If you have ever pulled your lawnmower out of the garage or shed in the spring and realized it wouldn't run—and that you're facing a hefty lawnmower repair bill or replacing the mower completely—you understand the importance of winterizing your lawnmower.
If you have a cordless lawnmower, you really don't have to winterize your mower or do a lot of lawnmower repairs other than keeping it clean and the battery
serviced. However, if you're using a gas mower, there are several steps you can take to winterize your mower and reduce headaches when spring rolls around and it's time to pull out the mower and get started again.
Your first step in winterizing a lawnmower is to empty the gas tank. The easiest way to do this is to simply turn on the mower and allow it to run until the gas is gone. Of course, you'll want to run it outside rather than allowing fumes to build up in your garage, basement or shed. Alternatively, you can fill the gas tank completely and add fuel stabilizer. Most lawnmower repair experts, however, recommend just emptying the tank.
Next, you need to clean your lawnmower. Start with the underside of the housing. Remove any old grass, debris and other gunk and junk that builds up on your lawnmower over time. A lot of debris will come off under a moderate hosing with water. Finish the cleaning by using a cordless drill with a wire brush to scrape off the remaining gunk. The best cordless drills are light, portable and hold a charge well; all of these factors combined make them excellent for this cleaning job.
Now is a good time to replace or clean your air filter. You should do this a couple of times during the mowing season, and doing it at the end of the season helps keep your mower ready for spring. Take the filter out, and if it's paper, simply replace it. If you have a spongy foam air filter, soak it in warm soapy water and then let it air dry. Once it's dry, work in a very small amount—a tablespoon or so—of clean motor oil into it, just enough to lightly coat and cover the air filter.
Take a few minutes to change the oil in your mower before you put it away for the winter. This one tip can save you a lot of money on lawnmower repair. Dispose of the old oil at a service station or recycling center, and make sure you refill the oil to the correct level (as indicated by the dipstick). Don't overfill or underfill.
For more information on lawn mower maintenance, check out these Step by Step How To Videos:
If your lawnmower has a battery-powered starter, you should charge the battery before you put it away as well as several times throughout the winter. Lawnmowers do not fully charge the battery when running. And if you do not charge the battery periodically, it will gradually lose its ability to hold a charge.
You may need to change your spark plugs before you put your lawnmower away for the winter. If your spark plug is very corroded, you should replace it; otherwise, remove the plug, pour about an ounce of lawnmower motor oil into the cylinders, crank the engine three or four times and replace the plug.
Some lawnmower repair shops recommend having your blade sharpened every year before storing your mower. This can certainly be helpful if your blade is getting dull. If you think you'll need the blade sharpened soon, go ahead and do it now, but don't put off winterizing just because you don't want to get the blade sharpened.
Winterizing your mower now can save you some serious lawnmower repair bills later as well as a lot of hassles. Take an hour or so now to do this, and you'll be very glad that you did.
About the Author Scott Gray is currently a home improvement enthusiast and freelance writer who enjoys providing handyman tips to homeowners and helpful advice for people looking to buy a sliding compound miter saw.