After you’ve cut your lawn for the last time this season, clean and maintain your equipment before rolling it back into the garage or storage shed for the winter. Here are some tips on what you can do now to be sure your mower will start easily next spring. Make sure your operator’s manual is on hand for quick reference when you work on your mower.
Remove the Battery
It’s a good idea to remove your lawn mower battery for the winter and store it in a cool, dry place. Be sure to store it away from gas cans, the water heater or furnace. Disconnect the battery cable from the battery, starting with the negative cable (it will have a minus sign). Remove the battery and wipe it off with a cloth. Clean the battery terminal using a metal brush, or clean it with a battery cleaner product like the Briggs & Stratton Battery Terminal Cleaner. For added protection, coat all terminals with a product like the Briggs & Stratton Terminal Protector.
Store your Mower in a Dry Place
Store your mower in a dry, protected place such as your garage or a garden shed. Never store it next to a furnace, water heater or appliance with a pilot light.
Clean your Mower
Brush or hose off leaves, grass and mud from your mower. Always remove the spark plug lead wire from the plug before doing this or any other mower maintenance, and tape or tie it out of the way. Gently tip your walk behind mower on its side to spray the underbody. If debris is caught on the blade, use a stick or tool to remove it – never use your hands.
Use Fuel Stabilizer Correctly
You shouldn’t store your lawn equipment with a partially full fuel tank. Either run the equipment out of fuel, or use fuel stabilizer in a full tank of fuel. Add the stabilizer (also called fuel preserver) according to package directions. Then – and this is important – run the mower for a few minutes so that the stabilizer circulates through the carburetor. The stabilizer keeps fuel fresh for up to 6 months. Turn off the engine and completely fill the gas tank. A full tank will help prevent moisture from condensing in the tank which can form rust that could break away and clog the carburetor.