NotTaR of small Gasoline Engines and Rotary Lawn Mowers : Additional comments on winterizing - dra..  
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Additional comments on winterizing - draining versus the use of fuel a stabilizer

Not everyone agrees with the recommendation to drain the fuel at the end of the season as described in the section: General preventive maintenance.

(From: Dwayne (Dwayne@mddc.com).)

There is some argument that draining all the fuel from the system is bad, allowing the carb to dry out and the inside of the fuel tank to rust. That was the case on my motorcycle; the guy who had it always drained the fuel for storage and it ruined the tank. I always just add fuel stabilizer to the tank, fill it completely, and run it for a short time and have never had problems.

(From: Matt Howell (howell@ll.mit.edu).)

Fuel stabilizer's purpose is to prevent souring, and hence, the need to drain the fuel system before storage. In my experience, my equipment starts right up each season with stabilizer in the fuel. I would suggest you clean/rebuild the carburetor. Repair kits are cheap, and easy. Good luck!

(Editor's comments).

I have cleaned and rebuilt too many Tecumseh carburetors (mostly from neglected Craftsman lawn mowers). The cause in most of these was almost certainly gasoline left in the fuel tank between mowing seasons. You might get away with it for a couple of years but eventually the goop will prevail. I would definitely recommend draining the gas with these. The fuel tanks are plastic in any case and there are only a few steel parts in the carburetor and rusting of these is not that likely. A fuel stabilizer may not prevent the buildup of gunk and varnish as a result of the slow but inevitable process of fuel evaporation in the carburetor and replenishment from the fuel tank.

For other types, I would still recommend draining the fuel tank and running the engine until the carburetor is dry. I believe that this will result in the best long term reliability in most cases. Now, if you live in a swamp and mow the seaweed.... :-)

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