Best Way to Store Your Lawnmower: 9-Step Guide
We all know to keep the lawn mower in the shed when it rains or snows. But how should you care for the blade? Should you drain the oil pan? And what happens when your mower sits for months with fuel in the tank and grass buildup on the deck? Use this step-by-step guide to ensure your lawn mower starts easily, cuts beautifully and performs better than ever come spring.
1. Remove, inspect and sharpen the blade
If you want to make your life easier (and lawn look better) next spring, start with these steps:
- Prevent an accidental engine start by disconnecting your spark plug wire, then tip the mower toward the side with the oil opening and carefully remove the blade.
- Check the blade for cracks. An out-of-balance blade cuts poorly, can damage the engine and should always be replaced.
- Sharpen the blade, removing equal amounts of metal from each side of the blade.
- Use a blade balance to ensure the blade is in balance after sharpening.
2. Remove grass buildup
A putty knife works well for thoroughly cleaning the bottom of the mower deck. Once all grass clumps and debris have been removed, spray the deck bottom with a corrosion protection product and put the sharpened blade back on.
Old oil contains moisture and acids that will pit bearings and other engine parts if not replaced prior to storage. Here’s how to do it correctly:
- Run the engine to warm the oil first, which will help expel more of the dirty oil and contaminants
- Replace with new oil
- Follow your owner’s manual when selecting oil (most lawn mowers use straight 30 weight)
4. Clean or replace air filter
If your engine has a paper filter, replace it with a new one. Most foam filters, on the other hand, can be reused after a simple cleaning process—wash with soap and water, soak the clean filter in fresh oil and then squeeze out the excess.
5. Stabilize fuel
Fuel can deteriorate in as little as 60 days, causing gum and varnish to build up in your lawnmower engine. That means difficulty starting the engine, poor performance and reduced engine life. The simplest, easiest fix is using a fuel stabilizer to prevent fuel deterioration during storage.
Do not run the tank dry. Instead:
- Add stabilizer to fresh fuel first
- Fill your fuel tank to full capacity
- Run engine for a few minutes to spread treated gas throughout the system and circulate new oil
6. Add stabilizer to fuel in the gas can
Stabilizers keep fresh fuel fresh, but won’t rejuvenate old fuel. Treat fuel in your gas can each time you purchase it. This way you know your gas is always fresh.
7. Change spark plug and protect internal engine components
While in storage, engine oil drains away and leaves internal engine components exposed. This results in corrosion and metal-to-metal contact (cylinder scuffing) at start-up next spring. Our recommendation is to treat the engine with a fogging oil prior to storage.
8. Check drive belts
Find any grease fittings and apply lithium grease, then lubricate other parts as instructed by your owner’s manual.
Looking for more lawn equipment maintenance tips?
You can learn more in the following lawnmower care and storage videos.