Prepare Your Mower for Winter Storage

Posted on Sep 13 2013 - 10:09pm by Brent Hardy


I’ve noticed that my friends tend to be either grass-cutting aficionados, or just plain nonfans of the task. If you’re a fan of all things grass cutting, then you’ve probably already planned out how to store your lawn equipment for the winter. The rest of us need some help!


Get Your Mower Ready for Storage

Spend a little time this fall getting your mower ready for winter storage, and you’ll be rewarded in the spring with a mower that’s ready to go! I’m including some general steps below, but it’s important to check your operator’s manual for specific manufacturer’s safety guidelines, as well as cleaning and maintenance instructions for your model.


Image by Brian Richardson

Image by Brian Richardson


Ten Easy Steps to Prepare Your Mower for Storage     

  1. Disconnect the spark plug wire before working on your mower. Better safe than fingerless!
  2. Remove grass clippings and dirt from the undersides and top of mower. Give your mower a hardy rinse, and then dry it well.
  3. Sharpen blades and spray them with a spray lubricant.
  4. Clean or replace the air filter.
  5. Change the oil.
  6. Lubricate the engine.
  7. Remove the fuel from the gas tank, or add a fuel stabilizer and fill tank completely with gas. See much more about this below.
  8. If your mower has a battery, clean the cables and disconnect or remove the battery. Consult with your operator’s manual for recommendations.
  9. Allow engine to cool.
  10. Cover your mower and store it in a cool, dry location away from ignition sources.


Image by Charles & Hudson

Image by Charles & Hudson


To Remove Gasoline, or Not to Remove Gasoline

When it comes to storing a lawn mower with gasoline, there are two schools of thought. But before we get into that, let’s talk about what everyone does agree on. When untreated gasoline is left inside your lawn mower over the winter it can decompose and damage the engine of the mower. That’s bad news!


Many experts believe that an empty gas tank is best for seasonal lawn mower storage. Popular Mechanics suggests draining or siphoning the gas tank, and then running your mower to remove any remaining gas.


Instead of emptying the tank, other experts suggest just the opposite! The mower experts at Lowe’s recommend adding a fuel stabilizer and filling the mower’s tank with fresh gas before storage. But it seems that the best answer may be somewhere in the middle! Honda recommends adding a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank if your mower will be stored from 30 to 90 days. However, for seasonal storage of longer than 90 days, Honda recommends emptying the fuel tank. Learn more about how to avoid fuel-related problems during mower storage.


What’s Next?

With one job completed, another starts! According to the grass experts at Cornell, the best time to fertilize your lawn is between Halloween and Thanksgiving, which is about two weeks after the last mowing of the season. So, now that your mower is tucked away for the winter, consider breaking out the lawn fertilizer before you get too deep into raking leaves, or blowing snow from the driveway.


When is your last lawn cutting of the season? Where do you store your mower during winter?