While there might be a couple of days of lawn care and yard work left, it’s time to start prepping for colder weather by winterizing your riding, zero-turn or walk-behind lawnmower. Taking the time to properly store and care for your mower will ensure the machine starts up right away in the spring. Here are some steps to prepare your machine for the winter months:
Step 1: Clean
The first step in putting your mower away for the season is cleaning off debris and build-up, which can cause rust and erosion over time. Remove the spark plug and spray down the entire machine to clear grass clippings and other debris. Take a brush or long-handled screwdriver and scrape grass clumps from the mower deck, as these can cause rust if they are left on for the winter. Wipe down the machine with cleaning cloths.
Step 2: Prepare the Gas Tank for Storage
Most fuel system failures are caused by degraded gasoline. Gasoline from the pumps starts degrading as soon as it is pumped. The ethanol that is blended in attracts water and becomes corrosive to the fuel system of your machine. This can be prevented by properly winterizing your mower, and can be done in one of two ways:
Option 1: Drain The Tank
Either siphon out the gasoline from the fuel tank or run the mower until all the gasoline has been removed from the tank and fuel lines. Once the fuel is gone, add about a half-quart of STIHL MotoMix to the tank. This is a non-ethanol fuel that is stable for up to two years and won’t degrade in the tank, keeping your fuel systems safe. This is ideal for the long-term storage of any two or four-cycle engines. Run the engine for 3-5 minutes, ensuring that the MotoMix reaches all areas of the fuel system, including the carburetor.
Option 2: Stabilize The Fuel
For this method, drain the existing ethanol-blended gas, add non-oxy ethanol-free gasoline to the tank, and add a fuel stabilizer. The small-engine experts at Minnesota Equipment recommend Seafoam fuel stabilizer or Star Tron, both of which are readily available at all of our locations. Once again, run the engine for 3-5 minutes to make sure that the stabilized fuel mixture permeates the fuel system all the way to the carburetor.
Step 3: Finish and Store
After taking care of the fuel system, giving the machine one last wipe-down before is always a good idea. Disconnect the battery and bring it inside, storing it in a cool, dry place for the winter. Finally, cover your machine with a tarp and establish a safe place for storage that is out of the way.
Winterizing your lawnmower is as easy as 1, 2, 3 with Minnesota Equipment. Follow these steps and your mower will avoid fuel degradation problems over the winter and start up right away as soon as the snow melts. No matter what model you have, these steps apply across all two and four-cycle gas-powered engines. For any questions you have about winterization or small-engines, contact us today or find your nearest Minnesota Equipment dealer.