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How to prepare a push
lawn mower
for
winter storage

The most common problems with lawn mowers after the off-season or winter can be prevented with proper preparation before storage.


Here's a handy checklist to answer the common question, "How do I prep my lawn mower for winter storage?"


  1. Read the owner's manual for model-specific maintenance and winterizing instructions.
  2. Take safety precautions before completing any work.
    Remove the spark plug wire and boot from the spark plug to prevent the engine from starting accidentally. Wear work gloves.
  3. Change in performance? Troubleshoot and repair a.s.a.p.
    If your lawn mower is noisier or has been difficult to start or is starting and then stopping, use our Repair Help to discover the likely cause and learn how to fix it. This may prevent costlier repairs later.
    Visit Repair Help
  4. Clean the deck and undercarriage.
    Use a degreaser to remove oil stains. Allow the degreaser to sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping. Car wash detergent and a hose will make it easy to remove grass clippings and other debris from the undercarriage.
  5. Check the blade for dullness or damage and replace as needed.
    Check the blade for dullness or damage and replace as needed If the blade is bent, replace it, as a bent blade is a safety issue and can cause premature wear to the engine or spindle bearings. Similarly, a blade with dents or gouges should be replaced. A damaged blade may increase risk of debris such as pebbles from being propelled at high speeds through the air. A dull blade tears grass, rather than cuts, providing a dried-out, brown look to the lawn. A blade that has already been sharpened twice should be replaced.

    Only use the blade recommended by the mower manufacturer in the owner's manual. Never use a universal-fit blade; for safety and performance reasons, your lawn mower needs a blade designed specifically for it.
    Shop Lawn Mower Blades
  6. Lubricate key components.
    To prevent rusting, spray a lubricant like WD-40® or silicone spray on any exposed metal parts in the undercarriage.
  7. Install clean air and fuel filters.
    Install clean air and fuel filters A clean air filter is critical to the health of the lawn mower, as it blocks dust, dirt and debris from entering the carburetor and engine. Dirty pleated, paper air filters must be replaced. However, hot water and a minimal amount of detergent can be used to clean a foam air filter. Remember to make sure the filter is completely dry before returning it to the lawn mower. If tears or other damageare found on the filter, though, you'll need to replace it. Fuel filters cannot be cleaned; they should be replaced at least once per season.
    Shop Lawn Mower Parts
    Shop Lawn Mower Tune-Up Kits
  8. Check and replace oil, if needed.
    Every 50 hours of use, the oil should be replaced. Fresh oil is golden or amber in color. Remember to use the correct oil recommended for your engine. Engine tune-up kits, which include replacement oil, make it easy to find exactly what you need. Old oil should be recycled; contact local small engine repair shops or auto parts stores about available programs.
  9. Determine if your lawn mower's fuel tank should be drained before storage.
    Fuel Stabilizer Lawn mower manufacturers vary in their instructions about draining or leaving fuel in the engine over an extended period. Read the owner's manual for model-specific information. If your lawn mower manufacturer recommends leaving fuel in the engine, be sure to use fresh fuel treated with fuel stabilizer to prevent clogging in the carburetor.The most common cause of a lawn mower failing to start after storage is a carburetor clogged with buildup caused by stale fuel. That's a fairly time consuming and expensive fix so it's best to do this step right.
  10. Clean the fuel cap.
    Use a paintbrush to remove buildup on the fuel cap. Do not spray cleaners or degreasers at the cap, as they can clog the cap's small air vents.
  11. Consider replacing the spark plug.
    Ensure that the tiny but important spark plug is fresh and ready for a new season in spring by replacing it now.
    Shop Lawn Mower Spark Plugs
  12. Find the best storage location.
    Find a dry, covered location for your lawn mower to rest. A lawn mower is best stored in a garage or shed, away from cleaning supplies or other chemicals that could damage the mower if spilled.

No hibernation for your lawn mower?

If you use your lawn mower year round, continue with the manufacture's recommended regular maintenance including periodic tune ups.


How to get other outdoor power equipment ready for winter:

Find maintenance and winterization tips for string trimmers, chainsaws, edgers and other outdoor power equipment in our Maintenance Tips.

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