As winter approaches, mowing is ending. What do you do with your mower?
If your answer is "leave it next to the house with a half-tank of gas and covered in old grass clippings," you'll want to review these few steps for winterizing your mower.
Winterizing your mower is a very important part of maintaining its longevity. Leaving it to rust beside the house during the off-season will have you shopping for another mower in no time.
Winterizing Your Mower
There are two ways that you can store your gas-powered mower. The first way is to simply get rid of the gas in your mower's tank by running the engine dry or draining out the gasoline. The second way is to add fuel stabilizer to the gas in your mower before you store it for the winter. Gas begins to degrade and go bad after as little as 30 days, and bad gas can cause gumming that clogs the fuel system and the carburetor.
Change the Oil
Drain the old oil & replace it with fresh oil to the "fill" line. Be sure to fill it exactly to the fill line marked on your model. By changing your oil, you ensure that you'll have a much easier time starting it in the Spring. You are also cutting down on corrosion of the engine parts, which will help your mower run well for years to come.
Charge the Battery
Remove the battery from the mower (if so equipped) and use a charger to recharge the battery to 100% full power. When you run your mower, it does not fully charge the battery like a car does, so fully charging it in the off-season helps to keep the battery in top condition while also providing a much easier start in the Spring.
Clean the Deck
Throughout the mowing season, grass clippings build up thick on the underside of your mower deck. These grass clippings hold a great deal of moisture which can lead to rust. Turn your mower over and scrape the thick, caked-on layers of grass clippings off of the deck. Then, using an old dry towel, wipe the remaining grass residue off so the decking is clean. For better results, coat the underside of your deck with WD-40 to help keep it clean and prevent rusting. Not only will this prevent rust from forming on the decking; it'll also improve the performance of your mower.
Change Spark Plugs
Remove and check each spark plug. If a spark plug is corroded, replace it with a new one. They are only designed to be used for 100 hours of mowing, and they're a lot cheaper to replace than the mower itself. This is an easy way to maintain the performance of your mower.
Dull blades mean poor performance. Each season, either sharpen or replace your mower blades. Just clean away all remaining debris, sharpen the blade with a sharpening stone, and then lubricate the blade with a light coat of WD-40 to prevent rusting.