Submitted to Star

LAKE COUNTY -- Winter is right around the corner and Blain's Farm & Fleet wants to make sure that you and your outdoor power equipment are ready. When the snow finally melts and everything is green again, the last thing you want to worry about is your equipment not working after a long cold winter.

To keep your equipment in good shape for next spring, you'll need to do more than simply store it indoors or throw a tarp over it. Blain's Farm & Fleet has put together a few simple steps you can take to properly winterize equipment.

The first step is to make sure all the gas is out of your engine. This can be done in two ways -- siphon out the remaining liquid or start the engine and let it run dry.

A pro tip for running the engine dry is to add back a small amount of premixed fuel after it has stopped, then let it run again for another minute or two. This will allow the premixed gas to circulate through the carburetor.

The premixed fuel is higher in octane and has a fuel stabilizer built in. Without it, the fuel can begin to breakdown during storage and clog the carburetor. This leads to your frustration the first time you try to start it back up in the fall. Second, before your lawn equipment sits all winter long, it's important to give it a good cleaning. Clean off any grass, dirt or other debris.

Last but not least, while everything is disassembled, it's the perfect time to make any needed repairs, sharpen any cutting edges and replace worn out belts, chains or spark plugs.