Done with your mower until next spring? Before you put it away, set aside an hour to winterize your lawn mower, so it starts right up next year. Here’s how it’s done:
How to Winterize a Lawn Mower
What You’ll Need:
Engine oil (most mowers use SAE30, but check your owner’s manual to see what yours takes)
A spark plug gap gauge
A 6-inch (or longer) extension bar for a 3/8-inch drive
A 3/8-inch drive rachet
A spark plug socket set
A piece of plastic
A wire brush
A putty knife
What You Do:
Disconnect the spark plug wire.
Place a piece of plastic under the gas cap to prevent fuel from spilling out while you’re working on your mower.
Inspect the condition of the lawnmower blade. To do so, turn the mower onto its side, making sure the air filter and carburetor are up. Never turn the mower more than 90 degrees in any direction.
If the blade is dull or damaged, it should be removed and either sharpened or replaced.
While the blade is off, scrape and clean the underside of the mower. A stiff brush and a putty knife should loosen everything up. Finish off with a good rinse; then, reinstall the blade.
Now, it’s time for an oil change. Remove the drain plug from the bottom of the engine, and drain the oil. Then, replace the plug.
Set the mower back onto all four wheels, and refill the oil reservoir, being careful not to overfill it.
Remove the air filter cover, and inspect the condition of your air filter. If it isn’t too dirty, you can just vacuum it off and reinstall it. Mine (shown above) was dirty, and needed to be replaced.
Now, remove and inspect the spark plug.
If the spark plug tip shows signs of wear or burning, replace it. Otherwise, clean the plug with a wire brush, and reinstall it. Check the gap to make sure it’s set to your engine’s specifications. Re-attach the spark plug wire when you’re done.
Lubricate the wheels with light oil or engine oil.
Then, spray off your mower’s deck with a hose, being careful not to soak the engine.
Finally, pour fuel stabilizer into the gas tank (following the recommendations on the bottle), and run your mower for a few minutes. Turn the mower off, top off the tank with fuel, and replace the cap. This will keep your fuel fresh during storage and prevent your fuel lines and engine from gumming up. After the engine cools off, your mower is ready for winter storage.
(Another option is to drain your fuel tank and/or run the engine until it runs out of gas.)