Although we’re not there yet, there will soon come a point where the regular lawn mowings and hedge trimmings slow down. As we enter into fall and eventually winter, new growth slows down and eventually stalls out altogether. While the colder seasons provide some respite from the heat, it also means that work slows down to the point where you’ll pack your lawn equipment away for the off-season. But, before you do that, you’ll definitely want to take precautions to reduce as much maintenance as possible when it comes time to unpack everything in the spring. That’s why winterizing mowers and other outdoor power equipment is important.
We recently talked to Kris Kiser from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute to find out some tips and tricks for making sure our equipment starts back up when the grass starts to grow again.
Winterizing Mowers and Other Small Engines
Stabilize Any Fuel…Or Just Get Rid Of It
The first thing you’ll want to do to winterize mowers is to stabilize any remaining fuel. If you happened to check out our recent article on ethanol fuel, you’ll remember that ethanol seriously reduces the shelf life of gasoline. The reason for this basically comes down to phase separation. Ethanol fuel, given enough time, attaches itself to water molecules which will inevitably ruin an engine. Also, problematically, ethanol can warp seals and gaskets, which can cause costly repairs when spring rolls back around.
The best course of action is to just run all your fuel dry before you pack everything away. As winter approaches, buy less fuel more often. If that doesn’t sound reasonable, at the very least, invest in some fuel stabilizer which can extend the life of your fuel from 90 days to a year.
Part of your process for winterizing mowers should revolve around a thorough cleaning. Remove and sharpen your mower blade. Before reinstalling it on the mower, coat it in a thin layer of oil to keep it free from rust.
Clean dirt out from under the deck, and from in between the wheels. It might take some scraping with a wire brush, but getting the dirt and crud off will help keep your metal parts from corrosion.
Remove your spark plugs on all your equipment, and give your cylinders a shot of oil. Give the recoil handle a good tug or two to ensure that the oil coats the inner wall of the cylinder. Replace the old spark plug with either a clean or a new spark plug.
Clean or replace any air filters. Lube up any moving parts. Change the oil. All these things should help keep your small engines in tiptop condition for when it comes time to fire them back up in the spring.
Most of the aforementioned maintenance tips can be avoided altogether with electric motors. You won’t have to futz around so much with gas and oil. You’ll still want to sharpen blades and clean parts of debris, but the hardest parts of winterizing mowers and other small engines will revolve around keeping your batteries charged.
Special thanks to Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. To learn more about OPEI you can visit them here .