Failure of a lawn mower to start after winter is quite common. If you experience it, chances are you missed to winterize your lawn mower. Truth be told, after the mowing season, it’s quite tempting to just store the mower and worry less until next mowing season. Don’t be such a mower.
Always do yourself a favor and winterize your lawn mower first. This will save you loads of headache and time come spring when you need your machine up and running like new.
Lawn mowers are a faithful fair weather companion. As such, sparing a little time prepping it for storage over winter is a great way of repaying it the attention it deserves.
So, as another mowing season comes to an end, before you toss your lawn mower into the shed ensure you prep it for winter by winterizing. That way, it won’t fail you when you need it in spring. Your user’s manual should be within reach for quick reference as you work on the mower.
In this post we have compiled what we believe to be the most vital guide on how to winterize a lawn mower along with unmatched tips along the way.
Importance of Winterizing a Lawn Mower
- It ensures optimal mower performance after winter.
- It hinders moisture in the grass clippings from causing corrosion and rust to the deck.
- It prevents clogging of the mower’s carburetor and/or stale fuel in the float bowl.
- It extends the lifespan of your mower.
- Saves you time and money by eradicating need for costly cleaning at the start of spring.
- It helps ensure you stay protected by your warranty.
How to Winterize a Lawn Mower?
1. Drain the Fuel
Removing the remaining fuel at the end of mowing season is a very important step towards winterizing a lawn mower. It’s key in ensuring the mower starts next season when you need it most. Wondering why you should drain the gas tank dry?
Well, if gasoline is left idle for an extended period it will degrade and go bad. If the gas had a fuel preservative, you may save it for spring.
However, if you allow it to stay there over the winter, its ethanol content breaks up and causes the other chemical components to degrade.
With time, the alcohol content of the fuel dissolves plastic and the rubber parts thus slowly causing damage to your mower’s fuel system.
Eventually, this may clog the carburetor and attract moisture thus causing corrosion of the metal parts. Obviously, that’s not something that you would cherish on your mower, right?
Therefore, before winter ensure you empty the mower’s gas as much as possible. Let the mower run dry by burning any remaining gas.
Depending on the mower’s model and whether you can access the fuel lines, always disconnect and drain them too. Thus ensures the mower is fuel-free throughout the winter.
2. Adding Fuel Stabilizer
Adding fuel stabilizer is the second school of thought on how to winterize mower’s fuel. Adding it to the gasoline can increase its life by keeping the tank fresh over the winter. However, it’s effective only when added to new gas.
Which method (between the first and this one) works best for you is totally a personal consideration. In case of any doubt, always consult your user’s manual and get insights on what the manufacturer recommends for your mower’s engine.
We recommend usage of this method if you’re storing the mower indoors.
3. Remove the Mower’s Battery
The need to remove the mower’s battery for the winter can’t be overemphasized. After removal, disconnect the battery cable, starting with the negative terminal.
Using a clean cloth, wipe it off any dust, grease and dirt. For extra protection, coat the battery’s terminals with a terminal protector.
Store it indoors in a cool dry place away from gas cans and water heaters. Extreme temperatures can cause them fail prematurely, therefore, mind their storage and minimize temperature fluctuations.
Come next season, first charge it to full capacity before reinstalling it back into the mower. Do the same for the cordless battery powered mowers.
4. Clean the Deck
Ideally, this should be the habit throughout the season. It not only helps keep the blade housing tidy but also ensures optimal mower performance. This task is very essential when winterizing a lawn mower. It prevents the grass clippings from causing rust on the deck. Just like with any maintenance practice, be keen to first remove the spark plug
Connect a pressurized garden hose and give the mower a superb cleaning. Clean off any leaves, grass and mud out of the mower. For stubborn debris and clump, get a stick and scrape it off-never use your hands lest you get cut by the sharp blade. In case you have silicone spray handy, you may need to spray beneath the deck to prevent future buildup.
You may also take this opportunity to check whether the mower’s blade needs replacement or sharpening . This might save you a few hours next season.
Finally, store it in a dry place. During storage, we recommend putting mothballs near the deck. This hinders rodents such as mice from nesting in the dormant mower. Rodents can chew plastic parts such a spark plug wire or even the pull cord.
5. Change Lawn Mower Air and Fuel Filters
These filters are very handy in preventing junk from reaching the carburetor. Changing them regularly over the season ensures your mower perform at its optimal best.
In as much as you can save it for next season, why not do it now before winter lest you forget? You may need to consult your manual for information that could be unique for your circumstance.
6. Change the Spark Plugs
There’s no lawn mower without a spark plug. Replacing your mower’s spark plugs is a wonderful way to ensure it fires up next season. Spark plugs cost just a few bucks. As such, we suggest you replace them annually and more so while winterizing your mower.
A socket wrench that is made with a spark-plug socket will easily remove it for you. If possible, use one that has a neoprene lining to avoid damage of its casing. The old one may be still operational; however, replacing it with a new one will increase your mower’s efficiency come spring.
Tips for Storing a Lawn Mower
- Consult your manual. When winterizing your mower, it’s advisable to refer to your manual for any insights unique to your lawn mower. This ensures it gets proper care it deserves.
- Clean it in and out.
- Store in a temperature safe location. Let the place be free from fluctuations in temperatures. Locations such the garage or even the basement is better that storing it outside. This will protect the longevity of this precious investment.
For most gardeners, winter means putting the mowers into hibernation. Please don’t be such a gardener, not after learning how to winterize a lawn mower.
You mower also need a little celebration and care after their hard work in the lawn. Winterizing your lawn mower will pay off during the start of spring.
Evidently, it’s a simple exercise to do. Still, if you would rather get a professional to winterize your mower, there are all over. For now, all the best as you winterize your lawn mower.