How to Prepare A Lawnmower for the Winter
Whether you use a Honda, Toro, Scag, eXmark, John Deere, or any other kind of mower, it will benefit from some attention before you store it for winter. Letting a mower sit for months, particularly in a cool place, can make it hard to start come spring when you are ready to start mowing your lawn again. A few simple steps can minimize hassle and ensure that your lawn equipment continues to function smoothly.
- If your mower has a four-cycle engine, this is a good time to change the oil. While the mower is still warm, drain the oil and replace it. If you have a two-cycle mower, this step is not necessary.
- Unused fuel left in the engine can affect the carburetor and fuel pump so that they require more extensive maintenance in the spring. Siphoning fuel out of your mower, running it till the tank is dry, or adding a fuel stabilizer if that is not practical, easily solves this problem.
- Clean the lawnmower. Removing dead grass and dirt helps prevent rust. This is a good time to sharpen mower blades if they have become dull.
- Clean the air filter and replace it if necessary.
- If your mower uses a battery-powered starter system, it should be re-charged before storage. Some websites, such as this one, recommend storing the battery separately from the mower in an air-tight container.
- Remove the spark plug. While the spark plug is removed, add a little motor oil and slowly pull the mower's starter cord a few times. This will distribute the oil and protect the engine. Clean the spark plug and replace it, or purchase a new one. If you buy a new plug, make sure it matches the old one exactly or it may not work with your equipment. Additional information about changing spark plugs can be found here.
- Store your lawnmower in a dry place. If you cover your mower, don't use plastic as it can trap moisture.
While you're going through a winterizing checklist for your mower, this also is a good time to check belts to see if they are wearing thin, clean air intake screens, tighten bolts, and lubricate pivot points to prevent rust.
Following a winterizing routine will help keep your mower running longer and minimize repairs. When you bring your mower out next spring, all that should be necessary is a quick check of fluid levels. Add fuel to your mower, then let it idle for a few minutes so the oil can be redistributed in the engine. After that, you'll be ready to start mowing again.