Just because you have taken a few minutes to wash out or brush off the clippings and debris from your lawn mower and cutting deck, it doesn’t mean that you’re prepared for the harsh environmental change that comes around during winter.
There are several more steps that must be taken to make sure that your lawn mower makes it through its yearly hibernation. You don’t want to go out in spring to mow your yard and find out that you mower has passed on to the happy mowing grounds in lawn mower heaven.
One of the first things you need to do to winterize your lawn mower is to drain all of the gas out of the tank and carburetor. Gasoline doesn’t handle cold temperatures very well and, as it sits in the cold weather, it will begin to gel.
This can cause major issues with your engine and your bank account as you’ll have to hire a shop to clean the engine out so it runs again. You can siphon the gas out and store it in an air tight plastic container, or you can use it in your vehicle if you use the same grade of gas.
Once the tank is drained, run the engine until it stops on its own. This runs the remaining gas out of the carburetor and hose lines to ensure it isn’t sitting in the engine. With the engine still hot from running the gas out, drain all the oil out of the crank case and the gear box, if possible. Oil can turn into sludge sitting in cold temperatures. This causes severe engine issues.
Now, take the spark plug out and put lubricating oil directly into the engine head, pull the rope or carefully turn the flywheel to get the lubricant into the piston and oil rings. Then clean out the bottom of the engine and deck, ensuring all moving parts are clean. Spray these with WD-40 to prevent rust.
Next, replace the air and oil filters and air up the tires for the winter. If you can, place the mower on blocks to keep pressure off the tires so they don’t rot or crack during the cold temperatures.