How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower
If your lawn mower won’t start after winter, it could very well be because you missed one of the critical steps listed below. Follow these tips to winterize your lawn mower and you’re far less likely to be dealing with a lawn mower that won’t start after winter ends!
Change the oil
Old oil contains gasoline, moisture, soot and acids that can corrode internal engine components over the winter. Change the oil and run the mower for a few minutes to coat all the internal parts with clean oil. Then deal with the gasoline.
Drain or top off the gas
If there’s still gasoline left over after you winterize your lawn mower, it could end up corroding the carburetor and clogging the fuel system. Remember to check out our tips for how to tune up a lawn mower for spring! Lawn mower manufacturers, like Honda and John Deere, recommend different ways to store their products: completely draining the gas or filling it with fresh, stabilized gasoline. Refer to your owner’s manual to learn which method is best for your particular engine.
How to drain the fuel
Drain the fuel tank by removing the fuel tank cap and tipping the mower over a drain pan. Next, look for a drain valve or bolt on the carburetor bowl. Open the valve or remove the bolt and drain the gas into a container. If your carburetor doesn’t have a drain valve or bolt, run the engine until it stalls. Then pull the starter rope or operate the electric starter to restart the engine several more times. When it will no longer start, it’s ready for storage. Take the old gas to your local recycling facility.
Or, add fresh stabilized fuel
If the owner’s manual recommends storing with a full tank of freshly stabilized gas, follow this procedure. Empty the old gas following the instructions above. Add fuel stabilizer to an empty gas can. Then fill the gas can with fresh gas at the pump. That’ll thoroughly mix the stabilizer with the new fuel. Fill the mower tank with fresh gas and screw on the gas cap. Run the mower for 10-mins. to fill the carburetor bowl with stabilized gas. Top off the gas tank and store the mower.
NOTE: Never add fuel stabilizer to old gas—it won’t bring it back to life. It must be added to fresh gas.