Do you want your old trusty mower to start back up in the spring, after several months in hibernation? Then properly preparing it for winter storage is crucial.
Otherwise, you might as well throw a new mower on your Christmas list, and hope Santa won’t charge you for delivery after making these naughty mistakes.
Here are 5 common mistakes to avoid this year when storing your lawn mower, tractor, or zero turn for winter.
1.) NOT Removing Old Fuel from the Gas Tank
Leaving untreated fuel in your gas tank during winter is practically a death sentence for your lawn mower’s fuel system. The gas will begin to go stale, corrode, and form gummy deposits in the fuel tank, carburetor, fuel lines, and fuel filter. So, your safest bet for long-term storage (more than 90 days) is to use or remove all fuel in your mower.
2.) NOT Draining the Carburetor Fuel Bowl
You’ve done a good deed by running the fuel tank dry, but a small amount of fuel may still remain in the carburetor fuel bowl. Get that gas out! Drain the fuel bowl so the gas won’t deteriorate, gum-up, and damage your carburetor.
3.) NOT Disconnecting the Battery
Even with the machine off, a small amount of juice can still be sucked from the connected battery on your riding mower and zero turn. This is often referred to as Vampire Power (Standby Power). When storing your equipment for long periods of time, disconnect the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. It will help decrease the rate of the battery’s discharge.
*Important Tip: Recharge batteries once a month to keep the juices flowing.
4.) NOT Changing the Oil
So why would you want to change the oil before storage? First of all, old used oil contains contaminants that you definitely don’t want sitting in your engine for three or more months. Secondly, it also gives you a head start on next spring’s tune-up, ensuring your engine is properly lubricated from the start.
5.) NOT Reading the Owner’s Manual
Before you start to prep your mower for winter storage, read the owner’s manual. Most manual’s provide instructions on the proper way to store your specific equipment for long periods of time. It might even recommend replacing the air filter and spark plug too, while you’re at it.