During the spring and summer months Americans love to gather in the yard for backyard barbeques and cornhole matches. But those fun outdoor activities involve maintaining the grass and throughout the summer the lawn mower gets plenty of use! Once fall rolls around, we breathe a sigh of relief, thankful to have a break from pushing the lawn mower around the yard. But taking the proper steps to prepare the lawn mower for storage, and especially long term winter storage, helps keep the mower in good running condition and can save a lot of time once the next mowing season arrives.
At the end of the summer mowing season, be sure to empty the gas tank of fuel. Either allow the mower to run out of gas on its own while running through the yard or siphon any fuel from the tank.
When gasoline sits in the tank through the winter, the ethanol will separate from the gas and cause the other chemical components to break down. Condensation can also build up and allow water to seep into the gas tank during storage.
Give the mower a good cleaning before its long winter’s nap. To clean under the deck, be sure to disconnect the spark plug lead before tipping it over. Try using a wire brush or putty knife to give it a thorough cleaning. For the exterior, just carefully spray it off with a water hose or wipe it down with de-greaser and a clean rag.
This is also a good time to do some other maintenance. Try removing the spark plug and squirt a little oil into the cylinder.
Be sure to pull the recoil handle to evenly spread the oil over the wall of the cylinder and replace the plug.
Go ahead and sharpen the blade, replace the air filter, change the oil, and lubricate the pivot points with spray lubricant.
It is a good idea to remove the battery and store it separately in a clean, dry place. The mower also needs to be somewhere relatively clean and dry. Be sure not to store too close to gas cans, chemical cleaners, pool chemicals, or fertilizers. If any of these substances were to spill onto the mower deck, they can cause corrosion. Ideally, use a lawn mower cover.
Remember to keep the mower away from the water heater, furnace, and any appliance with a pilot light. If the owner’s manual is handy, it is always a good idea to reference it for specific instructions regarding a particular model.
It is nice having a break from cutting the grass and enjoying the beautiful weather that often accompanies the fall. But it is important to set aside a little time and get the lawn mower ready for its break.
Failing to take the proper steps for winterization can result in more costly and time-consuming repairs come next spring or worst case, the need to buy a new mower. Get that mower ready and enjoy the time off!