Here's How to Winterize Your Lawnmower and Other Lawn Tools

by Team eLocal
close up of lawnmower cutting grass

Yard tools like lawnmowers and chainsaws are expensive, so the last thing you want come spring is to discover they've deteriorated or corroded in storage. Therefore, it's important to know how to winterize a lawnmower and other yard power tools to keep them in good condition.

Here's a guide for winterizing all types of yard power tools so you can get straight to work on your lawn when winter ends.

How Do You Winterize a Riding Lawnmower?

Before storing your riding lawnmower for the winter, you'll need to take a few precautions to stop it from deteriorating. Following the steps below can help you save money on lawnmower maintenance.

Step 1: Empty or Stabilize the Gas Tank

Gasoline goes stale around a month after you pump it, which can damage your riding lawnmower's internal components. You can empty the tank completely by running the mower until it runs out of fuel. Or, you can add a fuel stabilizer to stop the gasoline from going bad.

If you prefer to add a stabilizer to preserve your remaining fuel, follow the instructions on the can carefully. Once you've filled the tank, take the lawnmower outside and run it for a few minutes so the stabilized fuel flushes through the engine. Never run a riding lawnmower in an unventilated space.

Step 2: Change the Oil

Run the engine for a couple of minutes to warm the oil before changing it. Remove the battery and spark plug, and drain the oil by opening the oil valve. When the oil stops flowing out, check that the oil tank is completely empty by testing with the dipstick.

Next, fill the oil tank with new oil. Now is also a good time to change the oil filter. Leave the battery and spark plug disconnected for storage.

Step 3: Clean the Lawnmower

Finally, clean your lawnmower thoroughly, including the deck and blades. You can flush out the deck by hooking up your garden hose to the deck port. Polish and dry the bodywork thoroughly with clean rags.

How Do You Winterize a Push Mower?

If you have a gasoline push lawnmower, you can follow the steps above. Electric lawnmowers will also benefit from a good cleaning and removing any caked-on dirt and debris to protect them from rust.

If your electric lawnmower has a lithium-ion battery, you'll need to protect it because low temperatures can shorten its lifespan. Generally, it's best to remove the battery and keep it inside your house during the winter.

Finally, check your lawnmower's manual to find out whether your lithium-ion battery needs to be stored at a certain charge when it's not being used for long periods. Many batteries fare best when stored with a 40% charge. If your lawnmower displays the exact battery charge percentage, either charge it or run it until it reaches 40%. If its battery gauge isn't this exact, your best bet is to aim for just under a half charge.

Some lithium-ion batteries automatically discharge themselves to reach the correct level when they haven't been used in a while. Some also require charging part-way through the winter. The manual that came with the mower will tell you if you need to recharge the battery while it's being stored. It's a good idea to set a reminder so you don't forget.

Don’t Forget to Winterize Other Yard Tools

You'll also need to winterize any motorized lawn tools before storing them for the winter. For gas-powered tools with four-stroke engines, you can follow the instructions for how to winterize a lawnmower. Battery-powered tools can be cleaned and stored with the batteries removed. Otherwise, use the following tips to get your yard power tools ready for winter:

Trimmers

Most trimmers have two-stroke engines, so you won't need to change the oil. Either run the trimmer until the fuel tank is empty or add a fuel stabilizer. Remove the air filter before running the trimmer for a few minutes to fog the engine. You can then replace the filter, replenish the string supply and give the trimmer a thorough clean.

Chainsaws

Like trimmers, chainsaws usually have two-stroke engines. Therefore, you usually need to drain the fuel tank or add a stabilizer as described above. Now is also a good time to sharpen the blades and replenish the chain oil. Place a chain guard on your chainsaw before storing it to avoid accidents.

Weed Whackers

Most weed whackers have two-stroke engines, so stabilize or drain the fuel tank before storing them for the winter. It's also a good idea to check the spark plug and trim line and replace them if they're worn.

Blowers

Blowers are straightforward to winterize. All you need to do is drain or stabilize the fuel tank and fog the engine. You may wish to clean your blower before storing it for the winter.

How Do You Store Lawn Tools During the Winter?

Store your winterized lawn tools in a cool, dry place like a shed or garage. It's essential to keep them away from anything with a pilot light or heat sources like furnaces, especially if they run on combustible fuel. It's a good idea to cover your tools with a tarp to protect them.

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