There are four seasons and they come and go like clockwork. Each season brings its own unique texture to our life. With the coming of fall we can expect cooler temperature, falling leaves and the beginning of football.
Because the outside temperature is cooler our lawns begin to shift focus. They no longer work at actively growing, but rather storing up resources for the coming winter. For the individual that mows their own lawn all summer long, fall activities like back-to-school planning can shift attention away from preparations for winter.
I'm sure there are plenty of home owners who have never considered the value of winterizing their mower. If they can head out to the shed next spring and yank the starting cord a few times, slowly letting their push mower wheeze back to life, they may not think it is ever needed. However there are important long-term advantages to making sure a mower is ready to hibernate.
No one wants to worry about lawn mower replacement, but this becomes a real possibility when you don't take the time to care for it properly.
Follow these 11 simple steps to prepare your mower for winter and keep your mower in the best shape possible.
If you have gas left in your mower you should siphon off the excess after the final mowing of the season. Make sure to start the mower and allow any remaining gas to burn off by running the engine until it runs out of fuel. The primary reason to do this is because any gas leading to the carburetor can cause damage to sensitive functions if allowed to sit all winter in the cold air.
Drain and dispose of oils used in the operation of the mower. You will want fresh oil in the mower come spring so the machine runs more efficiently. Follow local guidelines in the disposal of the fluid.
Remove and dispose of air filter. Most are made of paper and could stand an annual replacement (more often in some cases).
Turn mower on its side and remove blade using protective gear (gloves and goggles are great ideas).
Remove grass clippings and any vegetation buildup found in the undercarriage. Use a steel brush to clean any difficult areas. You want the lawn mower blade to spin freely. A clean mower underbelly also creates a better vacuum allowing more grass to make its way into your bag in the spring leaving your lawn looking great.
Place the blade back on the mower. Ideally, it is best to sharpen the blade before putting it back on for storage. A dull blade can cause grass to be damaged in spring. If you don't do this, make sure to make a note to sharpen the blade before that first spring mow.
Turn mower upright.
Replace oil and air filter according to owner's manual.
Remove and clean spark plug according to owner's manual.
Clean any debris away from the base of the mower.
Enjoy your winter.
By following these steps you can extend the time between when you purchased your lawn mower and when it needs its first replacement or repair. You will also reduce the time you need to get your mower ready for work in the spring.
While there are some individuals who are able to buy a new mower on a regular basis there are others who prefer to use the same mower they have had for several years. They can do this by taking exceptional care of the mower and thinking ahead when it comes to maintenance.
~Ben Anton, 2009Winterizing your Lawn Mower