Winterizing Lawn Equipment

Now’s the time to start thinking about winterizing lawn equipment.  With the lawn and flowerbeds ready for winter, it’s time to put away all the yard tools and equipment for the season. Taking a little time to clean and prep the lawnmower, trimmer, and other power tools will ensure they will be ready and properly working when called up again in spring.

Here are a few tips to prepare your lawnmower to be put away for winter. While this article will focus on the lawnmower, other power tools with similar parts and designs can be serviced in the same way.


Drain the Gasoline from the Mower

Gasoline degrades quickly. When unused gas remains in the mower tank, it absorbs water and the ethanol separates, causing the carburetor to clog and the tank to rust. First, add a fuel stabilizer to the tank, which you can purchase at a home improvement store.

Next, run the mower to distribute the stabilized fuel through the system. Turn the mower off, and after the engine has cooled, siphon the remaining gas into a clean can. When you have drained as much gas as possible from the mower, start the mower again and run it dry.

If possible, disconnect and drain the fuel lines to ensure that the mower is completely fuel-free. Gasoline with a fuel stabilizer will stay good for up to 24 months, so you can store it for use in the spring. If the gas has not been mixed with oil, you can add it to your car’s gas tank or use it in a snowblower this winter.


Battery & Sparkplugs Part of Winterizing

When winterizing lawn equipment, if your mower is a riding or tractor model, remove the battery. Starting with the negative cable (minus sign), disconnect the battery cable. Clean the battery terminal with a brush or cleaning product and wipe down the battery with a cloth to remove dirt and grease. Store the battery inside in a cool, dry place away from flammable chemicals, gasoline, and heated appliances.

Before performing the next steps, remove the spark plug to prevent the mower from starting accidentally. The spark plug can be removed using a socket wrench. Spark plugs get dirty under repeated use and can be cleaned using a brush and brake cleaner available at automotive stores. However, if they are too dirty, they are inexpensive to replace, and a new one will perform better when it is time to start the mower again in spring.


Don’t Forget Oil & Filters When Winterizing Lawn Equipment

As oil is used repeatedly in the mower over the summer, it becomes dirty and ineffective and should be drained and replaced. Place the mower on its side so that the oil doesn’t spill into the air filter and carburetor. Unscrew the plug and slowly tilt the mower to drain the oil into a pan. Replace the oil with the specific type recommended by the manufacturer. Dispose of the used oil at your town’s hazardous waste facility.

Dirty fuel and air filters cause the mower’s engine to work harder and should be cleaned or replaced at the end of the mowing season. Use a metal clothes hanger to reach into the gas tank to pull out the fuel line. The fuel filter is attached at the end of the fuel line and can be removed and replaced with a new one. For air filters, you can extend their life by removing trapped debris. If your mower uses paper filters, replace them. If your mower uses a sponge filter, wash it with soap and water, allow to dry, and then add clean oil to it before putting it back.


Clean, Lubricate & Replace Parts

Examine the mower for missing screws and nuts, and make sure that all caps seal properly. Replace missing, cracked, or brittle parts. To prevent rust and keep parts from drying out, spray hinges and moving parts with a lubricant. Sharpen the blades at least once a year to keep them cutting their best. If the blades are chipped, cracked, or bent, replace them with new ones. Be sure to wear protective gloves as you detach the blades by unscrewing the bolts holding them in place.


Clean & Store

Lastly, with the mower on its side, clean the undercarriage, removing stuck-on grass and mud. Use a brush or putty knife and rinse with water. Use tools to clean the blades, and never your bare hands. Wipe down the engine housing, wheels, handle, and top of the mowing deck with a damp cloth and then dry with a towel. If possible, store the mower indoors in a protected, dry place such as the garage or shed. Never store it next to a furnace, water heater, or appliance with a pilot light.


For more detailed help on any of these tasks, check the owner’s manual of your mower. And remember, Createscape is here for you! Based in Mukwonago, Createscape Landscaping Services serves all of southeastern Wisconsin and is an award-winning landscape design contractor. These landscape professionals will develop the perfect landscape design to meet your expectations, budget, and needs. Contact Createscape Landscaping Service today!