A lawnmower is going to be one of your best friends all summer long.
Without a lawnmower in the summer, your yard will be apt to look like an overgrown jungle.
However, when it comes to wintertime, the lawnmower will often sit unused for months at a time.
Although it may be nice for your lawnmower to get this break from the weekly use, it will need to be properly treated and conditioned before you can store it for the winter.
With all of the other winterization chores you likely have around your house, the winterization of the mower may have been forgotten.
Here is what you need to know.
Forgot to Winterize Lawnmower (How Bad Is It?)
If you forgot to winterize your lawnmower last year, there is an excellent chance that it will not start in the spring.
When gas is left in the mower over the course of the winter, you will find that it could have clogged the fuel system.
There is plenty of corrosion that goes on from the gas sitting in the mower, and this will cause you quite a mess in the spring.
If you find that this has happened to you, don’t count your mower out just yet.
Chances are you can complete a tune-up on your mower, and it will still be able to work just fine.
It really depends on the condition of your mower, what the winter season was like, and whether or not you have been keeping up with preventative maintenance on your mower.
There are several steps that you should follow to winterize your mower before the start of the cold season.
If you have forgotten to do these things, you can do them now and see if it brings your mower back to life.
How to Winterize a Mower
Even if you live in an area with a generally mild climate, you should think of this winterization as a tune-up.
Homeowners need to take at least an hour or two of time once or twice a year to properly service their mower.
If you don’t do this, you will see a significant decrease in the lifespan of your lawnmower.
Since this helpful machine is one of the more expensive garden tools one can own, you should do everything you can to keep them lasting a long time.
These steps to winterize a mower can be used on other garden power tools as well.
Therefore, if you have a backpack blower or a weed eater, you can usually follow the same steps.
Step 1: Change the Oil
When the oil in a mower gets older, it also becomes dirty.
The problem with this dirty oil is that it can cause some corrosion over the course of the winter months.
This will cause damage that is very likely irreversible.
When you drain the oil from your lawnmower, you will probably see how dirty it is compared to the new oil you are going to be putting in.
The oil is going to have a bit of gasoline, dirt, and even acids in it after a season of use.
When you change the oil in your mower, always consult the manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you are using the proper type and amount of oil.
The book that came with your mower will be able to provide this information, and it is usually available online as well.
When you use the wrong kind of oil, you will likely notice that your mower does not seem to be functioning properly.
Once you have drained the old oil and replaced it with the new oil, you can then run your mower for a few minutes.
The running of the mower with the new oil in place is going to coat all parts of the mower with this new oil.
Step 2: Decide to Drain or Top Off Gas
If you have forgotten to winterize your lawnmower, chances are you have some leftover gas in the mower.
This is the biggest problem with the lawnmower being left untouched for the winter.
The gas can corrode or clog the carburetor and the fuel system.
This damage can sometimes be impossible to replace or clean up, but it is certainly worth a try.
When it comes time for winterization of the mower, you must check your owner’s manual for the best way to handle the process.
There are some manufacturers that recommend draining all of the fuel while others say it is best to leave the mower stored with a full tank of fresh fuel.
You should know how to complete both of these processes but it’s most important to find out which one is best for you.
If you end up draining a mower that shouldn’t have been drained, you may do more damage thinking you are properly winterizing your lawnmower.
Step 3: How to Drain the Fuel
If you have never drained a lawnmower fuel tank in the past, you may not know the best way to go about this process.
The first thing you will have to do is gather some supplies.
You will need a drain pan for the gasoline as it is not safe to dump gasoline anywhere on your property or near your home.
Aside from it staining and being very dangerous to both humans and animals, it will contaminate the water supply.
You will need a drain pan to make sure you catch all of the gas as it drains from the mower.
You will remove the cap from the mower and then tip it over so that it goes into the drain pan.
The drain pan will collect the majority of the gas that is coming out of the mower.
There is also a drain valve on the carburetor bowl of the mower.
You can also remove this bolt, and you will be able to drain the gas from the mower this way.
Although this process removes almost all of the fuel, you will still need to use up the rest of the fuel that is left in the mower.
This is done by running the mower until it stalls.
When the mower stalls, you have effectively removed as much of the fuel as you can, and it is ready to store for the winter.
Step 4: Adding Fresh Fuel
For some lawnmowers, the winterization process is complete as soon as this old fuel is removed.
However, there are other brands that will require you to then add fresh fuel to the mower.
When you decide to add fresh fuel to the mower, make sure that you have completely removed all of the old fuel.
Essentially, putting gas in the mower without first getting rid of the old gasoline is not going to be the best approach to take.
When your tank is empty, you can get a fuel stabilizer and add it to an empty gas can.
Take this gas can with the stabilizer to a local gas station and fill it with fresh gasoline.
When you add the stabilizer first and then mix the gasoline in by filling it at the pump, it will mix the gas up enough that the stabilizer is properly distributed throughout the can.
At this point, you can take the gas and pour it into your mower.
With the new fuel in place, you should then run the mower for at least ten minutes.
This makes sure that the stabilized gas makes its way through the entire mower.
One important thing for lawnmower owners to understand is that filling your halfway full lawnmower with new stabilized fuel is not going to fix the issue.
You need to completely drain the old fuel prior to using the stabilized fuel.
This is the only way to ensure that it is set for the winter months.
Step 5: Check Spark Plugs and General Condition of Mower
While you are going through this process, you should pay attention to the general condition of the mower and blade as well.
Treat the mower with anything that you need before storing it for the winter.
If there are issues with rust, corrosion, and other visible signs of deterioration, it is a good idea to fix them prior to storing for the winter.
In general, you will find that, by doing this at least once per year, your mower will last quite a bit longer.
Of course, this process is important to complete, even if you don’t have a cold winter ahead.
In order to get full functionality out of any gas-powered equipment like this, you will need to pay some attention to it.
Is It Necessary to Winterize a Lawnmower?
As you have seen from this list of steps that we have provided, the winterization of the mower is relatively simple.
The process should not take you more than an hour or so to complete, and it works quite well to keep your mower safe through the winter season.
One thing that people don’t think about before storing these mowers is that sometimes there are grass clippings and moisture on the underside of the mower.
When this is left behind, it can cause moisture and deterioration on the underside of the mower.
In addition to having to work on the interior of the mower, you should also be working on the exterior of the mower.
Clean the exterior of the mower to make sure that there are no grass clippings and sand or dirt on the mower before you put it away for the winter.
Can I Winterize a Lawnmower Myself?
There are local repair and maintenance shops that can assist you in winterizing a lawnmower.
However, this is also a process that you can complete yourself.
Most homeowners have the necessary skills and tools at home to complete the lawnmower winterization on their own.
The process should take about an hour or so and you can do it on your own.
If you have never completed this process before, there are online videos and tutorials that can teach you how to do it with ease.
As you can see, it is essential to winterize your lawnmower.
The process is simple, yet it yields much better results for your mower.
You won’t have to worry about the mess you will get into when you set out next spring for the first cut of the season.
If you forget to winterize your lawnmower, you can try the process in the spring and see if you can bring your mower back.
Some people will luck out and will experience no issues long term while others will find that one winter of forgetting to do this process is going to cost you the price of a brand new mower.