PREPARING YOUR MOWER FOR WINTER (If you want it to run next Spring)

Fall is here. The days are getting shorter and cooler. Soon we will be turning on the heater, covering pipes and faucets, and watching the leaves drop to the ground. As the temperatures drop below 60-degrees at night, the grass stops growing. So its time to just stow away your lawn and garden equipment until Spring... but wait. If you want the equipment to work again in the Spring, I suggest you do a little preparation.

The Problem - The most common problem that occurs during storage affects the fuel system. Gasoline breaks down rapidly. When it breaks down, it leaves a varnish that coats the walls of its container, that being your carburetor, fuel tank and fuel lines. This varnish clogs the fine air passages and makes fuel lines brittle. To repair this on small engines usually costs $75 dollars or more. It is one of the most common Spring repairs.

The Solution - To avoid this expense you can drain all fuel from your equipment and run it to use all fuel left in the hoses and carburetor bowl, or you can add a fuel stabilizer. A fuel stabilizer can increase the life of fresh fuel up to six months or more.

Fall Service - The Fall and Winter, however, is a great time to have work done on your law and garden equipment. The repair backlog is a lot shorter at the repair shops and your level of urgency is much less because your grass isn't growing.

Service Check List - Consider performing the following tasks before storing equipment for Winter. If you do, it should be ready to start and run when you need in again in the Spring: Applies to 4-cycle engines (most riding and push mowers). 2-cycle is similar, but there is no oil or oil filter to change.

  1. Change your oil and oil filter (on models with oil filter).
  2. Inspect fuel filter and replace if necessary.
  3. Inspect air filter for dirt accumulation and clean or replace.
  4. Inspect spark plugs and replace if fouled.
  5. Sharpen blades or replace if damaged.
  6. Drain fuel from fuel tank and run engine until it runs out of fuel. (alternatively you can dose fuel with a fuel stabilizer)
  7. Inspect wear items such as belts, starter cords, tires and cables and replace if damaged or badly worn.

Check these items off your fall "Honey-Do" list and you should have no frustrations next Spring when its time to start mowing again!