Monday, March 18, 2013

Tips for Getting Your Tools Ready for Spring

Randy Scully, STIHL Inc.
As the warm weather approaches and the landscapes start turning green again, it's time to pull out your equipment for those spring projects.  These tips from Randy Scully, national service manager for STIHL Inc., will help you get the most out of your tools this season.

Top 10 Checklist:
A good place to start is to use the checklist on our website to get a good feel for the condition of your equipment before you use it.

Spring Maintenance Guide:
  • Clean your equipment, if you did not do so before storing for winter.
  • Thoroughly inspect your equipment, including the safety features, to ensure all is working properly. For example: 
    • All products: visually inspect the complete machine; check the housings for cracks; and ensure proper operation of all controls.
    • Chain saws: check the hand guard and chain brake.
    • Trimmers: inspect deflectors
    • Edgers: check cutting guard
    • Hedge trimmers: inspect cutter blade guard
  • Retighten all accessible screws and nuts   
  • Replace the trimmer line on trimmers and brushcutters.   
    • Trimmer line dries out and older line will break more easily, so be sure to stock up for spring.
  • Inspect and sharpen, or replace, blades, as necessary, on all cutting tools and attachments, including hand tools, edgers, hedge trimmers, lawn mowers, etc., following the directions in the manufacturers' instruction manuals.
  • For gasoline-powered equipment, you'll also want to:
    • Start with fresh fuel. Old fuel can cause issues with the engine leading to problems running the equipment.
    • For STIHL equipment, we recommend you mix fresh 89+ octane fuel and STIHL HP Ultra mix oil at 50:1 ratio, but you should follow the specific instruction manual for each piece of equipment, whatever the brand or model. 
    • Try STIHL MotoMix® ethanol-free premixed fuel (w/a shelf life of up to two years once opened).
    • Dispose of old fuel properly (including fuel left in equipment over the winter) – ideally, you will have emptied the fuel tank before storing the equipment.
    • Replace the spark plugs after 100 operating hours (or as recommended in the manufacturer’s instruction manual).
    • Check and change oil and oil filter in your lawn mower and other applicable equipment, as required per manufacturer’s recommendation. For more information to keep your mower running smoothly, check out these tips from Consumer Reports.
    • Clean or replace the air filter according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
  •  For electric equipment, you should:
    • Charge the batteries for your battery-powered equipment. No hassle of mixing fuel, just make sure your batteries are charged, and, with the 36-volt STIHL Battery KombiSystem power tools, you can be ready to tackle your yard’s needs. 
    • Recycle your old batteries; find a recycling location at
    • Inspect power cords on corded electric landscaping tools.
  • Be sure you have the proper personal protective equipment for each of your products, as indicated in the instruction manual. 
    • Reduce the risk of injury with the latest protective equipment, whether it’s chaps, glasses, gloves, boots or helmet systems. 
    • If you already have protective apparel and equipment, be sure to inspect it thoroughly to make sure it meets the proper standards. For example: a cut in your chaps or crack in your helmet means it’s time for new gear.
  • Check the manufacturers’ instruction manuals for other recommended maintenance.
  • Take your equipment to your local independent servicing dealer for a tune up. 
    • Be sure to visit your servicing dealer early in the season to get a head start on all your handheld outdoor power equipment needs. To find a STIHL dealer, visit the  STIHL dealer locator
Now you’re ready to keep your yard looking its best all season long! In addition to following these tips, always review your instruction manual at the start of a new season. These tips will not only help protect your equipment, but will help protect you, the operator, as well. For yard and garden projects beyond your capabilities, hire a professional. Need help finding a certified professional in your area? Find a landscaper here or visit or for arborists/tree care companies. For more information on STIHL, visit


    1. I service all my power equipment and all I have to do is add fuel at the begining of the season, right afer making preliminary service checks like oil levels and tire pressure.
      At the end of the work day my Stihl chainsaw is readied to run for those unexpected times.
      Properly maintained equipment is safer and cost effective to operate over neglected equipment which would need costly repairs.

    2. I replaced the chain brake handle on my MS 280 after about three years of use because the exhaust had partially burned it and made it brittle enough to crack. Otherwise it has been a very good saw. I cut up several cords of wood a year as well as trimming work around the neighborhood.

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    4. It's a good idea to check up on your tools before breaking them out of the shed or garage. I learned this the hard way when I discovered one of my equipment had faulty AC power cords from improper storage.

    5. From my work as a part time utility man from a timber company, the power saw and chainsaw from hitachi power tools australia are among the finest. Light weight and is very adaptive to power consumption with proven rates of efficiency.

    6. I also have problems with my tools and lawn mowers at my garage. Winter really does a lot of destroying on metal. Good thing there's an anti-ice covers that can protect every tools in my garage including my favorite lawn mower.

    7. Nice! All the tips you have just provided are the ones I need to get my rotary table tailstock ready. Thank you very much!

    8. I've prepared all my mazak live tools, chainsaw and even manuals, and I'm already excited to make/break/repair or construct any stuff this season. Thanks for your tips! Now all I need to do is to convince my guy friends that I can handle "boys' toys."

    9. I'm getting ready to handle massive equipment this time. Lifting tables, conveyor systems, etc... no more little rotary tables and stuff. Thank for your tips! My brothers won't let me handle the chainsaw.

    10. My dad's friend is a general contractor, and he's very careful when he or his workers are handing the equipment. I have to remind them about the protective equipment. Thanks!

    11. Luca, glad you are reminding folks about wearing their protective. It doesn't take much to put it on, and it can mean all the difference for the safety of your employees.

      1. Yes, I keep reminding my dad to remind his workers too! And I actually printed this for them. Thank you!

    12. It's always better to take some precautionary measures while working especially if it's an outdoor job. Extra protection is never too much when it comes to keeping yourself safe and sound.

    13. When using this kind of equipment, it is necessary to have the proper safety gear. I once chipped a tooth because of this negligence, better be safe than sorry.

    14. At the end of the work day my Stihl chainsaw is readied to run for those unexpected times.

    15. No doubt it is best to start with fresh fuel in the spring. However adding a quality fuel stabilizer in the fall is better than nothing as an alternative.

    16. Fuel Stabilizers help, however the ethanol issue still remains. Another option is a non-ethanol pre-mixed fuel like STIHL MotoMix.

    17. I want to say that your article is very helpful and offered always fantastic info in various ways,Thanks.

    18. Sadly when I start my trimmer in the spring it always performs as badly as it did in the fall, even after professional service it still performs poorly - Don't buy a STIHL machine!

      1. You have to be kidding, anonymous reply. Stihl has great equipment and it's easy to work on. All my yard hand tools are Stihl. Keep up the good work.

      2. Ronnie LemasterMay 4, 2014 at 3:04 AM

        Your Problem is not with your Tool It's with whoevers working on it . I,ve had the same Stihl Weedeater for almost 12 years .& I think I had to have a bump spring put in it is all I ever did besides regular service & Cleaning .

    19. Ronnie LemasterMay 4, 2014 at 2:51 AM

      I have a 20 inch Stihl Chainsaw that I use 6 days a week , I,ve had it about 2 1/2 to 3 years & its getting so it jerks the starter rope out of my hand when it don't start when the first time when its warm . Starts good Cold . What am I doing Wrong ???

      1. Ronnie. Not really sure what the problem with this would be. Normally these types of issues are fuel related but your best bet is to have your dealer take a look at it. Sounds like you know how to operate the saw, but something to consider is to gently pull the rope until you feel the piston at the top of compression, and then give it a hard pull to start. Might help.

    20. what happened to tom trebi?