Crisp air and falling leaves are tell-tale signs that mowing season is coming to an end. While your first instinct might be to park your mower and hunker down for winter, you’ll want to first ensure it’ll be ready, come springtime. Put another way, you’ll need to know how to winterize a lawn mower.
Proper mower winterization is a critical step in protecting your investment over the long haul. Extended periods of inactivity can wreak havoc on mowers, and the added effects of cold weather makes properly winterizing them even more important.
Whether your winterizing a riding mower, a push mower or an entire fleet of zero-turns, you’d be wise to follow these 5 steps for how to winterize your lawn mower.
If you perform only one lawn mower winterization task this fall, make sure that’s fully cleaning it. Any debris left on a mower’s exterior or interior can result in moisture. And, this can cause rust or a freezing/thawing cycle that’s bad for metal. Take any normal steps you would to clean other power equipment. This includes spraying the deck out, removing blades, and removing clumps of grass. When done correctly, your machine should be free of any grass, clippings, or dirt.
Perform Mower Maintenance
The next step in mower winterization involves changing the oil, spark plugs, and air filters. Also, be sure to empty the gas tank to prevent the fuel from getting gummy or eroding the internal components of the engines. There are a couple of choices here. You can either drain the fuel completely or fill the tank with fuel combined with a fuel stabilize designed for winter storage. For more comprehensive maintenance, lubricate all friction points.
Once these steps have been performed, simply run the engine for a few minutes. Doing so will confirm that everything has been changed properly, and ensure that new fuel has been injected into the engine.
Remove or Disconnect the Battery
Care for your battery properly throughout the winter by either charging it periodically or removing it, altogether. If kept connected, make sure your battery doesn’t sit too long between cranks.
If your mower has pneumatic tires, park it on a non-concrete surface. If this isn’t an option, place a piece of cardboard on top of cold concrete to serve as insulation. Finally, rotate the tires so they don’t bear too much pressure on any one side.
Cover the Mower with a Tarp
The last step in winterizing your lawn mower involves properly storing it. A garage or other covered structure are ideal places to protect mowers from cold and moisture. For added defense against the elements, try covering your mower with a tarp or blanket. Finally, store it away from appliances, fertilizers, or any other corrosive materials known to compromise metal.
Follow these time-tested mower winterization tips and your mower will be as ready to go as you are, come spring!