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Lawn Equipment 101

How to winterize a lawn mower

4 min read

Temperatures drop, it may snow, and your grass stops growing. It's time to store your mower until next season, but to ensure optimal condition in the coming spring, there are a number of maintenance tips you should keep in mind. Winterizing effectively guarantees you a longer life for your lawn mower, that it starts up in a few months and that it does the perfect job of cutting your lawn. Here are five tips on how to winterize a lawn mower.

1. Empty the fuel tank of your mower

If you have a gasoline lawn mower, you must empty the fuel tank so that it doesn’t freeze and burst the engine. Gasoline also loses its qualities over time, so even if it didn’t freeze it may be that next year when you start the mower, it will not start or work properly for this reason. Furthermore, by emptying the tank you eliminate a combustible, highly flammable product that you would otherwise have in your home.

2. Check the oil level

Oil is the life of the engine. Much like a car, a low level or dirty oil shortens the service life of the machine and can even cause a breakdown. Although the mower is not going to be used during the winter, it's recommended that you check the oil level and leave it at the appropriate level.

If your oil is old, change the oil completely. Wintering with new oil is always recommended as impurities in the engine oil are removed. Otherwise, they can be deposited on the engine parts that are bathed in oil. These impurities remain stuck to the engine since there is a long period in which there will be no movement, and when the oil is changed the following year they can remain in the engine.

3. Sharpen the blade (optional)

The quality and speed of the cut of your lawn mower depends fundamentally on the quality of the cut of the blade. It's advisable to sharpen it once a year so that the cut is perfect and does not leave fibers that after a few hours turn yellow damaging the appearance of the freshly cut grass.

Since the mower has been used throughout the season, it's a good time to remove the blade, have it sharpened, and not be worried about rushing it in spring or summer.

Snow-covered mower

4. Clean your lawn mower

When thinking about how to winterize a lawn mower, don't just focus on the inside of the mower, but the outside of the lawn mower as well. During the mowing season the mower accumulates fresh grass and dust mainly at the bottom of the chassis where the blade cuts. This ends up drying and forms a hard layer that is difficult to remove over time.

Although it's always recommended that you clean this area every time you cut, at the end of the season it's recommended to do it thoroughly with a high pressure cleaner. Remember that it's best to lift the front of the mower while keeping the rear wheels on the ground, this way you can lift it until it's vertical and the engine will not suffer or lose oil.

In case you cannot put it in a vertical position, you can lift it laterally but always be sure that the carburetor stays in the highest position.

Clean the chassis but do not direct the jet of water cleaner to the engine. The mower's motor can be splashed with the cleaning water as direct high-pressure water can damage some components.

Also clean the wheels and the bag and when you have finished let it dry for 5 minutes and start the engine for a couple of minutes to ensure that everything works perfectly. Before storing, make sure that the bag, especially if it's made of fabric, is completely dry to prevent humidity during the winter from spoiling it.

5. Store it in a safe, dry place

For general safety best practices, store the mower out of the reach of children, in a place away from heat sources. Make sure the spot is also dry and away from the elements: sunlight, rain and snow. Remember that water freezes and can damage the engine when it expands. If you can, keep it away from dust and other debris that can accumulate while stored to protect the paint and metal.

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