7 Fixes for Common Small Engine Failures

Mike Hudec is our problem solver. Here at AMSOIL, we lovingly refer to him as simply “Hudec.” As Senior IT...

October 13, 2017

Mike Hudec is our problem solver.

Here at AMSOIL, we lovingly refer to him as simply “Hudec.” As Senior IT Project Manager, Hudec solves problems. He makes sure our IT Department is working on the right projects at the right time with the right resources.

When he’s not at work, Hudec also enjoys solving problems – he can most likely be found in his coveralls repairing small engines for friends and family in “Mike’s Garage for Small Engine Repair.” Check out his story below.

How to fix common small-engine issues

We sat down with Hudec to see what common issues people run into with small engines and how to prevent them. Hudec’s top two causes for engine failure revolve around fuel issues and inadequately preparing equipment for seasonal storage.


gas station pump ethanol

  • Buy high-octane fuel specified for small engines. Hudec took me on a field trip to a local gas station. He pointed out that some fuel pumps are labeled for recreational use. Lower-octane fuels contain ethanol that may cause damage to your small engine’s carburetor. Always consult your owner’s manual on fuel recommendations before you head to the pump.
  • Use a fuel additive designed to keep components clean and stabilize fuel during short-term storage, such as AMSOIL Quickshot, in your transport gas can. Be sure to follow the recommendations for everyday use.
  • Only add enough gas to your small engine to complete the job at hand – it’s ok to run your small engine out of fuel.
  • Buy only enough fuel to last a month or two. Just because you have a five-gallon gas can doesn’t mean you need to buy five gallons of gas (unless you are going to use it fairly quickly). Use fresh gas. If you have an inline fuel shut-off valve, Hudec recommends closing it after you are done using your equipment and running the carburetor out of gas. Just make sure to open the valve back up when you go to use your equipment again.
  • After your small engine has cooled down, be sure to clean it off and give it a good inspection. That way you will notice any leaks or other minor issues before they turn into major problems.

Storageamsoil 10w-30 small engine oil

  • If possible, avoid storing your small engine outside. Exposing it to the elements shortens its lifespan.
  • Be sure to prepare your small engine for seasonal storage. Do so by draining the fuel from the tank and carburetor bowl and changing the oil prior to storage. If you elect to leave the gas in the tank during storage, stabilize it with AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer, which keeps fuel fresh up to 12 months. Run the engine for a few minutes to warm the oil, then shut it off and drain the oil. Wear gloves so you don’t burn yourself. Warm oil flows faster and more completely from the sump, ensuring you get the majority out. Take your time when adding new oil to avoid over/under filling – live by the dipstick. Hudec uses 10W-30 Synthetic Small-Engine Oil in small engines found in (not limited to) mowers (zero-turn, riding, stand-on, push), generators, power washers and other equipment that requires SAE 30, 5W-30 or 10W-30 motor oil. Consult your owner’s manual for the correct viscosity recommendations.

No one likes a problem – unless, like Hudec, you enjoy fixing them. To avoid problems with your small engines, use the right fuel and keep it fresh, drain the fuel system and change the oil before you store it for the season – it’s all about prevention.

Hudec says, “Take care of your small engines and they will take care of you.”


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