First, a bit of Taxonomy, or classification if you prefer a more common word. All UICEs fall into two big classes:
- Two-cycle engines. Here the gasoline is mixed in with the oil.
- Four-cycle engines. Oil is in one place, fuel in another.
There are likewise two big cycles in the Tao of UICEs:
- The fall cycle: putting away the stuff that is no good in winter (e.g. lawnmower).
- The spring cycle: prepping the stuff you will use in summer, again e.g. lawnmower.
The second sound rule is to stabilize your gas. This is indispensable for anyone who lives in a cold climate. Gasoline has a very limited lifetime, about three months from the time you buy it. So you add some obscure chemical to it, and it lasts a year. Essential for snowblowers, and really, really good for everything else. I buy some stuff called Sta-bil, because I can get it at the Willow hardware store. Stabilizers are said to keep gas from turning to jelly. Maybe so. I prefer to run my machine dry anyway. You add it according to directions on the container. I buy gas in 5-gallon lots (20 liters). I put the proper amount of Sta-bil into the 5 gallon container before I fill it up, and let the trip home shake it well.
If you have a two-cycle engine (e.g. edger or chainsaw), get rid of the gas before storing and that's it. My chainsaws live indoors in winter and always use stabilized gas.
And a special word about snowblowers. These UICEs are unusual because they have to run in the winter. So the cycles are completely reversed. You drain the gas in spring and in the fall you do the spring thing. What's the spring thing? I'll get to that next spring, I hope. If anyone really wants to know, right this instant, do the unusual: drop a comment! I will do a quick rundown for you.