How to winterize lawn mower before putting it away for winter dormancy when no lawn care is required? You cannot just put your mower into the storage shed as it is without draining its oil and gas, as well as cleaning it thoroughly.

How To Winterize Your Lawn Mower

Otherwise, the gas and engine oil will break down and block tiny parts of the mower’s engine machinery.

Read our step-by-step guide comprising the essentials of winterizing mowers every year.

How To Winterize Your Lawn Mower?

To winterize your lawn mower you should ensure that the engine is turned off, and clear the gas completely, manage the air filters, and take off the blade maintenance. Also, you must clear the dirty deck, drain the oil well, and then you can store the machine away. 

Overall, it is key that you would drain the oil and gas from their respective tanks and have them cleaned. All other engine parts should be inspected in case they are worn out and need to be changed.

– Ensure The Engine Is Turned Off

Before you can mess around with your machine’s engine, you must ensure that it has been properly turned off as a safety measure. If your mower turns on and off through a key, then take it out after having turned it off. 

Ensure The Engine Is Turned Off

On the other hand, also remember that in the case of a battery-powered mower, it is best to take out the battery and store it in a temperature-regulated environment for the rest of winter. This is because you do not want the battery to be stuck there for several months. 

After taking the battery out, clean all dirt and grime off it. Make sure that the battery compartment is clean and doesn’t have any leakage, or any rust around the springs. 

Lastly, remember that you must be very careful where you store this battery because it cannot be placed near heat sources or flammable substances like heaters or gasoline respectively. 

– Spark Plug Needs To Be Disconnected

Please find out the location of the spark plug in your mower’s design and remove its outer protective coating. In some mowers, it comes out easily; in others, you will have to unscrew it using a wrench. 

You must always clean the area around the plug thoroughly before removing it from the engine; otherwise, all the dirt will fall into the engine, in addition to some dust particles would also accumulate around it too. A special plug wrench is needed to unscrew the plug and get it out properly. 

– Take The Gas Out of The Tank

Before storing the mower away for winter, you better empty its gas tank first. Otherwise, the alcohol will go stale, causing rusting and blockage throughout the engine. If your gasoline has a fuel stabilizer added, it might last about three to four months without breaking down, but again to be on the safer side, it is recommended removing this fuel and using it later.

Take The Gas Out of The Tank

On the other hand, you may even try adding the stabilizer to the tank and running the mower to distribute it well. Then, you must turn the engine off and take the plug out as specified above before siphoning the gas. The engine needs time to cool down before emptying the gasoline tank, so that no danger would come to your machine. 

In this step, you must restart the mower again and keep it running until it stops, which is your indication that it has run out of fuel. Here, in this manner, you must take this opportunity to clean the gasoline tank and remove all the grime that has built up over a month’s worth of use. 

– Manage The Air Filters

Many problems faced while using lawn mowers for lawn care occur simply because the filter has not been cleaned for a while. Take this opportunity while your mower has been turned off to clean or exchange the filter as needed, so that it wouldn’t get weakened as it is stored away for the winter time. Once more, you should keep in mind that the filter is encased in a plastic sheath that needs to be unscrewed to access the filter underneath.

The paper filter must be tapped gently on a hard surface several times to get the first off it, removing all types of particles and debris that are not necessary. Otherwise, you will have to buy a replacement if the old one is beyond salvageable. 

A sponge filter can be cleaned better by dishwashing soap water to improve its function. Overall, you must make sure how the filter has dried, which should be 100 percent before putting it back in the mower, so that it doesn’t grow any type of fungus while stored.

– Carry Out Blade Maintenance

After using your mower for one growing season, the lawn mower blades will need some resharpening for the upcoming spring season. Take a wrench to unscrew the bolts holding the rotating blades to the deck and inspect it under good lighting conditions; if it has been chipped or bent anywhere, it’s best to get a replacement instead.

Carry Out Blade Maintenance

When the blade is in good working condition, it must be cleaned and sharpened very properly. You only need a scrubbing brush and soapy water to clean off the stuck grass blades, because it has been used for a while, and you do not wish for the chlorophyll to stay there for a long time on the blades.

The latter would create a strange smell, and it will be very challenging to take it off as it would stay there for longer times. For your safety, put on the thickest rubber gloves while doing this. These blades are not that sharp, but there is no harm in being careful.

What you should remember is that there are many ways to sharpen the blade, and it all comes down to your choice. An electric-powered angle sharpener sharpens the blades effectively and speedily. 

It differs for beginners, because as a beginner you must use some manual sharpening through a metal file might be easier as it provides better control. Grass-cutting edges need to be sharpened at 45 degrees and be about as sharp as a butter knife.

– Clean The Dirty Deck

Cleaning grass blades stuck on the mower deck after every lawn care session is recommended. Still, the presence of the blade makes it difficult to gain access to all the nooks and corners of the deck. Before winterizing, when the blade is still removed, scrub your deck clean and make sure that is polished and wiped well.

Grass blades and mud can get stuck stubbornly to the corners of the deck that go unnoticed during routine cleaning. You will need help from a strong putty knife and a water hose to scrape it off fully, to preserve it perfectly well for the coming season.

Lastly, in this task make sure that you clean the passageways that lead to the mower’s discharge chute as well, from all the dirt that would be left around these corners.

– Drain Oil From The Fuel Tank

There will be a separate tank for keeping oil in mowers with a four-stroke engine. Draining the oil from this tank is one of the most important steps of winterizing a mower because this oil left in the tank will clog pipes and other mower parts.

Drain Oil From The Fuel Tank

Now, here you must try tilting the mower on its side so that the carburetor, air, and fuel filter face upwards. We do not want the oil spilling into them by any change during its drainage. The latter is to ensure that you do not cause any damages, or any further stress to clean the spills that are excess. 

Place a pan ready underneath to collect all this oil, and it helps to spread a tarp under the entire mower so that the splatters do not fall on the lawn. How this is useful is the fact that it would help to clean the fuel from the tank while it is empty, which means that if a fuel pump is in your tank, you must remove it before pumping boiling water into it. 

Moreover, also remember how tank cleaning solution to it and use a brush to scrape the walls and the corners off. Once you have cleaned enough, wash the foam off with clean, warm water.

– Store The Mower Away Safely

Before stowing the mower away, clean it as :good as you can. Otherwise, all the dirt and grime will solidify over the winter and be difficult to eliminate in the upcoming spring. After cleaning everything up with a damp towel, allow it to dry well.

Use a good-quality lubricant to lubricate all the exposed parts of the engine’s machinery, so that when you open it up afterward, during the season it is going to be used, you wouldn’t have to worry about crisped edges. The best option is to wrap the mower in a piece of tarp and then store it inside the house where it is not exposed to extremes of temperatures. 

If there is a risk that mice might enter the mower and other pieces of lawn equipment stored up, then place bait stations around them. For storing the gasoline that was drained, you should use an appropriate container and keep it in a room away from sources of heat and flammable substances.


Before we can let you go, here is a brief recap on winterizing mowers as an important part of your lawn care:

  • Turn the engine off and take the plug out and then empty the gasoline tank before cleaning it thoroughly.
  • Take this opportunity to do important tasks like cleaning the filter and the mower deck as thoroughly as possible.
  • In a four-stroke engine-type lawn mower, you must drain the oil from its tank and clean it as an important step before storage.

In this article, you read up on all the easy steps one needs to take to prepare the mower before storing it away for several months. Forgetting to carry out important steps like emptying the gasoline tank or carrying out an oil change can produce a lot of problems once you take the mower out after winter.

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