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Discussion Starter #1
For those here who work on other peoples snowblowers and mowers for money or who sell used equipment, do we have an obligation to tell them they need to use a fuel stabilizer such as Sta-Bil and/or fuel carb cleaner such as Seafoam, Gumout, Techron?

Shops don't do this. I'm tired of explaining what it is,what it does, the importance of it, how much to use, how often. Then 99% don't do it! I've wasted my time and time is money, time is relaxation, time is time spent with my family, time is spent on my own projects, then there is the frustration I have.

If we don't tell them to use it, then somewhere down the road we are guaranteed to get it back for an income repair.

Now I quickly and lightly mention it to them to use them (satisfied my conscious!) since most won't do it, I will get the equipment back somewhere down the road, and I'm a nice guy that cares about them. I've also discovered the people that do buy it, don't go ahead and use it, forget to use it, or tired of doing it.

I now put both Sta-Bil and Seafoam in my stored gas thus it's in my snow blowers tank automatically. Same during the summer for my mowers. And initially in the customers.

When I work on someone's blower or mower, I always drain the gas prior to any work as I want fresh gas in there that has no water in it when I give it back to them. And I always give then a full tank of gas that I know is good. This way when they call me up a few weeks later when it doesn't start, i ask if they put gas in it when they ran out or got low, Yes, so it ran great when you took it and used it, until you put your gas in it? ........ Lol Yea.
 

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people appreciate honesty and in the long run you will be rewarded for it. they may not have a starting problem or a surging carb that needs a cleaning but they will come back to you for other repairs because in their heads they are saying " this guy is honest and will do right by me "

anytime your conscious is bothering you because of something you did not disclose it is because your guardian angel is trying to make you do the right thing.

we have an auto mechanic in town who is honest to a fault. he works out of a crappy old garage which is filthy, does a ton of work "pro bono" , refers people to other garages if he can't do a repair , uses used parts if he can , charges a reasonable labor rate and basically uses the "Golden Rule" when conducting his business.

and surprise-surprise!!!! he has so many people he can barely keep up. his sons work with him. it's a whole family affair with the daughter handling the front desk. he is so busy he had to stop taking new clients. he just works with his old existing clients. he could be a multi-millionaire if he wanted to expand and modernize but is happy the way he is. I have had several good talks with him about his philosophy.

sure he could be like everyone else and buy a modern 5 bay auto repair shop , hire expensive techs, double his rates and make unsuspecting people pay thru the nose ( we have several shops like that in town ) they poo-poo this guy but the locals know better. I guess people like "shiny" and are willing to pay for it from these high tech shops.

he lives in a nice home in the nice part of town and is well respected and loved by the community.

I would want to be that guy if i ran a small engine shop.

With your example, follow your conscious and you will never be wrong. I don't think you are wasting your time. The payback may not be immediate but in the long run you will be very successful.
 

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The effectiveness of fuel stabilizers are limited. I explain that the longevity of properly stored fuel can be extended with the use of stabilizers.

Fuel in the carburetor should not be considered stored. Stabilizer will not help much. All fuel in carburetors needs draining for periods over a month. In my opinion.

A full gas container of any type can be considered “stored.”
 

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Do it. I even printed up my own manual of fuel storage and the different methods and effectiveness of each method. I ziptie to handle bars in a zip lock bag on the machines serviced. They will either follow and tell there neighbors how great and helpful you are, or not follow and be back for help. Works like a charm.
 

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I can see how advising on stabil or some of dedicated fuel stabilizer might be a good idea

Seafoam IMO is way OVERATED IMO. It's just light solvents, etc......
I know plenty swear by it for whatever reason unknown. Personally, I don't see how a tank of that does anything in OPE. I'd rather just have someone give me $3 for a fresh gallon of gas.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Seafoam IMO is way OVERATED IMO. It's just light solvents, etc......
I know plenty swear by it for whatever reason unknown. Personally, I don't see how a tank of that does anything in OPE. I'd rather just have someone give me $3 for a fresh gallon of gas.
I have used many fuel cleaners throughout the years and never noticed any difference whether running good or having problems, did nothing, car, truck, or equipment. I used it yearly in my vehicles as a so what additive, may help, or prevent a problem, certainly cheap and won't do any harm.

I never even heard of Seafoam until I came on this site this past January.I

This summer I had a problem with my wife's 2005 Toyota RAV4 with 155,000 miles. It ran good but I lost power, didn't seem to have the pep anymore. I put a can of Seafoam in a full tank of gas, within just a few miles, maybe 5? 15? I had all the original pep back. It's been 6 months and the vehicle is running fine. I'm sold on Seafoam. This is a vehicle that once or twice a year I put a fuel injector cleaner in to maintain it. Guess that those did nothing. Seafoam did! And saved me $100+ from an intense cleaning from a service station.
 

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I totally agree with the comments from orangputeh on this topic. Doing the right thing should always be the first choice, regardless of whether or not people/customers adhere to the experienced wisdom you've provided. I have tried to live by this standard and have taught my sons, hopefully by example, that there is never justification for doing the wrong thing. I like the idea of treating people the way you would hope they would treat you, especially when it involves customer service. In the end, your heart and mind are clear. Besides, if you use this as a standard, your memory greatly becomes more accurate.


Happy New Year!
 

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No, you don't have an obligation, but if you want to help customers out you might want to see if they are up to speed on off-season layup procedures.
 

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28 years ago when I bought my first mower I'm sure glad the guy I bought it from took the time to explain to me how to take care of it.
 

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Been using Stabil and Seafoam in all my gas containers for many, many years .... never had an issue on any equipment. I have my family doing the same, saves me a lot of time from having to clean theirs out ... proofs in the results ...
 

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I started using Sta-Bil products in the marine engines way back when. Not so much to keep the carbs clean, more to help keep the fuel from going bad and stinking. I always ran the carburetors dry after use, and continue that theme today. So no varnish left from evaporated fuel.

Fast-forward from way-back-then to this snowblower. The manual suggests that stabilizer is needed if the fuel will be more than IIRC a month old. Also states that the carburetor should be run out of fuel after each use -unless- a fuel stabilizer is used. I'm a conservative old engineer, and figure that manufacturers seldom put instructions in a manual for no reason. My logical extrapolation from the manual suggests that I should use stabilizer in any gas that might sit for more than a month no matter where it's stored, so some Sta-Bil goes into the gas can before it gets filled at the local station. Next, regardless of whether the gas is treated or not, I run the carburetor dry after each use. Seems that certain fractions of the fuel evaporate faster than others, and that while having stabilized fuel might keep some of the low-boiling fractions from flashing off, eventually it's all going to evaporate and leave the non-boiling stuff to plug up the carburetor. It's way simple to set the throttle to idle speed with the fuel shut off, and let it run everything out of the carb while I wander inside and report, pee, and then open the garage door. Then check the oil, refill the tank with more treated fuel, knock the snow out of the bucket, and drag the machine back inside where it likes to wait for more snow.

That's my thinking on the subject.
 
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I don't do commercial repairs or anything. But I suggest using stabilizer to folks at work, when maintaining small engines come up.

I sold a generator recently, and made sure to tell the buyer about using stabilizer, and preferably also running the carb dry. Blowers and generators are items that, when you need them, you need them. And that isn't the time to finally learn about stabilizer, when it's cold and your generator won't start.

So I agree wholeheartedly with at least offering advice. For commercial work, I like the idea of returning machines with fresh, stabilized gas, and I like guilateen02's approach of including printed information about fuel care.

I would imagine that yes, you may lose some subsequent repair business, due to machines having healthy carbs. But that should be weighed against the fact that these customers have a good experience with you, and feel that you're actually looking out for them. They may be more likely to return when they have some other equipment problem, and would be more likely to recommend you to their friends.
 

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How about attaching a handbill to each paid invoice and mention it briefly? Stabil or others may have them available for free or you can just work up a document and get it photocopied. That will linger longer than your spoken word. Done right you should be able to sell enough additive to come out revenue favorable. If successful return revenue for bad fuel will drop but you'll get good will for being the guy that educated.

Are you obligated? No, I don't think so. However I think we both (all) know that there is a spectrum of folks out there and this forum is a subset that is tuned into this stuff We are not the normal even if it's all second nature common sense to us.

I think it really comes down to how do you want to add value to distinguish yourself and earn patronage.
 

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I always drain the fuel and fill with fresh stabilized fuel when I deliver or they pick up. I also try to buy the small bottles of Stabil when on sale. As a value added part of my service my customers will get the little bottle of Stabil and a quart of oil. I tell them to check the oil each time it is used and to keep fresh stabilized fuel available. Most ignore it and I find unopened bottles of Stabil and oil in their garage.
 

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Everything I have ever sold or repaired for others I have always told them to use stabilized gasoline or ethanol free gas. I have always used a combination of Startron and Seafoam. I never drain any of my equipment and I never run the carbs dry. I have never had any starting or running problems, ever. Recently we had a local gas station start selling ethanol free gasoline so now I don't even bother to use the stabilizers any more.
 
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