How to Winterize Your Lawn Equipment
Thank goodness you say, the mowing season is finally over. No more cutting the lawn every five days and seeming never to catch up with it’s out of control growth! When the days grow short and temperatures begin to steadily drop, the grass slows down. And while your lawn never completely stops growing, you are through mowing for another season.
Thankfully and with little thought about the mower, you push it into the garage or shed and close the door. “Almost time for holiday lighting”, you decide. But what about the mower, the leaf blower, the string trimmer? Did you drain the gas out of each piece of equipment? Or, did you leave gas in the tank and add stabilizer? Did you clean up the equipment at all?
Smart homeowners, those who think ahead to that warm April day when you will need your lawn maintenance equipment, take a few preventive maintenance steps to ensure a successful spring start-up.
First, you need to decide whether or not to drain the gas from your powered equipment. Some do, others do not. Each method has its proponents and detractors. But when you drain the tank, air fills the empty space. Sometimes, during the winter, water can condense in the empty carburetor. Many homeowners have found that leaving gas in the tank and adding a fuel stabilizer is the preferred method of winterizing the engine.
Clean your mower. Turn the mower over and, while the grass clippings building up under the mower housing are fresh and manageable, scrape them off and rinse out the mower housing with warm, soapy water. Let it dry, then store the mower in a dry location for the winter.
This is a perfect time to clean and sharpen the mower blade, as well. With a sharp blade, coated with a thin, protective layer of oil, you are ready to mow off the dead and winter-damaged turf when Spring returns.
Mower manufacturers sometimes recommend removing the spark plug and putting a small amount of engine oil in the plug opening; then, with the plug removed, pull the oil through several times to insure it has adequately lubricated the engine. You may get a bit of smoke when you first fire up the mower next Spring, but the engine will be well protected. It makes good sense to take time before the snow flies to prepare mowers, blowers and trimmers winter.
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