Skip to Content

How to Winterize a Lawnmower

The advent of the winter season brings a lot of joy and pleasure. Christmas is not far, maybe a short holiday, snow fights, and much more. With all these pleasures, winters also come with specific responsibilities and tasks that one needs to do to spend this season without occasional hiccups.

No matter what the season, one needs to keep himself and his surrounding spick and span. This including taking care of his yard for the upcoming spring, and the most important thing required to make your yard and lawn look adorable is proper trimming. For this purpose, owing to a piece of machinery in optimum condition is essential. In winter a lot of equipment is kept idle, and this does not always improve its condition. After the winter, when spring arrives, and they are set out to do their task again, they start misbehaving. To have them stay in working condition, timely winterization is a necessary step.

How to Winterize a Lawnmower:

  • Step 1: Remove or stabilize the fuel
  • Step 2: Remove the batteries
  • Step 3: Remove the spark plugs
  • Step 4: Clean or replace the filters
  • Step 5: Change the engine oil
  • Step 6: Clean the mowing deck
  • Step 7: Sharpen or replace the blades
  • Step 8: Lubricate and the lawnmower
  • Step 9: Store the lawnmower for the next spring

If a lawnmower is not correctly and timely winterized, it may be inefficient and, at times, entirely unusable for performing its said duties in the next season. Using it without winterizing also has a terrible influence on its mechanical parts, such as the engine and carburettor.

To get most out of your machine so that you could store it away and have a presentable lawn or yard the next spring, you must winterize your lawnmower.  

Winterize your lawnmower in 9 easy steps

● Step 1: Remove or Stabilize the Fuel

When you are winterizing the lawnmower at the beginning of the winters, you can deal with its fuel in two ways.

– Remove all the fuel

You could remove all the fuel by emptying its tank as it is necessary to work at the start of the next season when required. The fuel can be removed by draining the entire tank and then storing it in a can. If the fuel has a stabilizer, you can keep this fuel for a long time (like next season). Still, if it doesn’t, then it is suggested to as soon as you can as in winters, fuel degradation can happen due to the separation of ethanol from gasoline. Once you have drained the tank, start the mower a couple of times until it no longer starts. This means that the fuel tank is now completely dry. 

– Stabilize the fuel

Another method is to stabilize the fuel. This is done by adding a particular amount of stabilizer in the fuel, depending upon its amount in the tank. Once you have added the stabilizer, start the machine a few times so that this stabilized fuel can now go through all the parts of the engine and the carbonator, making it secure for the coming season.

These two steps are important because the fuel’s alcohol component is harmful to the parts of the machine that are made up of plastic and rubber. Furthermore, the carbonator can also get jammed up and could undergo corrosion. Finally, if unstable fuel is left in the tank over a long period, it comes degraded that hampers the machine’s efficiency.

● Step 2: Remove the Batteries:

Suppose your lawnmower does not run on fuel but has chargeable batteries. In that case, it is necessary to remove the batteries after you have completely discharged them and then store them inside after thoroughly cleaning them such that they are dust and grease-free. The batteries must be stored at a cold, dry, and safe place with no flammable substances.

When the new season (spring) begins, charge the batteries with their respective charger (usually a 120V charger) and then install them in the machine, and now it’s good to go.

This step not only saves our machine but also prolongs the lifetime of the batteries.

● Step 3: Remove the Spark Plugs:

Disconnecting the spark plugs present in the engine serves to be a major precaution and safety step necessary to prevent accidental kick start. Moreover, once the plugs are removed, spray a bit of fuel in the cylinder and distribute it among the cylinder’s walls. 

● Step 4: Clean or replace the Filters:

A lawnmower consists of two filters, the air filter, and the fuel filter. Changing them after a specific time is necessary for the efficiency and maintenance of the machine. When winterizing, it is necessary to change these two filters while following the owner manual’s specifications.

● Step 5: Change the engine oil:

While keeping in view the recommended weight from the owner’s manual, it is necessary to drain the old oil and replace it with the new ones. The used oil is not entirely useless. It can be used as a lubricant for household purposes. Furthermore, you can be used to send it for recycling at transfer stations.  

● Step 6: Clean the deck of the lawnmower:

Before getting onto this step, it is necessary to remove the spark plugs as a precaution to avoid any accidental kickstart. Once you have done that, set up the mower on a plain surface and then tip it over. With the help of a spanner/wrench of a specific size, remove the blade of the lawnmower present underneath by unbolting and set it aside.

After that, with a scraper’s help, graze the grass clippings and the creak present underneath the deck. Removing this grate is because the moisture present in them could cause rust on the deck. 

● Step 7: Sharpen or Replace the blades:

Before getting onto this step, it is necessary to remove the spark plugs as a precaution to avoid any accidental kickstart. To work the lawnmower at optimum efficiency, the blades are needed to be sharpened or replaced once a year. If the blades get blunt, remove them and sharpen them. After sharpening, it is necessary to make sure that they are balanced accordingly, as the manufacturer has done them. On the other hand, if they get cracked, bent, and broken, the smart decision is to replace them with new ones while keeping in view the owner manual’s specifications.

● Step 8: Lubricate the Lawnmower:

The engine parts, wheels, joints, and the lawnmower deck must be cleaned and lubricated (preferably a spray lubricant) thoroughly. After that, use a towel or a succulent cloth to dry it and store it for the next season.

● Step 9: Storage:  

Finally, once you have followed all the above-mentioned steps, store the lawnmower indoors at a nice dry place — set traps for rodents to save the machine’s wiring from getting chewed up.


Safety Measuers:

  • Remove the fuel: Removing fuel is always a safer option for storing the lawnmower indoors or in the basement to avoid any fire hazard.
  • Storage temperature: Store the batteries at a temperature according to the owner’s manual (most of the time, the suggested temperature is between 40 – 80° F).
  • Disconnect the spark plugs: While performing these steps, make sure that you have disconnected the spark plugs to save yourselves from accidental kickstarts.
  • Use gloves: While removing and sharpening the blades, use rubber gloves and be careful with the sharp edges.

Related Questions:

How much time, skills, and tools I need to winterize my lawnmower.

Winterizing a lawnmower is an easy task and does not require any unique set of skills. It is at most a job that could be taken care of in a couple of hours. The necessary tools for this job are rubber gloves, spanner, scraper, screwdriver, new blades (or you could sharpen the old ones), engine oil, fuel and air filters, lubricant and rinsing clothe.

What is preferred, stabilizing the fuel or removing it?

This depends upon the situation. If you have a little fuel left, removing it would be a safer bet. On the other hand, if the tank has a large amount of fuel, removing it could turn into a cumbersome task. In this case, adding a stabilizer is recommended.

Nevertheless, if you decide to store your machine in your basement, it is always suggested to take out all the fuel as a precaution. You can easily use this fuel in your vehicle or stabilize and store it for the upcoming season.

Final Remarks:

Winterizing a lawnmower is an easy task. It does not only serve as a yearly tune-up for your machine but also makes it ready to trim your yard the next season, saving you from discomfort concerning both time and money. Doing this task at home not only saves you money but also makes you confident to deal with any further complication you come across in the future related to a lawnmower or, in this regard, any other machine.