This winter, remove the spark plug and replace it if it’s worn. You might even place a teaspoon of motor oil in the crankcase, place the spark plug back on, and pull the cord a few times to lubricate the engine.

For all gas-driven engines, be sure the gas tank is full for winter. This will reduce the chances of condensation and water buildup in the gas tank. You can also add a fuel stabilizer to help prevent water buildup. Run the engine for a few minutes to allow the stabilizer to circulate throughout the carburetor.

Clean the mowing deck, tiller blades, and string trimmer bottoms well, removing soil and grass. Any materials left on the metal can lead to rusting and weaken the parts. Remove and sharpen mower blades now, so you don’t have to remember to do it in spring. Replace severely worn or dented blades. Change the oil on your mowers and tillers, so you will have fresh oil for spring. Tighten bolts and replace the oil and air filters on your engines.

For battery-powered equipment, remove and store the battery in the basement or a 60 degree F room, so it doesn’t completely lose its charge. Check the charge periodically through the winter and recharge it if it gets low.