Winter is on the horizon and it’s time to place your lawnmower into storage for the season. Follow these tips to maximize the life and performance of your lawnmower – and ensure it fires to life in the spring when you’re ready to mow grass again.
(If your lawnmower won’t start, check out this post.)
Stabilize the gas
Gasoline can break down in as few as 30 days. Oxygen, humidity, heat and other factors cause gas to change over time. Varnish, gums and other debris can form, which can clog the tiny fuel passages in the carburetor and stick the float, preventing the engine from starting in the spring.
AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer disrupts the chemical chain reaction that causes gas to oxidize and form varnish and gums. It keeps fuel fresh up to 12 months. As shown, it also fights corrosion and improves stability better than Sea Foam Motor Treatment.
Clean/replace the spark plug
The spark plug in a well-maintained lawnmower should last for years. Even so, check its condition for excessive deposits or wear to the electrode. Clean or replace the plug as needed.
While you’re at it, check the gap and set it to the proper size, as indicated in the owner’s manual.
Fog the engine
With the spark plug removed, spray fogging oil into the engine. It protects the cylinder, piston and valves from rust and dry-start-induced damage in the spring. Slowly pull the starter cord a few times to distribute the oil, then replace the plug.
Remove the battery
To prevent frigid temperatures from freezing and ruining the battery, remove it and store it in a safe, climate-controlled environment. Avoid placing it next to your furnace, water heater or other mechanicals in the basement. Put it on a shelf away from open flames. Clean any deposits on the terminals.
Clean and protect the mower deck
Use compressed air, a putty knife, water or whatever else it takes to remove grass clippings, leaves, dirt and other debris from the engine and mower deck. Scrape the underside of the deck clean, too.
If you hate this chore, try coating the underside of the mower with AMSOIL Mudslinger. It forms a durable armor against the accumulation of grass clippings, easing clean-up.
Sharpen the blades
Sure, this isn’t required before lawnmower storage, but it’s awfully convenient to do it now so nothing stands in the way of cutting grass come spring.
Remove the blades and sharpen them using an angle grinder or bench grinder. Replace them if they’re in bad shape.
Change the oil and filter
Used oil contains acids that can slowly rust or corrode metal components. Once rust or corrosion start, they don’t stop. Contaminants can flake off and populate the oil. When the engine is running, they scour and wear out metal parts like sandpaper.
Prior to storage, change the oil to remove acidic byproducts and ensure maximum protection against rust and corrosion throughout the winter.
Clean/change the air filter
A steady supply of clean air is just as important to engine operation and performance as high-quality fuel. Grass clippings, leaves, dirt and other contaminants can clog the air filter, causing the engine to start hard or run poorly.
Direct compressed air from the inside of the filter toward its outside to remove contaminants prior to storage. If it’s excessively dirty, replace it. The air filter is the only line of defense keeping contaminants from entering the intake and wearing out the cylinder and piston rings. It’s far less expensive to replace an air filter than an engine.
Store in a dry, covered place
Once the mower is cleaned and prepared for storage, place it in a clean, dry place for the winter. Avoid storing it outside if possible. If you have no choice, secure a tarp over it so it doesn’t blow loose. Don’t be that person who covers the engine with an upside-down bucket and shoves the mower alongside the house for the winter.
Follow these lawnmower storage tips and your mower should start right up in the spring and last for years.