A perfectly manicured lawn can be a thing of beauty. But if you’re wanting to have repeat success, you’re going to need to give your frequently used lawnmower a great deal of TLC, especially in the fall. Before storing it away for the winter, take a few steps to ensure its longevity and a quick and easy start next spring.
CLEAN OFF ACCUMULATED GUCK
Minced leaves, grease and dirt accumulate on your lawnmower throughout the summer. Using your garden hose, spray mulched grass from blades with care, and wash off debris.
To sharpen a blade that’s in fairly good condition, just clamp it in a vise and run a metal file along the cutting edge, making sure to follow the angle of the factory bevel. If gas-powered, always disconnect the spark-plug wire before taking off the blade or doing any mower maintenance. If the blade is badly damaged, it may need to be sharpened by a professional, or be replaced. Ask a service shop to advise.
Once clean, using an old microfibre cloth and lightweight oil, give your mower a wipe down to avoid rust. Pay special attention to all moving parts: handles, dials and the axis of the wheels.
REPLACE OR CLEAN AIR FILTER
If the filter in your mower is an accordion-style paper type, simply remove the filter cover and blow out all the debris with a high-pressure air hose. When paper filters become too clogged and dirty, replace them. If the filter is made from foam it can be cleaned easily with a little soap and water. Let the filter soak, squeezing gently to clean out grease. Be sure to dry it fully before putting it back.
Cover your lawnmower to safeguard it, being sure the electric cord is wound nicely and secure, if it has one. Store your mower somewhere safe and dry.
A couple additional steps are required for a gas-powered lawnmower:
ADD A FUEL STABILIZER
Allowing the fuel to sit idle all winter will cause the ethanol in the gasoline to separate and its other chemical components to degrade, giving it a gel-like solidity. To avoid this, you must add a fuel stabilizer. Fill the tank with gasoline and add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer to the tank, based on the manufacturer’s guidelines. Then, let the engine run for about 2-3 minutes to get it nice and hot. This kick-starts the process to ensure the gas will not coagulate, for a quick and effortless start in the spring.
As a safety precaution, remove the spark plug to avoid start-up by curious children during the winter months.