Lawn mowers, especially the gas-powered models, tend to take a lot of abused during the warm season. Therefore, you need to make sure that machine is in great shape before storing it for the winter season. Lawn mowers are of no use during this season unless you are looking to plow the snow using the lawn mower.
In order to ensure that your lawn mower is ready for the spring season and performing well in the next few years, it is important that you have it maintained and carefully stored during winter or off-season. From a simple oil change to the sharpening of blades, a proper maintenance of a lawn mower can ensure a good performance once the spring season comes in. This article will discuss some of the best tips in storing your lawn mower during the winter season.
1. Empty the mower’s gas tank
Leaving the lawn mower with unused gas inside the tank throughout the winter season can make the gas stale, which can lead to the carburetor being gummed up and rusty. First, you need to make sure that you add fuel stabilizer to the mower’s gas tank, then run the machine to distribute the fuel evenly throughout the system. Then, turn the machine off and allow the engine to cool off for a few minutes. Next, siphon any excess gas into a separate clean can or you can transfer the excess gas to your car, provided that no oil has been mixed to it. Restart the machine and run it until it fully stops. Repeat the process until the mower’s engine no longer starts and the fuel indicator shows empty.
2. Disconnect the mower’s spark plug
Before making any maintenance with the machine, it is recommended that you disconnect the machine’s spark plug to prevent it from starting accidentally, which can cause fatal injuries.
3. Remove the mower blades
You need to detach the machine’s blade by unscrewing the bolds that hold it securely in place in order to make oil change and cleaning the mower’s underside a lot easier. Make sure to wear thick safety gloves when removing the blade. After taking out the blade from the machine, take the opportunity to sharpen it.
4. Drain the oil
If the lawn mower comes with a 4-cycle engine, it is important to change the oil. There are also some lawn mower models that only come with 2-cycle engines, in which gas is mixed with the oil. Prepare a pan and place a tarp below the machine in order to catch any oil spatter. Set the machine on its side with the carburetor and air filter facing upwards. This is to ensure that no residual gas and oil don’t spill into them. Remove the mower’s oil reservoir plug and gradually the tilt the machine until its oil starts to drain into the pan. As soon as all the oil has been drained, you can replace the plug.
5. Clean the mower’s undercarriage
Scrape off the mud and grass on the mower deck by using a wire brush and putty knife. Doing so can help clear the passageway to the machine’s discharge chute. It also helps in enabling the deck’s aerodynamics to efficiently work as intended. It also prevents the development of rust which can damage the machine in the long run. After cleaning the deck, you can reattach the sharpened mower blade. As soon as you have finished attaching the blade, you can turn the machine upright and fill the gas tank with 30-weight oil or a fresh SAE 30. You can have the used oil recycled at the nearest service station in your area. However, it is it recommended to use thicker types of oil such 10W-40 as it can damage the machine.
6. Change the air filter
A lawn mower that inefficiently burns gas is a result of a dirty air filter as it hinders the air needed for combustion. If your lawn mower comes with a paper filter, you need to have it replaced with a new and make sure that the edges of the paper filter is facing out. If your lawn mower has an oil-soaked sponge filter, you need to have it removed and cleaned with soap and water. After cleaning the sponge, let it dry complete and add a bit of clean oil before placing the sponge back to the machine. Use a popsicle stick or a screwdriver to clear the mower’s cooling fins from dirt and other debris.
7. Replace the spark plug
You can use a socket wrench that comes a spark-plug socket to remove and replace the machine’s spark plug. Even if the mower’s old spark plug is still working fine, you can still have it replace for a few dollars to ensure better performance and smooth start-up the next season.
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