To make sure that your lawn mower is ready for when the spring hits, there are certain things you must do to rest assured that it is in full working order when you need it. The preparation for this starts when the autumn cutting is beginning to cease. You want your mower to start with no issue at all when the spring grass flourishes hits.
It’s really easy and tempting just to put your mower away after its annual work period, but you will regret it instantly when the springtime comes around. So why not take some helpful precautions to stop yourself from becoming frustrated when you are unable to cut your lawn?
To make this process as simple as possible, bestoftools.com has created a list of top, quick and easy steps for you to follow to ensure that your lawn mower works as soon as you need it.
Winterizing Your Lawn Mower: Full Guide
Running on Empty
Before you store your lawn mower for winter, it is essential that you empty it of fuel. Leaving fuel in the mower over winter is the single most common mistake people make and this will almost certainly result in your mower not starting in the spring. To do this, you can either drain or siphon your tank of the remaining gas, whichever is easier for you to undertake. Do this until it is completely empty and dry.
There is no need to waste this fuel, as it can be used in an alternative piece of equipment such as your snowblower, which may be a handy piece of kit to get up and running over the winter months. Gas with added preservatives is recommended as this allows you more time to use it and prevents the elements within the gas from separating, which in turn, will damage your gadgets. In case you are wondering, in gas with no added preservatives, it is the ethanol that separates away as the external temperature drops. Does the gas you use cause any other issues?
Gas contains alcohol, and property of alcohol is that it is able to dissolve certain materials which result in the detrimental performance of your lawn mower and other gas-powered equipment around your home. Plastic and rubber are dissolved by alcohol. Carburetors get clogged up, which in turn increases the level of moisture clinging to the metal parts surrounding it. This causes corrosion.
Separate to physical damage, gas does not last a huge length of time. The longer it has been around for, the less effective it is at its job. This is, yet again, due to the ethanol within it separating the layers of gas and fuel, preventing them from being combined thoroughly, and the gas is not able to then work well.
These are the main reasons as to why emptying the fuel tank of your lawn mower will protect it most of the winter. But you can go one step further and drain the fuel lines if they are easy to reach and you feel competent enough to be able to perform this job. The main aim is to have as little fuel in your lawn mower when you put it into winter hibernation, as the fuel will erode and corrode vital parts.
If you own a sit on lawn mower or a tractor style mower, be sure to take the battery out and keep it indoors. Remove any of the dirt and grime from the battery itself and store it properly. Temperature is key to ensuring that your battery is healthy enough to be able to start your mower again in the spring. When the time comes, help your battery spring into life by connecting it to a 120-volt charger before you re-install it back into your choice of sit-on mower.
If you have a cordless lawn mower, you can apply these exact same rules to help your lawn mower survive through the winter months.
Lose your Spark
Help your lawn mower by taking out the spark plug and spraying oil into the cylinder where the spark plug should have been. Recoil the handle a few times to make sure that an even covering of oil has been applied all around the cylinder wall. It is advised that you buy yourself a new spark plug for your own safety before using your lawn mower each spring.
As with most things, the best thing to do with your lawn mower is to thoroughly clean all aspects of it before you put it away for winter. Don’t forget to do this with the air and fuel filters too. If you want to be really specific as to what your mower needs, then check your instruction manual and head to the maintenance section.
This is also the ideal time to replace either of these filters if you feel that this is appropriate, and for some people, it is much easier than trying to clean them (depending on what state the filters are in!)
Do your best to remove all the oil from your mower, and once you are sufficiently happy that you have removed it to the best of your ability, you can apply new oil. The new oil must be the correct type and/or weight as instructed by the manufacturer of your mower so as not to cause any damage.
Be eco-friendly and recycle the old oil. This can be done at a transfer station, repair shop, or auto-parts shop local to where you live.
Having safely and securely taken the spark plug out of your mower, turn your wonderful grass cutter on to its side, making sure that it will not wobble or fall over. Once stable, unbolt and take out the blades of the mower so that you can scrape out any leftover grass cuttings stuck within the deck. It is essential that this is done because grass contains a large percentage of water, and on metal parts, it causes large amounts of rust. Use a putty knife to scrape away the leftover grass and once you are satisfied that the deck is clear, coat it in WD-40.
All knives are more effective when they are sharp and this applies to lawn mowers too. For a quick, clean and easy cut, you must remember to sharpen the blades of your mower at least once per year. If any of the blades are damaged, then it is essential that they are replaced. Balance the blades before you re-install them, but if you are unsure about this, consult your maintenance manual for further guidance. Never remove the blades of your mower without removing the spark plug first.
The final job before putting your mower away for the winter is to do a thorough clean of all of the areas usually forgotten. These are areas such as the engine house, handle, top of the deck, and the wheels. This is a really simple job as it can just be done with a damp cloth and then dried off with a towel. Wherever there is a cable where movement or pivot points are required, high-quality spray lubricant should be sprayed liberally.
Having been through all of the points to help you prepare your lawn mower for storage over winter, it is time to consider the storage process itself. If you are able to keep your mower indoors, then this is the ideal location for it, but for many people, this is not possible due to restricted space. Therefore, in a dry, cool and safe location with a tarp over it will be just as good.
If this is likely to be in a location where pests could be a problem, namely mice, then laying bait stations below the mower is a handy tip to be aware of. Doing so will stop mice from nesting within your mower and from chewing through the wires. This is a common problem with people who store their electrical equipment in sheds and garages, but help is at hand with these top tips.