Why lawn equipment breaks: How you can save your machines

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - When you buy blowers and mowers and weed wackers and hedge trimmers, you'd like them to last. Experts say there are four reasons why they don't.

The first is the gas you're using. Lawn equipment usually has a two or four cycle engine and they were not meant for the ethanol infused gas we use today. Ethanol can corrode carburetors and fuel lines, both of which will kill a machine.

Second, the time you let it sit unused. In as little as three weeks, gas can become stale. Using stale gas can build up gum and varnishes in the engine causing malfunctions.

Third - the ratio of oil to gas. If there's too much oil, carbon can build up in the muffler, stopping everything up forcing the machine to lose power. Too little oil, your engine won't get the lubrication it needs to function.

The fourth is disregard of maintenance. Make sure you change the fluids -- just like you would for a car's engine. Read the owner's manual -- then, follow through with proper care. Cheaper machines can last as long as the expensive ones if you follow the instructions.

If you're buying new equipment, look for the emissions compliance sticker. It's small and sometimes hidden, but has crucial information. The sticker indicates the number of operating hours for which the engine has been certified to meet EPA emission requirements. The range starts at 50 hours and goes up to 300, so you know it's been tested to last at least that long.

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