When it’s time to store your string trimmer for the winter, you can choose to stand it on the floor propped against the wall, lay it down, or hang it up. What’s the best way to store it? Is there any difference between storing a gas versus an electric or battery-powered model?
Is it OK to Store Weed Eater Upright?
While you can just stand the trimmer on the floor propped against the wall, you’re exposing it to the dust and dirt that accumulates on garage and shed floors. It can also be easily knocked down when you’re rummaging for something nearby. If you don’t notice or just leave it on its side, the gas left inside can seem into places it shouldn’t go.
Actually, most manufacturers of gas string trimmers recommend hanging the trimmer vertically with the engine facing upward. This takes the weight off the handle and prevents any fuel left in the system from leaking out and perhaps damaging other parts.
Even if the fuel doesn’t leak, it could flood the carburetor or air filters. While the filters are easy to replace, taking apart a carburetor and cleaning it is not, and is something you really want to avoid if you can.
How Do You Store a Weed Eater for the Winter?
Just as with lawnmowers, it’s a good idea to run the gas out of it, or at least drain it out into a gas can. Then run the trimmer until it stops to make sure there is no gas left anywhere in the system. Gasoline deteriorates with age.
Leaving gas in your trimmer to age leads to corrosion of parts and potentially can lead to water leaking into your system. Even a drop or two can cause damage to your trimmer, leading again to taking apart the carburetor, spark plugs and other parts and cleaning them thoroughly.
While you can add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank for winter storage, the tank is so small that it really is more work to do this than to just drain the fuel and run the rest out. If you do choose to use a gas stabilizer, run the trimmer enough to make sure the stabilized gas gets distributed throughout the system.
Cleaning is important before storage. This is when you use something like a brake parts cleaner or at least a mild detergent to clean off all the grimy film that covers parts of your trimmer. Grass clippings contain a little juice, and this can act like glue with tiny grass scraps to form clumps that cram into all the tiny spaces.
If the string guard on the base of your trimmer is made of metal, you should clean all the grass from it after each use anyway. Damp grass left on there can lead to rust. Even if the trimmer guard is made of plastic, leaving grass gunk on the underside builds up and hardens, making it that much harder to get off later and impeding the string’s movement.
Be sure to check the vent openings that allow air to flow into the trimmer. Grass residue can clog up these fins quite easily. Actually, these narrow air inlets should be checked periodically during use, especially when cutting damp grass and weeds, to make sure they aren’t getting clogged.
An old toothbrush with stiff bristles is great for getting into the air vents and other cramped places. You may even want to use a flat-bladed screwdriver to scrape out the vents and get into some of those tiny places.
Don’t forget to remove the string spool and clean underneath. Clean the cutting blade as well. Clean blades will last longer. The cleaner all the underside parts are, the better and easier the string will advance and cut. If it’s a model that automatically advances string with a tap, take off the cap from the tapping mechanism to make sure no debris has gotten inside the cylinder where the spring resides, hindering the spring’s action.
Clean the air filter or replace it if it’s in bad shape. If you’re handy with machines, it’s a good idea to check other parts, such as the spark plug and springs. The driveshaft should be lubricated with WD-40 or something similar. The motion of the string spool revolving causes vibration which can loosen fasteners over time.
Check all the screws and bolts for tightness and tighten any that are loose. Using light engine oil on the exposed metal parts before storing the trimmer over the winter will help protect them against rust.
How To Store Your Weed Eater Safely
There are all sorts of brackets and hooks that come in many shapes and sizes that will be fine for hanging your string trimmer. One on each side will support it firmly and keep it from shifting, or you can look for a bracket that ends in a U-shaped fork to hold it.
Closet shelf brackets designed to support a clothing rod give good support, as they feature long bases with two attachment points. Some hooks come covered or partially covered with a rubberized coating to keep the hooks from scratching what is hung on them. This will also provide a specific place for your trimmer, so you always know where it is when not in use.
How to Make a Gas Weed Eater Storage Bracket?
If you have a router, you can use a 2 x 6 and bore rounded slots into it to hold the handle and hold other yard tools with long handles. The engine will rest on top of the board. You can also install a horizontal board between two studs in your shed for hooks or brackets.
Place your hooks or brackets on either side of the trimmer the way they would be if it were hanging and measure the distance between them. This is how far apart you attach the hooks on the board. One board between studs can usually accommodate more than one tool.
There are so many gas-powered lawn tools available these days that it sometimes slips our minds that each one takes some specialized care, especially when putting them in storage for the winter. Remember that a little storage preparation will prevent any unpleasant surprises next spring.