Preventing Fuel Problems

Preventing Fuel Problems in Small Engines

About 75% of repairs made at Reynolds Lawn and Leisure are for fuel related problems and NO MANUFACTURER covers them under warranty. Luckily, these problems are very easy to prevent.


Untreated gasoline bought at the pump should be used within a month. Gasoline slowly deteriorates over time whether its in your mower or in your gas can. The deteriorated fuel leaves behind a gummy substance or varnish that clogs or ruins carburetors on small engines. Only purchase an amount of fuel that you'll be able to use in a 30 day period.


Mixing fuel stabilizer with your gas right at the pump will slow the deterioration. We recommend using a stabilizer year-round. Fuel stabilizer forms a layer on the top of the gasoline that prevents evaporation and prevents the absorption of moisture. Most new stabilizers also help fight ethanol problems. Almost all major brands make a fuel stabilizer. They all work and should be used year-round.


The most recent problem in the small engine world is ETHANOL. Ethanol is in most gasoline today and is wreaking havoc on small engines. Ethanol absorbs water faster, it distorts rubber gaskets and corrodes fuel lines. If possible, avoid gasoline containing ethanol all together. Buy ethanol free gasoline. Because of the small engine problems it is creating, gas stations everywhere are beginning to carry NON-ETHANOL fuel. It is usually on the premium pump, and will be labeled ETHANOL FREE. It might be a little more expensive, but it is sure to save you from expensive carburetor cleanings.


Most fuel related problems happen over the winter. The lawn equipment is stored for 3-4 months and the fuel goes bad. This is the most important time to treat and maintain your fuel. We recommend using a product like TRUFUEL. It is gas in a can that lasts at least 2-3 years. Run your piece of equipment until it runs out of gas. Pour in a can of TRUFUEL (possibly two cans for larger pieces of equipment). Start it back up and let it run for a couple minutes to get the TRUFUEL in the fuel system. Then you are ready to store it. TRUFUEL comes in 4 cycle, 50:1, and 40:1 mixes.