How to Winterize a Lawnmower: 5 Tips and Tricks
The worst part about summer is that it always ends too soon, and it’s time to winterize our tools before putting them away. Some tools, like the lawnmower, have several components that you will need to care for before storing them, to help keep them in optimal condition. If you are not sure of the best way to store your lawnmower, keep reading as we provide you with several tips and tricks to follow.
The 5 Tips to Winterizing Your Lawnmower
1. Take Care of the Fuel
The fuel in your lawnmower can go bad after sitting for several months without use, making it difficult, if not impossible, to start. It also starts to gel, which can clog up important components in your engine. Keep your gasoline stable for the winter by filling up the tank at the end of the season and adding a stabilizer. There are many brands of stabilizers, and you can find them easily at your local auto parts shop or online. Add the stabilizer, and let the engine run for a few minutes for a good mix.
2. Change the Oil
The next step is to change the oil in your lawnmower and the filter if it has one, though most don’t. Since there is usually no filter, any contaminants will stay in the oil until you change it, potentially damaging the engine, so changing it once a year will help you keep it running in top condition. However, you can change it more often if you like, and some people do it as often as once per month. In many cases, you will need to tip the mower to get the oil to pour into a disposable container, so we recommend putting down a plastic drop cloth to catch any spills and protect the environment. Replace the oil with what the manufacturer recommends for your machine, and dispose of the used oil at the local recycling plant.
3. Change the Air Filter
Most lawnmowers have an air filter that attaches to the carburetor to help provide clean air to the engine. This air filter can get clogged, reducing airflow, which will make the engine work harder. Therefore, we recommend changing the air filter as part of your winterization procedure. It’s easy to change because most only require you to remove a single screw to remove the case from the engine. Open the case to access the filter, and change it with the same type before reinstalling it. You might be able to find replacement filters at your local auto parts store, but it’s probably easier to find them online by looking up your make and model.
4. Fogging Oil
Fogging oil is not engine oil. Instead, it’s a special substance that helps protect your motor from moisture as it sits for the winter season. Remove the air filter and start the engine. Then, as the engine idles, spray the fogging oil directly into the air intake on your mower in short bursts. The engine will likely begin to bog down and start stalling, but keep it running for at least 10 seconds to get the oil through the engine. Give it a final big spray before shutting off the engine and replacing the air filter.
5. Change the Spark Plugs
Changing your spark plug at the end of every year or the beginning of a new year is a good idea because new ones aren’t expensive, and this will help make the machine easier to start because it provides a strong spark to the engine igniting the fuel. Pliers or a socket wrench will help you remove it easily, and your local auto shop will be able to provide you with another.
Winterizing your lawnmower is not difficult and only requires a few steps. However, it’s essential for the long-term operation of your machine. Not winterizing it will likely cause the gas to go bad and gel up, making it impossible to start. Not preventing moisture from getting in the engine can lead to corrosion, and an old spark plug will have you pulling the cable with no effect. Winterizing will help ensure that your mower starts quickly and operates as expected when you need it next spring.
Featured Image Credit: Fire-n, Shutterstock