fuel for thought

Fuel for Thought: Avoid Small Engine Repairs by following this mower fuel recommendation

What do you mean? The Right Fuel?

If you’re like most folks, you probably don’t pay much attention to the type of gas you put in your lawnmower, leaf blower, snow thrower, or other small engine power tool. Well, you may want to pay attention to this mower fuel recommendation.

Gas stations are now offering more fuel choices than ever. Some of these gas products should not be used in small engine power equipment, such as mowers, garden tractors, chainsaws, snow throwers, trimmers, generators, water pumps, and irrigation systems.

According to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), most gas sold today has up to 10% ethanol (E10). But recently, gas stations have begun to sell gas with higher amounts of ethanol (E15, 30, 50, and 85). While these new blends are perhaps cheaper, they can be “mower” costly in the long run (apologies for that pun).

High levels of ethanol can gum up your carburetor, corrode metals and rubber, and damage or destroy your engine. In fact, using fuel that contains more than 10% ethanol is illegal in outdoor power equipment. It can also void your warranty. Make sure you use the right fuel and “look before you pump.”

Murdoch’s Service Center Advice

We see a lot of damaged equipment come through our doors. Take our mower fuel recommendation to avoid common repairs and engine performance issues.

We sell Stihl, Husqvarna, and Honda small engine equipment. Husqvarnas use a Briggs & Stratton or Honda engine, while the Stihl and Honda machines use their own respective engines. Murdoch’s service center mechanics are certified to repair all of these products. Here are our fuel recommendations from the repair centers:

  • Use high octane – this is the only way you can get non-ethanol fuel in most of our store locations. Most fuel stations will mark this as snowmobile fuel and have their own pump handle.
  • Only purchase a 30-60 day supply at a time (1 or 2 gallons for most homeowners)
  • Use fuel stabilizers with every fuel can fill up (Marine Stabil or Seafoam)
  • Do not store your equipment with fuel in it for longer than a couple of weeks without use.
  • Using ethanol fuels will also deteriorate fuel lines and gaskets over time, causing fuel leaks and the risk of fire.
  • Click for more info about our services

Briggs & Stratton Website Advice

  • Fuel for your lawnmower or outdoor power equipment must meet these requirements:
    • Clean, fresh, unleaded
    • A minimum of 87 octane
    • Gas with up to 10% ethanol (gasohol) or up to 15% MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) is acceptable. But gas with up to 15% ethanol (E15) is not recommended or approved for use in small engines.
  • Do not use an unapproved fuel type or modify your Briggs & Stratton engine to run on alternative fuels. These actions can cause damage to small engines and will void your Briggs & Stratton warranty.
  • All fuel is not the same. If starting or performance problems occur in your lawnmower or equipment, change fuel providers or change brands.
  • Here’s a helpful link to more info from Briggs & Stratton 

Murdoch’s Service Centers are certified to repair Honda, Briggs & Stratton, Stihl, Kawasaki, and Kohler.

Honda Website Advice

Your Honda lawnmower is designed and manufactured to precise specifications to ensure years of trouble-free operation. This includes the fuel system. However, the properties of gasoline can quickly lead to stale fuel causing starting or running problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system if precautions are not followed.

  • Do not use gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol in your Honda lawnmower.
  • Gasoline containing higher levels of ethanol is corrosive and attracts water, which can cause starting or running problems or, in some cases, damage your lawnmower’s fuel system.
  • Here’s a helpful link to Honda

Stihl Website Advice

  • A 10% ethanol fuel can be used on your Stihl equipment, but this comes with a very important clause: if proper precautions are used.
  • Always use fresh fuel.
  • Store your equipment properly.
  • Equipment needs to be serviced regularly by a dealer, like Murdoch’s Service Center.
  • Here’s a helpful link to more info from Stihl

So, to sum up, don’t gum up your engine with high ethanol gas. Know before you mow.