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How to Winterize a Lawn Mower

Despite my best efforts, my lawn is in pretty rough shape. It won’t be long until the frost comes along, my grass goes dormant, and I promise each blade of grass that I will do better next year (Spoiler alert: I will not do better). Once the growing season is done, it will be time to put my lawn mower away for the winter. But one way to “do better” this year is to winterize my lawn mower, as opposed to shoving them in a corner of the shed under a pile of other items. I’ve learned that is not the best way to ensure that they will work properly when I get them back out next spring.

Here are some tips to winterize your lawn mower and help it survive the winter:

Clean Your Lawn Mower:

Scrape any dried on grass clippings from the underside of the mower deck, or hose them off if they’re still fresh. Be careful of the blade, or remove it and sharpen it so it’s ready to go in a few months. This would also be a good time to do any repairs or service. If you need to take it to a service company, it will probably be much faster and less expensive in the fall then in the spring when they are inundated with mowers that weren’t properly winterized.

Stabilize the Fuel:

Bad fuel can cause a bunch of problems in your small engine. Follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual if possible. There are a couple options here. If storing the mower in a climate-controlled area, drain the fuel (put it in your car, but use a safety can for transfers), or run the engine until the tank is dry. This will reduce the fire hazard of having gas equipment stored in your home.

If You’re Storing Your Lawn Mower in a Shed for the Winter:

Fill the tank with gas, then top it off with a fuel stabilizer. You can purchase this at any hardware store or gas station. This will prevent condensation in the gas tank and fuel system. Be sure to run the engine for a few minutes so the stabilizer can work through the system.

Don’t Forget To Winterize Other Gas-Powered Equipment:

Weed eaters, leaf blowers, edgers and snow blowers should all be stored properly.

Clean them, perform routine maintenance, and drain the fuel. Any batteries should be removed, charged, and stored inside your home to avoid damage from harsh winter temperatures.

Spending a little time to store your equipment properly will save time and money come the spring. That time now will be well worth it when you pull everything out next spring and it works how it should. Then, you can make fun of your neighbors when they rush off to buy something new or have their poorly stored equipment repaired. You’ll be a hero when you let them borrow your mower while theirs is in the shop.

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