April sure does have a way of playing with our minds. One day we're working up a sweat in the sun attacking some yard work and the next thing you know schools are closed because of winter weather conditions. But if you're like me and ready to hit the yard with some manly tools and machinery, this is for you. As you pull your various gas-powered tools, there are a few steps you can take to get your machine ready for use for the season.

Refresh Fuel: Before attempting to start your machine, make sure the fuel from last season has been drained and fresh fuel added. Unless you used a fuel preserver such as Stabil you'll want to change it out.

Carburator Check: If the engine isn't starting, unscrew the metallic dome from the carburetor. If it's got gunk in it, the engine won't start. Get a can of carburetor cleaner and reinstall. Gum-Out has a good cleaner and I always have it on hand in the garage.

Check Oil & Filters: This keeps your engine clean by preventing the buildup of particles and foreign materials. Filters are pretty cheap and they are not hard to change out.

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Inspect Blade: Safely remove the blade and replace it or bring it into the local hardware store to have the blade sharpened. A sharp blade cuts effectively and puts less stress on your machine. If you have the tools to do it yourself you can save some money. Plus, sharpening a blade is a manly thing to do.

Check Spark Plugs: Replacing spark plugs periodically is a cheap way to keep your engine running smoothly. Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time something traced back to a dirty sparkplug...well...I'd be a little richer.

Review Procedures: Refer to your user manual for your equipment’s product details, maintenance, and care schedule; tighten fasteners, nuts, bolts, straps, or handles; ensure warning labels are visible.

Organize Tools: There are few things more frustrating than a family member who used a screwdriver or a hammer and forgot to put it back where they found it. Fix-it issues are much more time-consuming and inconvenient when you can't find your tools. My wife and kids will tell you this is one of dad's biggest pet peeves. Honey...if you use a hammer and level to hang a picture...put them back in the toolbox! For the love of Pete! Okay...chill self. Just look at the puppies in the wagon and you'll be fine. 

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