Preparing Your Riding Mower for Winter Storage

Here is some information on preparing your riding mower for winter storage. Though many people simply park the mower for the winter, taking a few simple steps to prepare the mower for winter will help the mower run better next spring and help to extend the life of the mower.


When storing a riding mower for the winter, either empty the gas tank or use a fuel stabilizing additive. If you drain the tank, start or crank the mower to remove any residual fuel in the system. Fuel stabilizers are made by various companies and can be purchased at hardware and automotive stores, use the product according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Use the fuel stabilizer in any extra gas that you will be storing in cans over the winter as well.


Before storing the mower for the season, clean the mower to remove grass clippings and other debris from the mower. Leaving this debris on the mower can promote rust and corrosion on the mower. If using a water hose to spray away the debris, avoid spraying water directly onto the engine. Be sure to scrape away the accumulated grass on the underneath of the mower deck.


The end of the season is a good time to catch up on any maintenance skipped over the summer. Though the maintenance can probably wait until spring, completing the maintenance before storing the mower for winter will make it easier to get started mowing next spring. Clean or replace the air filter, replace the fuel filter, grease the wheels, sharpen the blade and check the spark plugs. Check the oil level in the engine or change the oil if needed.


Whether you remove the battery from the mower and store it separately for the winter or leave it on the mower, it is a good idea to check the battery’s charge and charge it a few times over the winter. Allowing the battery to discharge and sit uncharged can reduce the life of the battery. Clean any corrosion from the battery terminals and cables by using a wire brush and a solution of water and baking soda.

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