Tractor & Riding Lawn Mower Storage: a How-to Guide
The turning leaves and cool breeze flowing through the yard means autumn is upon us. Even though there might be one or two more days of lawn care and yard work left, it’s time to start prepping for colder weather by winterizing the engine in your zero turn mower, garden tractor or riding lawn mower for storage.
The benefits of lawn mower storage greatly outweigh the time it will take to complete, and luckily this how-to winterize guide from Simplicity will have you tucking your tractor away for winter in no time.
Perform a Proper Cleaning Prior to Your Riding Mower and Lawn Tractor Storage
The first step to the winterization process is by clearing your tractor or riding mower of debris and build-up, which can cause rust and erosion over time.
- Start outside on the drive way
- Remove the spark plug
- Hose down the mower clearing away any grass clippings or debris
- Be sure to spray the mower deck and blades to loosen build-up, utilize the mower deck wash-out port, by attaching your garden hose to the port (feature varies by model).
- Then using a stick or a long flathead screwdriver, scrap the inside of the deck to clear out any clumps of grass
- Wipe down the mower with cleaning cloths
Prep the Engine With an Oil Change
Changing the Oil is a great way to not only prep your lawn mower for winter, but it will ensure a fresh start come next spring.
- Move your tractor or riding mower onto a drop cloth in a well-ventilated area
- Be sure to warm the engine before changing the oil
- Then disconnect the battery and remove the spark plug
- Check the current oil level with the dipstick, after a season of yard work the oil will likely be black
- Drain the with oil drain valve, hose and pan
- Check the oil level again to ensure the oil tank is empty
- According to manufactures directions, add fresh oil to your mower
- Next, using an oil filter wrench, remove the old oil filter and replace with a new filter
Empty the Gas Tank or Add Fuel Stabilizer
There are two tricks you can use to keep protect your mower over the winter. Either run the engine until the gas tank is empty OR add fuel stabilizer to a full tank of gas.
- Start by adding a fuel stabilizer according to package directions in a gas can.
- Full the mower gas tank to full.
- Run the engine for a few minutes to ensure the gas treated with fuel stabilizer has circulated throughout the engine.
By emptying the tank or treating the fuel, the mower is now protected from erosion while in storage.
The last step in winterizing your lawn mower is to be sure to place in a cool, dry area and remove the battery.
- First remove the black (negative) cable.
- Then, remove the red (positive) cable.
- Cover the mower with a tarp.
It’s important to note that before you start to prep your lawn mower for winter to read through your mower manual and follow all safety precautions listed by the manufacturer. For questions on how to store a lawn mower, be sure to contact a Simplicity Dealer in your area.