How to Winterize a Lawn Mower? – Complete Guide

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Winter is coming, and you want to keep the mower safe during those snowstorms and blizzards. What better thing to do than to winterize lawnmower to protect it?

Here, we’ll teach you everything you need to do to keep your lawnmower safe even during the harshest winters.

It doesn’t matter where you live and how severe winter can be – you’re going to learn how to keep the mower in the perfect state throughout anything. 

So, are you ready to tackle the winterization of your mower? Then follow these steps:

Simple Steps to Winterize a Lawn Mower

1. Clean the Mower Deck

winterize a lawn mower

First and foremost – clean the mower thoroughly. 

After mowing the grass, your machine is probably all dirty with clippings and debris. You may also find dirt, sand, mud, and all kinds of garbage stuck to the mower.

You should clean everything before storing it in the winter. 

Here are a few aspects to consider:

  • Remove the spark plug before cleaning any part of the mower. This will prevent the machine from starting while cleaning it.
  • Then use a garden hose at maximum pressure to get rid of superficial residues on the machine. 
  • Grab a hard-brittle brush and get rid of the hard-to-remove debris and dirt. A putty knife also helps to remove the stuck-on remains.
  • Finish by spraying coating oil like WD-40 to prevent any moisture from affecting the machine once it starts to snow.

Just be sure the mower is as clean as possible. Even the slightest remaining of moisture or dirt can cause corrosion or get stuck onto the mower in winter. 

2. Add Fuel Stabilizer

Gasoline that stays idle for too long eventually degrades and spoils. This makes the gas unusable and may damage the engine. 

That’s why we recommend adding a fuel stabilizer to your mower’s gasoline to increase the fuel lifespan and prevent it from spoiling. 

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Fill up the gas tank (it should have gas inside) with any type of fuel stabilizer. Any similar additive will do the job. 
  • Be aware that stabilizers only work with new gas. If the gasoline is already old, there’s a high chance it won’t work.
  • Run the engine for several minutes for the gas to run around and mix with the stabilizer. This will cover the entire fuel system and prevent even the slightest drop of gas from spoiling.

Now the mower is ready to stay idle for about 3 months without spoiling or getting damaged. 

3. Drain the Fuel (Optional)

In case your mower doesn’t have too much gas before storing it for winter, the best way to keep it safe is to get rid of it instead.

The same happens if you think the winter will last more than 3 months, and you don’t want the fuel to turn bad inside the mower. 

So, you should empty the fuel tank. We recommend following our guide on how to empty mower gas tanks. You can also follow these brief steps:

  • First, place a metal pan on the floor where you’re going to pour the gas.
  • Then look for a turkey baster or siphon. Pump the tool until the mower tank empties all its gas into the pan.
  • Push mowers may need to be tipped to the side. Be sure the drain pan is large enough so you can drain all the gas on it.
  • Then remove the carburetor and let the remaining fuel drain through it. Re-install it once it has dripped all the oil. You can also clean it if it has debris on it. 
  • Finish by turning the mower on for a few seconds or minutes until it turns off by itself. This will get rid of any fuel left behind.

Now your mower is free of fuel so you can store it without a single worry for months.

4. Replace or Clean All Filters

winterizing a lawn mower

Whether you have a zero-turn mower or any other kind – you’ll have to replace and clean all its filters.

From the fuel filter to the air filter – everything gets clogged up over time with gum and debris. Cleaning and replacing these filters before the winter arrives prevents them from clogging the machine.

Here’s how to do so:

  • We recommend cleaning both filters if they’ve been on the mower for less than 6 months. But if you’ve been using the machine for over 6 months without replacing the filters, then do so now.
  • Be sure to pick the proper filters for the mower. Depending on the type of mower you have, the filters may change. But overall, they’re almost always the same.
  • After changing the filters, you may also want to check the carburetor. If it is too dirty or filled with gum, clean it and put it on its place.  

Once you’ve changed the filters and cleaned the carburetor, then you can prevent the mower from clogging when you use it again. 

5. Change the Oil

changing oil in lawn mower

Want your mower to start fresh once the winter is over? Then you should change the oil first. Here’s how: 

  • Pick the right oil for your mower. Then get a bottle according to the amount it needs.
  • To start draining the oil, you need to work in a ventilated area. It should be spacious as well, like a driveway or porch.
  • Place a cloth on the floor. A trash bag or plastic sheet also works to prevent any oil spill from damaging the floor. Also, look for a pan or container where you can pour the oil. 
  • Now grab a socket wrench or the ideal one and loosen up the oil cap on the engine. 
  • To drain it, just tip the mower on its side and let the engine drop all the oil. You may need to wait for a few minutes until it drains completely.
  • Proceed to pour new oil inside accordingly. Be sure to not pour more or less than necessary.
  • Then close the engine and let it run for a few minutes. You’re done changing the oil.

This will prevent old oil from gumming and clogging inside the engine in winter. 

6. Tune Up the Blades

Even though you won’t be using the mower at all, it is wise to tune up its blades. That will make it possible to start using it right away in spring, without worrying about damage or dull blades.

Here’s how you can do that:

  • You should proceed to sharpen the blades if they look dull.  You can do this by following our brief guide on how to sharpen mower blades
  • In case the blades look bent, cracked, chipped, or just plain broken – then you should replace them. Our guide on how to change a lawnmower blade will help you out. 
  • Be aware that removing your blades is no easy job and requires some experience and extra care. At the same time, it’s recommended to get the spark plug out of the engine to prevent an accidental start.

Once you’ve tuned up the blades as necessary, the mower will be almost ready to be stored. 

7. Remove & Replace Spark Plugs

how to winterize a lawn mower

If you don’t want the spark plug to freeze up and corrode while the mower is stored, then you may want to remove it and replace it if needed.

Do this to remove the spark plug:

  • First, start by checking the old sparkplug in search of debris, corrosion, or any gum.
  •  If you see any sign of damage on the spark plug, then you should remove it. Otherwise, you can use lubricant oil and clean the spark plug with a few sprays. Use a fabric towel. 
  • But if the spark plug doesn’t look right, you should replace it for the right spark plug for your lawnmower. 
  • Install the new spark plug as needed. Once installed, be sure it fits snugly in place and check the mower. It should start right away. 

Now that you’ve changed the spark plug of your mower, it should fire up in seconds. This will preserve it and make sure you can start the machine effortlessly once winter is over. 

8. Disconnect & Store the Battery

winterizing a lawn mower

Want to winterize your riding lawn mower? Then you will need to get the battery off to keep it dry and safe.

Also, this will help preserve its power, so you may not need to jump-start it after winter is over. 

Proceed this way:

  • First, charge the battery completely. Be sure it is at its maximum energy so you can store it with enough charge to withstand several weeks without use.
  • Then you can remove it. We recommend starting with the negative lead and then the positive lead. Unplug both leads in that order.
  • Clean all the battery terminals and other metal parts that could corrode. Use a wire brush or toothbrush to get rid of the buildup.
  • Then store the battery in a dry place. Be sure it is away from heat sources, flammables, and too much moisture, so it doesn’t get damaged.

This will preserve your battery and keep it functional even after several months in idle. 

9. Store the Mower Properly

lawn mower winterizing

Once you remove the oil, battery, and blades – then your mower is ready to be stored. You should do it this way:

  • Find a large and dry area indoors to place it. We recommend garages and shacks. Don’t leave it outside if you want to prevent damage.
  • Before storing it, lubricate its cables and pivot points. Then swipe every plastic and metal part with a damp cloth, including the housing, handle, and even the wheels.
  • While storing the mower, place a tarp or cover on it. No humidity should reach the mower.

This should prevent any kind of issue with your mower during winter. And it will ensure proper operation once winter is over. 

Conclusion

So, do you know how to winterize lawn mower now? As you can see, it is not rocket science.

If you follow every step to the letter, then you will have a winterized mower that doesn’t get damaged during those cold months.

And sure enough, you’ll be able to use it right away when it’s time to mow your lawn.

Don’t let the winter arrive without winterizing your mower first. Otherwise, you may regret it. 

Also, try our guide on How to Tune-Up your Lawn Mower so you can get the most out of it when it’s time.

Hope, you enjoyed this guide about winterizing a lawnmower. Also,  check some of the related articles.

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