What Should I Do Before I Store My Mower?
Properly winterizing your lawn mower is important, and will save you time, energy and money in the spring. This instructional checklist will guide you step by step.
- Add fuel stabilizer and run for 30 seconds
Because gas sitting in a mower’s tank can clog the carburetor and leaving an empty tank can encourage condensation, adding a fuel stabilizer to the existing gasoline is wise to do. Fuel stabilizers will prevent deposits and condensation through the winter. It is widely available in home improvement stores and some gas stations. Once you add the stabilizer, run the engine for 30 seconds so that the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.
With the increased prevalence of ethanol in gasoline today, it's not recommended to leave fuel in the tank for over 3 months. E10 gasoline degrades rapidly, some fuel stabilizers will slightly extend the shelf life of your fuel, but it will still break down and separate into layers of alcohol and fuel over time. Most of the damage caused from fuel sitting in your engine today is caused by the layer of alcohol created as ethanol blended fuel degrades. We recommend running stabilized fuel or pure gasoline through your engine and running it dry. After you've ran the tank dry and your mower has cooled off, make sure you drain the carburetor bowl by removing the bolt that holds it in place.
- Change the oil and service the filters
Be sure to refill the oil reservoir with clean oil before storing it and replace the oil filter. Depending on the size of your mowing area, changing a filter once per year is usually sufficient. Check the air filter, and if applicable, the fuel filter, for signs of deterioration and clogging. Clean or replace the filters, if needed.
- Remove and store the battery
Examine and remove the battery. If there are signs of corrosion, it may need to be replaced. If no signs of corrosion are present, the battery should be removed for storage in a clean, dry and warm area. Periodically charging it throughout the winter season will promote longer overall battery life.
- Disconnect the spark plug wire and change the spark plug
Examine the spark plugs for signs of corrosion. If signs of corrosion are seen, the spark plug should be replaced. If the plug does not need replacing, remove it, pour an ounce of motor oil into the cylinders, then crank the engine a few times in order to close the valves and prevent moisture from getting into the engine. Then, reinstall the plug for storage.
- Inspect and clean the deck, belts and blades, and tighten nuts and bolts
Look over the deck, deck belts, and blades and replace any belt showing cracks or deterioration. Wash the mower deck and the air intake screen. Scrape off grass clippings from the underside of the mower deck. Finish the deck with an application of protective silicone spray. Tighten all the nuts and bolts.
- Sharpen blades
This will save you the trouble of sharpening blades once spring arrives. Practice caution when dealing with this dangerous area. Consult your owner’s manual for the proper procedure for your machine.
- Pest deterrent
Half of the repairs we see in the spring are due to rodents getting into engine blocks, shrouding or eating up mower seats. Use a pest deterrent to prevent this damage.
- Lubricate, grease fittings and wearable items
Inspect the entire mower. Lubricate and grease all the fittings and any wearable items before storage.
- Properly store the mower
Safely store your cleaned and refreshed mower in a safe, dry area, and be sure to check your manual for any additional recommendations for your model. If storing inside, do not cover. This will prevent moisture buildup. If the mower is to be stowed outside, consider investing in a waterproof cover and be sure to remove and store the battery in an indoor location out of children’s reach.
With these tips, your lawn mower will be ready to cut with no fuss in the spring.
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