Winter lawn mower checklist
Believe it or not, Winter is only 68 days away!
The steps you take each fall as part of your exterior home maintenance routine can help safeguard your garden equipment so it's operational next spring—including your lawn mower.
Why you need to winterize lawn mowers
Whether your lawn mower is gas-powered, electric, or riding, it requires periodic maintenance to minimize repairs and keep the parts in good working order. Failing to take the necessary steps before storing lawn mowers for the winter can result in rust, poor performance, and a reduced lifespan of your equipment.
How to Winterize a Lawn Mower
Enjoy reliable performance in the spring, using these steps for winterization:
Empty or stabilize the fuel system. If you have a gas-powered lawn mower, check the owner's manual to determine the manufacturer's recommendation with regards to fuel. Leftover gas has the potential to oxidize, corrode the carburetor, or impede the fuel system, and while the most common solution is to drain the gas tank or run it until it is empty, some manufacturers prefer that the tank be refilled with fresh, stabilized gas prior to storage.
Change and/or clean the spark plug. Disconnect and remove the spark plug and check for signs of damage, dirt or corrosion. Clean or replace the spark plug as needed and leave the ignition cable disconnected until you are ready to use the mower again in the spring.
Remove the battery. If your lawn mower uses a battery as the primary source of power or in conjunction with gas, you can help to extend its lifespan by disconnecting it each winter. Begin with the negative lead followed by the positive lead, and once you have removed it from the mower, give it a light cleaning with a dry cloth. Store the battery in a cool, dry location away from heat and flame.
Remove the blades. Protect your hands with thick gloves and carefully remove the mower blades from the unit. Depending on their condition, you may opt to clean and sharpen the blades. In the case of excessive damage, you may need to replace them.
Change the oil. Follow the instructions outlined in the owner's manual to change the oil and give your lawn mower a clean start next season. Be sure to replace the used oil with the exact type and weight recommended by the manufacturer and dispose of the used oil responsibly.
Change the air filter. Check the owner's manual to determine how and when to clean or remove the air and/or fuel filter from your mower.
Clean the deck. Gently rest the lawn mower on its side, and use a putty knife, paint scraper, and wire brush to carefully remove caked-on grass and debris from the deck. Once removed, spray the underside with a hose and dry thoroughly using a clean rag or old towel.
Lubricate moving parts. Lightly spray all exposed moving parts with a high-quality lubricant prior to storage.
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