I know your recommend a gas stabilizer for fuel storage, but my lawn mower motors seem to be running fine without it.

gasoline, additives, storage, science
Dear Tom and Ray:

Last year I forgot to drain out my gas in several lawn-mower-type motors,
and this spring, they all started perfectly. I know you guys have
recommended a gasoline stabilizer for seasonal storage, but how come my
motors started right up? I used unleaded gas without alcohol. Without the
lead, can gas be stored without varnishing? -- Elmer

RAY: I can tell you're a scientist, Elmer. You've experienced an
interesting phenomenon -- your lawn mower started perfectly after a winter
of storage -- and now you're testing a promising theory: Can unleaded
gasoline be stored without producing varnish?

TOM: And like a scientist, you're about to utter the well-worn words "Dang!
Back to the ol' drawing board." The phenomenon you experienced, Elmer, was

RAY: Unleaded gas still tends to varnish. And without a gasoline
stabilizer, a lot of engines stored with sitting gasoline over a period of
many months won't start. And worse, their carburetors may need to be
removed and cleaned if you ever want to get them started again.

TOM: This is a classic application of our famous Great Unyielding Truth:
It's the stingy person who spends the most. You try to save a few bucks on
a can of gasoline stabilizer, and you end up having to rebuild the
carburetor later on.

RAY: So you can press your luck again next year, Elmer, and you may get
away with it. Or you can play it safe and take our advice: Bite the bullet,
buy a can of stabilizer and ensure yourself a place next year among the
great, unvarnished masses.
Tags (Browse All)
gasoline, additives, storage, science

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login / Signup
Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic

Promo tile

Rocket Fuel