Here at Heritage Lawn, we try to give you all the tips, tricks, and advice to help ensure that your lawn is thriving! We also want to make sure that your investments for your lawn also keep as well. It is officially winter in the KC Metro and another lawn-mowing season comes to a close, now’s the time to prep your mower for the upcoming winter months to ensure it starts right up when you need it this spring.
We know it’s tempting to just store the mower away and worry about it next year, but procrastinating will only make it that much more difficult to get the mower up and running when the yard is ready for a trim.
Here are nine simple steps to winterizing a lawn mower now so it won’t be an issue in a few months:
Remove or Stabilize the Fuel
A mower used at the end of the season needs to be emptied of fuel. This is the single biggest step to ensure your mower starts in the spring. First, drain the gas tank dry. If the gasoline has a fuel preservative, you can save it until next spring or run it in your snow blower. If the gasoline has not had a preservative added, you need to use up the gasoline as soon as possible. Allowing it to sit over the winter will cause the ethanol in the gasoline to separate and its other chemical components to degrade.
The alcohol in the fuel can dissolve plastic and rubber parts in the fuel system. It also gums up carburetors and attracts moisture, which corrodes metal parts. And even if the engine escapes damage, it experiences a loss of performance from chemically degraded fuel because ethanol-based gasoline can spoil rapidly, often separating into layers of alcohol and fuel.
Once you’ve emptied as much gas as possible, start the mower and run it dry, burning through any remaining gas. If the fuel lines are easily accessible, you can disconnect and drain them, too, to ensure that the mower is as fuel-free over the winter as possible.
Remove the Battery
If you own a lawn tractor, remove its battery and bring it indoors for the winter. Clean the battery well, removing any dust, grease, or dirt. Store it in a cool, dry location away from flammable substances like gasoline or heat sources like a water heater or furnace. Come the spring, use a 120-volt battery charger to bring the battery to full capacity, then reinstall it into the mower.
Same goes for a cordless, battery-powered mower: remove the battery and store it indoors.
Remove the Spark Plug
Remove the spark plug and spray a shot of oil into the cylinder. Pull the recoil handle several times to ensure that the oil is evenly distributed on the wall of the cylinder. Replace the old spark plug with a new one.
Replace or Clean Filters
Remove and clean or replace the mower’s air filter and fuel filter. Check the owner’s manual for more specific maintenance information.
Change the Oil
Drain all the oil from the mower and replace it with the specific type/weight recommended by the manufacturer. Recycle the old oil at a local transfer station, car-repair shop, or auto-parts store.
Scrape the Mowing Deck
Remove the spark plug to prevent accidental starting, then tip the mower onto its side, or prop it up securely. Unbolt and remove the mower’s blades. Next, use a putty knife to scrape loose any caked-on grass clippings from the underside of the deck. (Grass clippings contain moisture that can cause rust.) Then, spray on a liberal coating of WD-40.
Sharpen the Blades
To ensure your mower cuts quickly and cleanly, it’s important to sharpen the blades at least once a year. However, if the blades are bent, chipped or cracked, replace them with new blades. And don’t forget to balance the blades before reinstalling them. For specific instructions on sharpening lawnmower blades, our explainer has you covered. Caution: Before removing the mower blades, first take out the spark plug to prevent accidental starting.
Clean and Lube the Mower
Before storing away the mower for the season, use a damp cloth to wipe down the engine housing, wheels, handle, and top of the mowing deck. Dry the mower with an old towel. Lubricate all exposed cable-movement points and pivot points using a good-quality spray lubricant.
Store the mower indoors, if at all possible, and under a tarp to keep off the dust. If mice are a problem, place tamper-resistant, pet-safe bait stations under the mower. That will discourage mice from climbing into the engine and chewing up the electrical wiring.
Our mission at Heritage Lawn KC, is to make all homeowners proud of their lawns. To develop an empowering, supportive, growth-oriented culture where success is the standard. To build a better future for our team, our clients, and everyone we meet. Call today to get a head start on your lawn care for the season!