10 Top Tips For Storing A Lawn Mower Over The Winter
Your lawn mower has been a faithful companion all summer, but now it’s time for its well-earned rest. You can’t just park it in your shed and leave it for months, expecting everything to be as you left it when spring surfaces. Spend some time tucking your mower in at the end of the season to make sure your spring reunion will be a harmonious affair.
1. Disconnect Spark Plugs
Disconnecting spark plugs from petrol lawn mowers is important for two reasons; it means it won’t spark whilst you are cleaning the mower, and it will also enable you to clean the spark plug itself. A summer of activity can mean spark plugs can end up covered in carbon so now is a good time to give it a good clean to make sure it is fresh and ready for next year. You will not need to consider this for electric lawn mowers as spark plugs are not used.
2. Check Your Air Filter
A dirty air filter will stop the engine or your petrol lawn mower burning fuel efficiently so this may need replacing. Ideally this should be cleaned or replaced after every 25 hours of use. If your air filter is working well already, it will help the whole mower run more smoothly. You will be grateful for sorting this early once spring has arrived. On electric lawn mowers dust filters are often used to prevent dirt from entering the motor and causing damage.
3. Remove Any Batteries
For battery lawn mowers, it’s recommended that you remove the battery over winter and keep it fully charged. Avoid storing the battery in extremely hot or cold conditions like garden sheds over the Winter as this may damage the battery cells. If possible keep stored safely out of the cold in the house. It’s worth wiping the battery with a cloth to make sure it is in good condition before you store it away for the winter. Keep the terminals clean with a wire brush or a similar battery-cleaning product. You will also need to charge the battery and make sure that it keeps its charge over the winter. If it loses charge over the winter, this could be an early sign that you may need a new battery for the next season. It is best to refer to the manufacturers manual for storage and cleaning as instructions can vary depending on the type of battery.
4. Remove Old Petrol
Petrol is usually a mixture of many different components, which react differently over time and can go stale and lose its volatility. It’s important that you make sure the lawn mower is run dry, and any remaining fuel is removed before storing it over the winter. If you do leave stale petrol in your lawn mower over the winter, you will find that the lawn mower may struggle to start, which could seriously damage the engine or a significant reduction in its performance. Stale petrol can also clog up the carburetor and can invite rust.
5. Replace The Oil
While it’s important to empty the fuel, the opposite is recommended for oil. Make sure your petrol machine is topped up and in good working order with high quality oil before you store it. This means removing the old oil that is already there, before topping up with new high quality oil. The fresh oil contains rust inhibitors that can help extend the life of your lawn mower. If you don’t change the oil before storage it will allow deposits to settle during the wintertime. For a steer on what oil is recommended for your machine, check the manufacturer’s instructions for more details.
6. Store Petrol Lawn Mowers Flat On The Ground
The last thing you want is some residual fuel or oil seeping into the engine by storing it vertically. Some petrol lawn mowers have a specially designed feature, which allow them to be stored vertically to save space without the risks of fuel or oil running through the engine, however, make sure your mower can do this before storing it upright. This isn’t as critical for electric or battery mowers but check manufacturer’s instructions for the best advice.
7. Clean The Cutting Deck And Blades
The moisture left by cut grass can be corrosive so it’s important that you give your lawn mower blade and cutting deck a good clean before you store it. You should also remove any debris that could end up clogging your lawn mowers air vents which help keep the motor/engine cool and air inlets on hover mowers as this helps them hover. When the new grass cutting season comes around you will be grateful for a clean machine, as grass cutting will seem so much easier!
8. Check The Sharpness Of Blades
Now is a good time to check that the cutting blades are in a good condition ready for next year. It may be worth sharpening them so that you get the best cut possible when spring comes around. Dull blades will rip the grass instead of cutting it cleanly, which will make it more susceptible to diseases. It also frays the grass, which can cause it to dehydrate at the tips and cause it to turn yellow. You will also find cutting much easier with a sharp blade so either sharpen or replace your cutting blade each year. To find replacement blades for your Flymo visit our dedicated spare parts page here.
9. Be Careful With Cables
For electric mowers it is advisable that cables aren’t wound around too tightly when you store the machine. The last thing you want to do is cause extra strain on the cable, causing it to fray or break. Now is also a good time to decide if you need to replace the cable ready for next year.
10. Cover Up
Keep your mower dust critter free in the wintertime by covering it with a sheet. Any unwelcome guests or buildup in dust can cause havoc and the last thing you want to notice is that the mower has developed rust or a blockage when cutting season starts again.
The best advice will be in your manufacturer’s manual. Taking a bit of care at the end of the season will help keep your lawn mower by your side for years to come. If you do need to replace parts, our Flymo spares page is here to help.