How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower for Storage

A properly winterized lawn mower will survive long storage better than a mower that is tossed back into the shed after its last mow and never taken out until the following spring. By cleaning and repairing damaged parts, you can keep your mower from deteriorating while in storage.

By the time your yard is ready to be mowed again, you'll be all set to go without having to scrape, wash, drain, or grind anything. Here is a checklist of everything you need to do to ready your lawn mower for winter.

0: Disconnect the spark plug before doing any maintenance to prevent serious accidents.

1: Pick off all the dried clumps of grass under neath the mower, around the blades, and around the wheels. Use a power washer or a hose with high pressure to clean off any remaining grass clippings.

2: Sharpen and balance the blade. You could do this the following spring or summer, but if you do it ahead of time it will be one less chore you have to do in the next year.

3: Replace the fuel filter and fuel line if necessary. Check for any leaking seals and replace them as well.

4: Fill up the fuel tank with pure gasoline. Condensation will occur in an empty tank, which can cause damage when you try to run the motor next spring.

If your fuel has added ethanol, you must add fuel stabilizer as well. Without stabilizer, the ethanol will break down during storage. After adding the stabilizer, run the motor so that the fuel/stabilizer mixture distributes evenly throughout the system. (You will have to reconnect the spark plug, so you may want to do this task first.)

5: If your mower has a 4-cycle engine, change the oil filter and drain the oil. If your mower has a 2-cycle engine, the oil is mixed with the gas so you should replace all the fluids.

6: If you have a paper air filter, remove it and put in a new one next spring. (If you replace it now, it may deteriorate over the winter.) If it is a sponge air filter, clean it, dry it, and put it back inside the housing.

7: Buy a replacement spark plug so that you have a new one ready to go next year. You can keep it connected while in storage, but it is safer to leave it unconnected.

8: Lastly, if you have a problem with mice, place pungent moth balls around the engine wires to prevent rodents from chewing on them.

© Had2Know 2010