Good maintenance of string trimmers means knowing how to store them properly, whether between trimming sessions or over winter. But should you store your gas trimmer vertically or horizontally?
Trimmer storage vertical or horizontal? A gas string trimmer can be stored vertically or horizontally. Vertical storage can allow for better use of space using commercial or DIY wall hangers.
However, storing your trimmer isn’t all about the way you hang it. Don’t just put it away and call it done. Whether you’re storing it for winter or just between trimming sessions, there are a few key things you need to know. But first, let’s deal with the vertical string trimmer storage question in-depth…
Can You Store A String Trimmer Vertically?
Gas string trimmers can be stored vertically. Many manufacturers including Stihl actually recommend vertical storage (source). Hanging a trimmer on a wall in a shed or even in a portable enclosed trailer is a common organization strategy used by both homeowners and lawn care professionals.
You can buy inexpensive wall hangers for a string trimmer (link to Amazon) if you have a finished garage or storage shed. If the inside walls are unfinished, however (meaning the studs are visible), you can quickly make a DIY solution.
Simple DIY vertical storage
Cut a 2x4 to the length needed to cross over two studs on the wall. Level and nail or screw it into place and you can easily hang your string trimmer with the head down.
Here’s how I hung my Stihl Kombisystem and a few other accessories in my shop:
Now, this does bring up another important and somewhat controversial topic…
Should I Hang A Weed Eater With The Engine Up Or Down?
Homeowners and professionals alike take strong positions on this topic. Honestly, I’ve mounted my Stihl Kombisystem vertically on the wall both with the engine up and with it down. There are arguments for both approaches.
Most manufacturers recommend that you hang your string trimmer with the engine up when storing vertically. This is done to prevent fuel leaks and suspend the trimmer with less supported weight hanging freely.
That being said, I’ve never had any issues hanging mine with the engine down. I’ve done it both ways and have never had any leaks. Still, the generally accepted method is to hang the trimmer with the engine up.
How to store a weed eater for winter
Let’s talk about good storage practices.
When winter comes, it can be tempting to just put that string trimmer away and move on but you may end up regretting it if you don’t take a few preventative storage steps.
Here are some important best practices to keep in mind when storing a string trimmer during winter.
Before storing, it’s important to clean your gas trimmer. Clear all of the grass dirt, dust, or anything else stuck to it. Make sure the fins are clean of debris (this is where heat transfer occurs and if they get clogged up you can end up with a trimmer that overheats). Rinse the working end with water if needed. Let it dry.
Once you are done cleaning, you should give it a good inspection.
Next, it’s a good idea to grease the shaft if your model requires it (some come pre-greased with a sealed system that is good for the life of the tool).
Can I Add A Fuel Stabilizer To A Weed Eater For Winter?
If you are going to leave fuel in your weed eater’s tank over the winter, you definitely want to add a fuel stabilizer. However, manufacturers are increasingly encouraging customers to drain the fuel tank prior to storing for extended periods.
Gas purchased at your local pump can go bad quickly if you leave it stored in the tank over winter. Many people believe that when you mix the gas and oil together in the tank, the oil prevents the gas from going bad. This is 100% untrue. Homemade premix fuel does go bad. It will not last nearly as long as a commercial premix.
Part of the reason for this is the use of ethanol-free fuel in commercial premixes. While it does cost more than the gas you are getting at the pump, it stores longer and does not introduce ethanol into your engine which can cause significant problems over time.
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If you are using pump gas that contains ethanol, companies such as Stihl recommend draining the tank, pumping the primer until dry, and then starting and running the engine until all fuel is burned (source).
If you opt for a commercial premix that uses ethanol-free gas, you can usually store the string trimmer for winter with the fuel inside.
Recommended reading: Stihl Motomix vs Premixed Alternatives: 4 Products Compared
Basic Gas Trimmer Maintenance
To keep your string trimmer running well, you need to maintain it. Gas trimmers are especially notorious for their need for maintenance. If you aren’t wanting that part of the bargain, consider the advantages of battery-powered yard tools.
Always check your manual to see what the manufacturer’s thoughts are on maintenance. There’s usually some form of maintenance information, and this is the best thing to check before doing anything else. The manuals often have a schedule that you can follow when it comes to maintenance.
Remember that the two biggest issues that cause break-downs for 2-stroke engines are fuel-system or air-system problems.
Make sure you are using fresh fuel that is properly mixed. You can forego this concern by using a commercial premix like Trufuel (link to Amazon).
Be on the lookout for any signs of fuel leaks or compromises in the primer bulb and fuel lines.
Check the air filter. Some can be cleaned but these are generally inexpensive to replace and it’s good practice to start each season with a new one.
Make sure your fuel filter is clean. A clogged fuel filter can keep a string trimmer from starting. If it does start, it may choke down and die when throttled.
Check the spark plug. If it’s a little grimy you can usually clean it with gasoline and a toothbrush or small wire brush.
Maintaining your trimmer regularly will make it last longer and run better. Follow these basic rules of maintenance, along with what’s on your user manual, and you’ll have less headaches in the long run.
See you in the yard!