Q. Do I really have to drain the gas from my snow blower before I store it for the season?

A. That depends. If you've added fuel stabilizer—an additive sold by power-equipment dealers and home centers—to the gas in your snow blower, all you need to do is top off the fuel before you put your snow blower in storage. That leaves no room in the tank for water to condense and collect over the warm weather months and helps keep the fuel from degrading over time, which can lead to clogs.

But if you've used gas straight from the pump at the station, which is generally blended with up to 10 percent ethanol, you do want to drain the fuel before you put your snow blower in storage. "When ethanol mixes with condensed water inside your snow blower's gas tank, it forms a corrosive acid that can clog a carburetor, causing starting problems," explains Peter Sawchuk, Consumer Reports' test program leader for outdoor power equipment. Sawchuk suggests using a store-bought gas siphon or a turkey baster to remove most of the gas, then running your snow blower until the tank is dry and the machine stalls out. The gas that you've removed from your snow blower can be funneled right into your car.

If you're not comfortable siphoning, another option is to top off the tank with gas, but this time add stabilizer in the proper proportion, which you'll find specified on the product bottle, prior to storage.

For more storage tips, learn how to properly stow your snow blower. And for related information about snow blowers, see our snow blower buying guide.