How To Store My Lawn Mower in the Winter

If you ask this question to 10 different lawn mower repair technicians, more than likely you will get 10 different answers! This topic will be the debate for as long as we burn gasoline in our lawn mowers and especially if it is laced with ethanol.

Our biggest problem come springtime is that the lawn mower doesn’t want to start. Why? Because the fuel in it has either went bad or the battery has run down on a riding mower or a self-propelled with a key start. There are other reasons of course but those are the most common.

Regarding our earlier conversation about fuel. There are two schools of thought about what to do with it. You can either treat your fuel with stabilizer (my favorite is Ethanol Shield) or you can run the engine until it is out of gas. I like to do a little of both depending on what machine I am prepping for winter. I add the fuel stabilizer to all of my fuel when I buy it, so I have a constant supply of stabilizer already in the gas for both 2-cycle and 4-cycle equipment. What I do for lawn mowers is to leave the gas in them all winter long. If the mower has a shutoff valve, I will turn the gas off, start the mower and then let it die when it runs out of fuel. That’s it and I am done. If you don’t want to use fuel stabilizer, then you should be running that mower out of gas or it won’t be starting in the springtime.

The smart thing to do is to prep your lawn mower for the upcoming season when you put it away and I will tell you how to do just that as well.

Let’s break this down by different types of lawn mowers to make things easier shall we….

Push Mower Winter Storage

The ordinary push mower does not have a lot of parts so storing them for winter is pretty simple. To get it ready for next year and store it, perform the following;

  1. Add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank.
  2. Run the mower for 10 minutes to get the engine warm.
  3. Change the oil.
  4. Change the air filter and sparkplug.
  5. Remove the sparkplug wire from the sparkplug.
  6. Remove the blade and sharpen it and scrape the deck. Re-install the blade and the sparkplug wire.
  7. Blow off the engine and deck with compressed air.
  8. Lubricate cables, wheel bolts and linkages with silicone spray.
  9. Check for any damage or missing parts and order them or bring the mower to your lawn mower mechanic.
  10. Store the mower in a place where it won’t get damaged and rodents will not move into it.

Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Winter Storage

The self-propelled lawn mower has a lot more parts so storing them for winter is a little more time consuming. To get it ready for next year and store it, perform the following;

  1. Add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank.
  2. Run the mower for 10 minutes to get the engine warm.
  3. Change the oil.
  4. Change the air filter and sparkplug.
  5. Remove the sparkplug wire from the sparkplug.
  6. Remove the blade and sharpen it and scrape the deck. Re-install the blade and sparkplug wire.
  7. Blow off the engine and deck with compressed air.
  8. Lubricate cables, wheel bolts and linkages with silicone spray.
  9. Check for any damage or missing parts and order them or bring the mower to your lawn mower mechanic.
  10. Remove the cover for the drive belt, clean out the grass and check the belt for wear such as cracks, a shiny appearance or it is sitting deep in the pulley, which means it has worn out. Install a new belt if it is and replace the cover.
  11. Remove the drive wheels and check the drive gears to see if they are wearing out. Spray the gears if they are metal with silicone spray as well as the wheel bolt.
  12. If your mower has a battery, put it on the trickle charger that came with it. If you don’t have one you can remove the battery and recharge it and keep it in a warm place and re-install in the spring.
  13. Store the mower in a place where it won’t get damaged and rodents will not move into it.

Riding Lawn Mower Winter Storage

The riding lawn mower is an entirely more complicated machine so storing them for winter is a lot more time consuming. To get it ready for next year and store it, perform the following;

  1. Add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank.
  2. Run the mower for 10 minutes to get the engine warm.
  3. Change the oil and filter
  4. Change the air filter and sparkplugs.
  5. Change the fuel filter.
  6. Remove the blades and sharpen them and scrape the deck. Re-install the blades.
  7. Blow off the engine, the transmission and deck with compressed air.
  8. Lubricate cables and linkages with silicone spray. Grease the front wheels, steering and deck spindles and any other grease fittings that are on your machine.
  9. Check for any damage or missing parts and order them or bring the mower to your lawn mower mechanic.
  10. Check the drive and deck belts for wear and replace if necessary. If you see wear such as cracks, a shiny appearance or the belt sitting deep in the pulley, it means it has worn out.
  11. Inflate the tires to their proper pressures. Normally 15psi in the front and 10 in the rear.
  12. Clean the battery terminals. Put your battery on the trickle charger. If you don’t have one you can remove the battery and recharge it and keep it in a warm place and re-install in the spring.
  13. Check the transmission fluid if your mower has an external tank.
  14. Store the mower in a place where it won’t get damaged and rodents will not move into it.

That covers all the major things you need to do to store your lawn mower for the winter. Walk-behinds and Zero Turn lawn mowers are fairly close to riding lawn mowers but the tire pressures are normally what the operator likes in terms of how it rides.

Next spring you will be ready to go and your mower won’t be sitting in a lawn mower repair shop waiting until they get their backlog of machines done to finally get to yours.

For lawn mower repair shops that can help you store your lawn mower, check our Locations page.

Advertisements