4 Steps to winterizing your two cycle engine

Well, the weather outside is indeed getting frightful, and unless you’ve taken up ice sculpting with your chainsaw, you are about to put most of your two cycle machines away for the winter. But, before you put them to bed with a gentle kiss and a pinch on the cheek; it might be a good idea to take a look at this quick weatherization checklist to learn the 4 steps to winterizing your two cycle engine:

Briggs and Stratton Oil
Briggs and Stratton Oil

Step 1: Replace the fuel.

You do not want to leave your old fuel in the machine all winter. Trust me on this. Drain your old fuel into an approved container. If you decide to discard it, take it to your local service station or mechanics shop. EPA says “dump it down the drain and you’ll have the black helicopters circling your house within the hour!” So don’t risk it. Them boys is serious.

Next, give the primer bulb a few pushes to remove any fuel left in the fuel system. The fuel will drain into the tank, so just dump that out too.

This is a good time to inspect and/or replace your fuel lines, primer bulb and fuel filter. Give them a tug and a push; wiggle them around. See, ethanol in the fuel can cause them to deteriorate very quickly, so check them out. If they’re stiff, brittle, sticky, cracked; replace them.

The best option is to leave the fuel tank empty until the next time you use it.  But if you prefer you can fill the fuel tank with fresh, ETHANOL FREE, pre-mixed fuel and secure the gas cap.

small engine spark plug unplugged
Small Engine Spark Plug

Step 2: Clean or replace the spark plug.

Remove the spark plug and inspect it for signs of wear or debris. Clean it if possible or replace it if you’re not sure.

Applying a light coat of two cycle oil to the threads and the ground terminal at the bottom of the plug will help to reduce oxidation or rusting while stored.

A couple of drops of oil directly into the spark plug hole will help to protect the piston and cylinder as well. Go ahead and re-install the plug now.

paper air filter
Small Engine Paper Air Filter

Step 3: Clean or replace the air filter.

Exam the air filter. Most foam filters can be washed, so if the filter is dirty, a little Dawn dish washing liquid and warm water will take care of it. Let it air dry thoroughly and re-install. If the filter cannot be cleaned or washed or is deteriorating, go ahead and replace it. Refer to your owners manual with any questions.

Chainsaw Chain Detail
Chainsaw Chain Detail

Step 4: (Chainsaw) Sharpen or replace the chainsaw chain.
Nothing is more annoying than pulling your chainsaw out to cut up some downed limbs and realizing your chain is dull or worse yet broken.  So before you put your saw away for storage sharpen the chain or replace it.

Trimmer Line
Trimmer Line

Step 4: (Trimmer) Fill the trimmer spool with trimmer line.
Want to be ready for spring? Fill your trimmer spool with the correct size of fresh trimmer line.

Echo Edger Blade
Lawn Edger Blade

Step 4: (Lawn Edger) Replace the edger blade.
Edger blades wear out.  We recommend changing the edger blade yearly.  Consider using the Oregon Magnum Edger Blade.  These are seriously the bomb.

We carry a large selection of 2-Cycle Engine Parts. If you need help finding your Small Engine Parts, please complete the Lawn Mower Parts Request Form and we will be happy to assist you.


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Bill Brown

Bill is the head of content creation for the LawnMowerPros Blog and DIY section. He’s been in the Outdoor Power Equipment Industry for years and he’s still learning new things everyday. You can often find him creating featured articles, DIY guides, videos, graphics and much more.