How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower (and Why You Should)

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Even though it still feels like summer, fall officially starts in a few days. And if you have a grass lawn, you may not be heartbroken at the thought of putting your landscaping equipment away for a few months.

But before leaving your lawn mower in the back of the garage, taking a few steps now to prepare it for its seasonal hibernation may save you a lot of hassle down the road. Here’s what to know about winterizing a lawn mower, courtesy of Elizabeth Flaherty for Family Handyman.

It’s time for an oil change

As you probably know, lawn mowers require oil just like other machines with motors. Once it has aged a bit, Flaherty says that oil—which contains gasoline, moisture, soot, and acids—can cause corrosion in internal engine components over time.

To prevent that corrosion from happening over the winter, she recommends giving your lawn mower an oil change and then letting it run for a few minutes. This gives the clean oil a chance to coat all the engine’s internal parts, leaving you ready to roll when spring starts. Also, Flaherty advises changing your lawn mower’s oil before taking care of the gasoline situation.

Deal with the gas left in the tank

If you’re done with your lawn mower for the season but find that there’s some gas still left in the tank, Flaherty says you have two choices: Either drain what’s in there, or top it off with fresh, stabilized gasoline (but, she notes, fuel stabilizer should never be added to anything but fresh, new gas).

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How do you know which option to choose? Your owner’s manual will tell you which is best for your mower, as well as let you know if it requires any additional maintenance ahead of its long winter’s nap.

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