It has been our experience that certain practices/procedures can help immensely in the operation of your power equipment. Please keep in mind I am referring to the area of Lake County, Indiana. Lake and Porter County are somewhat unique in that the fuel available to the consumer at the pump is classified as "reformulated" or "oxygenated". There have been some other terms creatively applied to fuel by the refiners. The bottom line is the fuel is controlled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and creates some special problems for the operator and technician.
I have had excellent experience using BP Amoco, Shell, and Mobile. I use BP Amoco exclusively in the shop. I have found customers experience more problems and difficulties when using the 'off brand' fuel. I also recommend using an octane rating of 90 or better. This is a premium fuel rating and when you consider most of the power equipment engines are high compression design, it makes sense to use the high octane fuel.
- Store the fuel in a non-metallic container, keep the vents closed, and store the container on a wooden shelf. Do not store the fuel on the cement floor. Today's fuel has the tendency to draw moisture from the air (deliquescent) which forms an acid in the container. Keep the air away, and you reduce the number of problems. The use of a fuel conditioner such as Optimizer is highly recommended. If you are having problems starting and running your engine, and if the fuel is older than one week, change the fuel!
- Start and run the equipment once per week. This is especially important for snow blowers, pumps, and generators. I suggest you store the engine in the proximity of your trash containers. When it is time to move the trash from the garage to the curb, start the generator, pump, snow blower, etc. The time it takes for you to walk to the curb and back is sufficient to warm the engine, lubricate the bearings, and get fresh fuel into the combustion chamber. This way you will know for certain the last time the engine ran properly.
Following the above guidelines has saved many of our customers a great deal of grief and aggravation. If you wish to discuss fuels in more detail, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.