How To Winterize Your Lawn Mower

riding lawn mowers-in winter storm


As another lawn mowing season closes, it may be tempting to roll your lawn mower into the far corner of your garage and forget about it until spring. But winterizing your lawn mower is critical to ensuring it continues running correctly for years. Neglecting to prepare your lawn mower for winter storage will have you shopping for a new one in no time.


Below, we'll explain how to winterize your lawn mower for the cold weather ahead. We'll also offer suggestions if you're new to lawn mower winterization. Proper maintenance now will ensure that your lawn mower is up and running in the springtime.


Warning: Always read the engine and equipment manual(s) before starting, operating, or servicing your machine or equipment to avoid personal injury or property damage.


Lawn mowers are designed to operate in temperatures above freezing, so when winter sets in and temperatures drop, it's critical to protect your lawn mower from the cold. If left outdoors during winter months, your lawn mower could sustain damage from the freezing temperatures. It may start or run poorly come springtime.


Additionally, suppose you live in an area with a lot of snow. In that case, extended periods without use can cause severe problems for your lawn mower's engine. To avoid these issues, it's vital to winterize your lawn mower before storing it away for the winter.


Plenty of services can do it for you if you're new to lawn care or need more time to winterize your lawn mower. Professional mower transportation can be a great option if you need easy access to storage space. Or if you want to ensure your machine is ready to go as soon as warm weather arrives. Many companies that offer winterization services will also pick up your mower and return it once winter is over. No matter how you winterize your lawn mower, taking these steps now will save you time and money in the long run.


Underside of mower caked with grass

You may be wiping down and cleaning off the top surfaces of your lawn mower. Still, one of the most commonly overlooked tasks of winterizing a lawn mower is cleaning the underside, otherwise known as the deck. Cleaning the deck should be done at least twice a year. Throughout the season, clumps of grass build up on the bottom of the cutting deck. Because they hold moisture, these grass clippings can cause rust and ultimately impact your mower's performance.


Imagine this: it's a Saturday morning, and you're out in the yard, ready to mow the lawn. You fill up your gas tank, grab the spark plug wire - and then realize that you have yet to learn how often to replace spark plugs. Don't worry. We've all been there.


The good news is that spark plugs typically only need to be replaced every 100 hours of mowing - and with proper care, they can last even longer. So, if you're keeping up with your lawn care schedule, you should be fine. However, if you notice that your spark plugs are starting to wear out sooner than usual, it might be time to invest in a new mower.


Evaluate and remove the spark plugs. Plugs that are corroded or cracked must be replaced. Remember, spark plugs are generally only designed for 100 hours of mowing. So you can trust that they're much cheaper to replace than the entire mower.


You can identify a bad spark plug by looking at it. Use a socket wrench to unscrew the plug to inspect the electrode and insulator. Look closely: the center of the electrode should have a flat top. If it appears rounded, cracked, or blackened from carbon or degraded excess fuel, it's time to replace it.


As any experienced gardener knows, changing the oil in your lawn mower is essential to winterizing it. Not only does this ensure that your mower will start fine next spring, but it also helps to prevent corrosion and build-up of deposits. First, disconnect the battery and remove the spark plug to change the oil in your lawn mower. Then check the oil level with a dipstick - the oil will likely be black at the end of a mowing season. Finally, warm the engine before changing the oil. 


Move your mower onto a drop cloth in a well-ventilated area. Once you've done all this, you're ready to drain the old oil from your mower and replace it with fresh oil. Consult your owner's manual for specific instructions on how much oil to add. And remember to replace the old oil filter with a new one! With just a few simple steps, you can keep your lawn mower running like new for years to come.


It may seem like a good idea to drain the fuel, but doing so harms the engine. It will be harder for your lawn mower to start next spring if you run it dry before storing it for winter. Note: this concept is universal for all outdoor equipment and tools, inducing mowers, blowers, trimmers, and chainsaws.


You can easily damage critical parts of your lawn mower by draining the tank, including the carburetor. Because your lawn mower's carburetor blends air and fuel and circulates these elements into an engine's cylinders, it's one of the essential elements of a functioning lawn mower. Oxygen enters the lawn mower's carburetor every time you drain the gas tank.


Manufacturers often suggest emptying the gas tank because old, stagnant fuel during long storage periods can damage the engine. You may have heard this advice in the past. However, suppose you're draining the tank on an annual basis. In that case, there's a good chance you're shortening your lawnmower's lifespan.


How long is gas suitable for in a gas can? It depends on the type of fuel stabilizer you're using. Gasoline does go awry, and over time it can damage your engine. If you own a gas lawn mower, it's crucial to use a quality fuel stabilizer and fresh fuel before storing it away for winter.
A quality fuel stabilizer will keep your gas fresh for up to 12 months. If you're using a lower-quality fuel stabilizer, your gas may only last 3-6 months. Either way, adding a stabilizer will help prevent any buildup of moisture, which can damage your engine.


Removing your mower's battery for the winter is one of the best ways to preserve its power. Disconnect the negative lead terminal of your battery. Next, unplug the positive lead. Grab a dry cloth and clean off any debris. Store the battery in a cold, dry area away from heat or flammable substances like gasoline and furnaces.


Spring is in the air, so it's time to break out the lawn mower and work on those pesky weeds. But before you do, you should do a few things to ensure your lawn mower is in tip-top shape. One of the most important is to change the air filter.


A dirty air filter can damage the carburetor and reduce the engine's efficiency. So be sure to change it before you start mowing. The same goes for the fuel filter. A dirty fuel filter can also damage the carburetor and reduce engine performance. So be sure to change it as well. By doing these simple things, you can keep your lawn mower running all season smoothly long.


Sharpening or replacing your blades is a good habit to practice while preparing your lawn mower for storage. Dull blades can harm the grass on your lawn. Sharpening once a year is highly recommended. You'll thank yourself later for completing the task now.


  • Check mower deck belts, bearings and idlers: Issues with these mower parts will affect your mower's ability to make a clean and even cut on your grass.

  • Check transmission belts and idlers: Lawn mower belts wear over time – if they’re neglected, they’ll eventually break.

  • Lube all grease fittings: Lubing grease points throughout the mower are vital in routine preventative maintenance.

  • Check tire pressure and level the mower deck: Ensuring all tires have the exact correct operating pressure. Leveling the mower deck will help your lawn mower maintain an even level cut.

  • Set engine RPMs: Proper cutting depends on the mower blades' ability to turn quickly at higher throttling. Small engines often need a higher RPM to burn fuel efficiently, reducing carbon buildup and resulting in a cleaner engine.


Avoid storing your mower dry and without gas. The air gap promotes condensation, which worsens with ethanol fuel. Use the Star Tron (by Star Brite) stabilizer. Always store your lawn mower in an excellent, dry location away from flammable substances like gasoline or heat sources like furnaces or water heaters.

Here are a few tips to keep your mower running smoothly:


  1. Always read the owner's manual before using any outdoor power equipment. This will help you understand how the product works and identify potential safety hazards.
  2. Be sure to use fresh gasoline when filling up your fuel tank. Old gasoline can cause your engine to run less efficiently.
  3. For electric mowers, make sure the cords are not frayed or damaged in any way. Damaged cables can pose an electrocution hazard.
  4. Never leave outdoor power equipment unattended while it is running. This is especially important for small children and pets who may be tempted to touch moving parts.
  5. Always clean outdoor power equipment after use to prevent grass clippings and other debris from building up and causing problems.
  6. Be sure to winterize outdoor power equipment before storing it for the winter months. This will help extend the life of your product and ensure that it is ready to use come springtime.


Outdoor power equipment, specifically lawnmowers, is necessary for many Americans with a yard. As the weather gets warmer and the grass grows taller, it becomes more and more challenging to keep up with outdoor maintenance.


Have trouble or need a lawn mower tune-up? Luckily, our shop has been repairing lawnmowers for over 20 years and servicing nearly every brand of lawn equipment on the market.


We also offer pick-up and drop-off services for those who need them and a parts store for those who like to do things themselves. However, only some people are whiz regarding outdoor power equipment. So, if you're having trouble or need a lawn mower tune-up, call us or stop by--we're always happy to help.