Prepare your Lawn Mower for the winter

For most homeowners and professional landscapers, lawnmowers are probably one of the primary investments. Proper care and regular maintenance will make your mower last for a long time. When the weather is turning cold, and the days are getting shorter, winter is approaching, and the mowing season is nearing its end. While there might still be a couple of days left for some yard work, it is safe to say that now is the perfect time to start preparing for the winter by adequately winterizing your lawn mower before storing it away until the spring arrives.

Prepare your Lawn Mower for the winter:

  • Step 1: Examine Your Lawn Mower
  • Step 2: Empty the Gas Tank
  • Step 3: Remove the Battery
  • Step 4: Remove the Spark Plug
  • Step 5: Clean the Fuel Cap
  • Step 6: Clean or Replace the Air Filters
  • Step 7: Check the Blade for Dullness or Damage
  • Step 8: Sharpen Dull Blades
  • Step 9: Clean the Mower
  • Step 10: Store it properly

The primary purpose of winterizing and storing your equipment away for the winter is for maximum protection against elements so that it can be in excellent condition when the warm weather finally returns. Properly winterizing your lawnmower is very important in maintaining its longevity. If you leave it in the open or expose it to the harsh winter condition, be ready to shop for a new mower in no time. Do you want to know how to prepare your lawnmower for the winter? Don't look too far. In this article, we have put together some steps that you can follow to help you prepare your lawnmower for winter.

How to Winterize your Lawn Mower

As another lawnmower season is gradually coming to an end, now is the best time to prepare your lawnmower for the winter, to ensure that it functions properly in the next spring. It might be quite tempting to ignore winterizing and worry about the lawnmower next year. However, procrastinating on this will only make it more challenging to start up and enjoy your lawnmower when the winter finally comes to an end. Simple maintenance tasks like replacing the engine oils, lubricating the greasy recess, changing the oil filters and spark plugs, and general cleaning before storing it for the winter will help ensure that they are up and running by the following year. Below are some important steps to follow:

Step 1: Examine Your Lawn Mower

One of the most important things to do when preparing to winterize your lawnmower is to carefully examine the mower for signs of any damage or repairs required. If any part of the mower is damaged, try to find out if it is worth repairing or not. If not, then you should replace the damaged item with a new and functioning one. It is also essential that you refer to the manufacturer's instructions in the owner's manual before performing any cleaning tasks or storage of the mower.

Step 2: Empty the Gas Tank

Another essential step before storing away your lawnmower for the winter is to empty the gas tank. It would be best if you do not store your lawnmower- or any equipment at that- with flammable contents in it, such as gasoline. You can either drain the gas into a pan or get rid of it by running the engine of your mower till it is dry. Doing this will help ensure that your lawnmower starts up quickly in the spring.

Drain the gas tank into a pan and recycle if you can. If the gasoline contains a fuel preservative, it can be kept till the next spring and reused. However, if your gasoline does not have any added preservatives, then you must be ready to use it all up as soon as you can. If you allow the old gas to sit over the winter, it can cause the ethanol in the gasoline to separate, and the other chemical components present in it can also degrade. Also, the alcohol present in the gas can gum up the carburetors and attract moisture, causing the metal parts of the equipment to rust faster. If, by chance, the engine can escape damage, it would eventually experience loss of performance due to the degraded fuel.

If you can easily access the fuel lines, then you should disconnect and drain them also, to ensure that the mower does not contain any fuel throughout the winter. To make storing it more straightforward, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas in your lawnmower before winterizing.

Step 3: Remove the Battery

Regardless of the type of lawnmower you own (cordless or gas-powered with battery), it is crucial to remove the battery before storing the mower away for the winter. This will help preserve the power and prolong the battery life. Look for a cool and dry place, preferably indoors, away from heat, moisture or any flammable substances. Use a clean rag to dust the battery sufficiently, removing any dirt, grease, or dust from the surface. 

Step 4: Remove the Spark Plug

The next step would be to remove and scrutinize the spark plugs for any signs of damage or wear. If the plug is corroded or cracked, you should immediately replace it with another one. Spark plugs are such that they are build to be used for around 100 hours of mowing. However, they are very inexpensive to replace. If you're sure that your spark plug does not require any replacement, remove it and spray a shot of oil into the cylinder. Finally, pull the recoil handle multiple times to ensure that the oil is evenly distributed within the cylinder.

Step 5: Clean the Fuel Cap

To do this, use a thin brush to get rid of dirt and debris built up on the fuel cap. Be sure not to spray cleaners or degreasers on the cap, as these can cause the air vents of the cap to clog. Finally, inspect for any signs of blockages; if present, then you should completely replace the fuel cap.

Step 6: Clean or Replace the Air Filters

The air filters of your lawnmower are items that prevent particles and debris from entering into the mower's carburetor and engine. There are different ways to clean the air filters of your mower, depending on the type you're using. If you're using foam filters, you can clean them with water and just a little detergent. However, the risk of tear is expected. For pleated paper air filters, which are generally known to deteriorate faster, a complete replacement of the air filter is highly recommended. For specific information on how to get this done, check the owner's manual of your lawnmower.

Step 7: Check the Blade for Dullness or Damage

Lawnmower blades are subject to dullness or damages, especially when the mower is used on harsh and rocky terrains. Before storing your lawnmower for the winter, carefully inspect the blade to check for damage or dullness. If needed, repair the blade, and replace it if it's beyond repair. If the mower blade is bent, then it should be replaced immediately, as this can cause untimely wear to the engine or spindle bearings. Any blade with dents from large and blunt objects should also be replaced with a new one, as this may increase the risk of dirt and large particles being thrown in the air at high speeds. Another factor to pay attention to is the dullness of the blade. Instead of cutting grass, a dull blade will tear the grass unevenly, giving your lawn an unhealthy, brown look. If your blade has been sharpened more than twice, then you should replace it, too.  When replacing, make sure you use only the blade recommended by manufacturers, for safety reasons.

Step 8: Sharpen Dull Blades

It is essential to sharpen any dull blade, to ensure that your lawn is neatly and evenly cut. However, blades can get chipped or bent if they are sharpened regularly. If this occurs, you must replace the chipped blades with new ones. Also, always remember to balance your blades before installing them again.

Step 9: Clean the Mower

Before you prepare to winterize your lawnmower, make use of a clean rag (damp one) and carefully clean the engine housing, the wheels, the top of the mowing deck, etc., to prevent the accumulation of dirt and rust. After cleaning, use a lubricant on the metal parts of this equipment, paying attention to the pivot points and cable movement points.

Step 10: Store it properly

If possible, you should try to store your lawnmower indoors and away from the elements. If you're storing it indoors, you should still use a tarp to protect your garden equipment from dust and damages. A garage shed or warehouse can be a great idea when looking for storage spaces for your tool. If you think rodents and insects can cause damage to your mower, place tamper-resistant and pet-safe trap stations under the mower. This way, you'll be sure to prevent rodents from entering into the engine and damaging the wiring.

Final remarks

Your lawn mower remains a significant investment in keeping your home and surrounding neat and attractive. This is why preparing it for the winter is equally vital in prolonging its lifespan and usefulness. Follow the steps highlighted above to prepare your lawnmower for the winter this year correctly. Good luck!