How to Winterize Your Equipment in 3 Fool-Proof Steps

Ryobi 7000-Watt Generator 14

Winterizing affects lawn care and equipment on the job site. Here are three fool-proof steps on how to winterize your equipment against fuel issues due to ethanol gasoline. Most people just stick some Sta-bil in their tanks and call it a season. That’s not how we do it around here.

The First Step to Winterizing Your Equipment is to Add a Little Fuel

Our goal here is to run out the fuel, so don’t fill up the tank just yet. We only want a little so we’re not wasting fuel—or our time. Start by using standard mid-grade 89-octane fuel. It’s a little more refined than 87-octane.

Add Some Sta-Bil to the Tank

Add some Sta-bil or other quality fuel stabilizer to the mix before adding your oil. Put just a few ounces of fuel/oil/stabilizer mix in the tank at most. 8 ounces treats up to 20 gallons of fuel. Since the goal is to run it out, you don’t need a lot.

Winterize Your Equipment Against Fuel Issues

Start the Engine and Idle It Until It’s Empty

Go through your standard starting procedure. Prime the engine, engage the choke, and pull the starter cord. Yes, you can push the button or turn the switch on an electric start. The key here is to let the engine run at idle speed until it completely runs out of fuel.

This gets most of the fuel out of the lines, but a little of it sticks around in the carburetor. You don’t have to figure out how to get it out, though. The stabilizer you put in will let it sit just fine for a few months until you’re ready to crank it back up. As we winterize our equipment, Sta-bil keeps coming to the rescue every year.

Sta-bil dosage amounts to winterize your equipment
How much Sta-bil to add to your gasoline for winterization and/or storage. We like buying one of the measuring bottles and then buy more Sta-bil in larger bulk containers for refilling as needed.

Go Ahead and Store Your Equipment for the Winter

Now you can winterize your equipment for storage at this point. Just make sure to put your equipment in a place where the elements won’t hurt it. In the Spring, you can add fuel, check your spark plugs, and (hopefully) start everything right up.

If you have an electric start motor, go ahead and unhook the connections so you don’t drain the battery.

Alternate Way to Winterize Your Equipment – Use High-Quality Fuel

You can also use high-quality fuel like Stihl’s MotoMix or TruFuel premixed gas and oil in your system. These companies refine the fuel much more than standard filling station gas. Consequently, they can sit for up to 2 years without breaking down.

If you’re using fuel like this, having to winterize your equipment is easy—just store it for the winter. It certainly won’t hurt to idle the fuel out, but you shouldn’t need to add a stabilizer to it.

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John Newell

I live in the Northeast so I have to deal with a lot of seasonal-use issues – boats, vehicles, snowblowers, generators, chainsaws… I used to use Sta-bil marine in all my fuels but it wasn’t as effective as it could be, especially in the smaller engines. (Sta-bil marine was at one time the only Sta-bil product that was advertised as protecting against methanol/ethanol damage.). I now use Sta-bil only where I have no other alternative. Ethanol-free gasoline isn’t readily available here, so vehicles and boats still get Sta-bil. For my generators, I converted to propane. It’s an easy conversion. Propane… Read more »

Ian Watts

Any thoughts about Sea-Foam rather than Sta-bil

David Sherwood

And for pressure washers & paint sprayers… run some RV antifreeze through your pumps & lines. It will protect the seals. I had a major manufacturer’s service tech tell me that a $3 a gallon RV antifreeze would do just as good as their $8 a qt pump preservative.

Daniel Kiss

Do any other DIYers just use fuel stabilizer all the time? I still run it out at the end of the season but I probably don’t have to.


You can’t just use plain Stabil anymore! I would highly advise using a stabilizer that neutralizes the ethanol in the gas, especially in 2-cycle engines. My usual product i get is Startron (avoid the small bottle, it is way less concentrated & not a great oz/$ value). It does now seem many more companies offer a similar product, but that is what I first bought upon recommendation. I thought it was going to be snake oil, but my 15 years old backpack blower hardly needs to get choked, if at all, when starting now. That ethanol is a slow kill… Read more »

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