With autumn here again and the days becoming increasingly cooler, the grass eventually stops growing and, without even realizing it, you’ve put the mower away for the last time. It’s hard to think about spring mowing as winter approaches, but now is actually the perfect time to consider the condition your mower will be in next season after sitting for months in the shed. It isn’t until the grass is tall from a few days of fresh spring rain that you pull out the mower to find it damaged. Then you will probably have to take it to be serviced and wait to get it back. Meanwhile, your grass gets longer and longer!
Here are the three things you can do now to prepare your mower for a successful winter hibernation.
1. Deep Clean the Mower
Don’t put the mower away for the winter dirty. While mowers will always be messy, storing machines for an extended period without adequately cleaning them will cause damage that could easily be avoided.
Clear out leaves, clumped grass, and mud on the mower, including the deck and the blades. Use a tool or stick to remove debris from the blades, but never use your hands, or you’ll risk injury.
Spray the mower down using a hose, avoiding the engine and air intake as much as possible. Additionally, a little soap and scrubbing can make the mower look its best. Either towel dry, or allow it to sit in the sun for an hour or so to air dry. Riding mowers with seats can benefit from car leather cleaner to clean and protect the seat from cracking.
2. Remove the Battery
How often have you tried turning on your car after that first frigid winter night to find it dead? Similarly, cold temperatures can also damage lawn mower batteries. Of course, batteries can be replaced, but they are expensive.
Build-up of cuttings and debris on the battery is inevitable. Remove the battery and take some time to brush off the connections with a toothbrush or clean cloth. Then, clean off the battery.
Next, bring the battery inside and store it somewhere dry with a regulated temperature. Then, when the spring weather starts warming up, you can charge the battery, and it will be ready!
3. Fill the Mower Engine with Stabilizing Fuel
One of the most damaging things you can do to your mower is leave fuel sitting in it over the winter. Gasoline can go “stale” quickly and will separate into its components. The alcohol portion will ruin the plastic and rubber in the engine, and the ethanol will pull moisture in, causing rust. This type of damage can be very costly or be completely unfixable.
Instead, drain the tank and pipes of gasoline or run it until it’s dry. You can leave it dry or fill the tank with stabilized fuel. Stabilized fuel is treated to last for months without getting “stale” like regular gasoline. Once it’s full, run the engine for a few minutes to allow the fuel to run through the whole system, then top off the tank until full.
Now your mower is ready for its hibernation and will be much easier to get going come next Spring.