Inspecting equipment

Mike Yoder, owner of Sears Hometown Store, Smithfield Township, advises customers to prepare snow throwers and other winter equipment now, before the first big storm.

With snow flurries in the forecast, now is the time to make sure winter tools are ready to go ahead of the first significant storm.

John Rader, the owner of Laney’s Feed Mill, Huntingdon, believes that power equipment owners should always begin with a general check of common implements, including generators, snow throwers, leaf blowers and chainsaws.

“The first thing you should do is a prep check; make sure the equipment works,” Rader said. “Common failures happen to things like generators and snow throwers ”

Rader continued with the specifics. Power equipment requires more than one may suspect.

“After the initial test, change the oil, add fresh gas—like a non-ethanol-blended fuel—and check lubrication and belts on your equipment,” he said.

Rental manager Time Wakefield of Allensville Planing Mill and True Value agreed with Rader.

“The issue with ethanol fuels is that they can cause issues with smaller engines,” Wakefield said. “Make sure that you drain the tank before adding new fuel. You’ll also want to add a stabilizer. It’s a fuel additive that helps the fuel last. Check the battery, too.”

Wakefield also advised on what type of motor oil residents should use.

“The best to use is variable weight oil, like 10w30,” he said. “The thickness of the oil changes depending on the temperature. It’ll prevent any issues as the seasons change.”

Mike Yoder, owner of the Sears Hometown Store in Huntingdon, also noted the importance of properly storing equipment.

“Apart from tune-ups and test runs, make sure to store equipment in a dry place,” Yoder said. “Some people let their larger equipment sit out, but they make sure to keep it covered. I would recommend it be covered when stored in a dry place, too.”

Rader said it’s important to make sure other equipment not used in winter, such as mowers, is also properly stored.

“Even if it’s not being used (in the winter),” Rader said, “it should still be serviced for the coming spring and correctly stored. That way no service should be needed later.”

Wilson’s Outdoor Power owner Mark Wilson added that special attention should be given to pressure washers.

“Electric and gas-powered pressure washers should be kept out of freezing temperatures,” Wilson said. “People will leave them out and the water inside them will freeze; they’re useless, then.”

Rader said if snow-removing equipment isn’t ready to go by now, owners won’t want to delay.

“Snow throwers, at least, should be checked by now,” Rader said. “Make sure to check equipment before the season begins.”

Yoder agreed.

“When you see the leaves come off the trees and the temps change, when it appears you won’t be mowing anymore, that’s the time to get ready,” said Yoder.

Joshua can be reached at


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