So you picked up the latest and greatest in lawn equipment – a brand new riding mower, a leaf blower, or maybe a chainsaw – and used it all summer long. But now that winter has arrived, your brand new power tool is sitting in your shed or basement for the winter.
It’s smart to store your lawn equipment in a warm, dry place for the winter. Doing so prevents it from suffering damage due to freezing temperatures and all the water that comes along with melting ice and snow. But a shed or basement isn’t always a sure thing – there are other issues that can crop up when equipment is in storage for an extended period of time that you need to be aware of. So today we’re going to look at how to maintain your yard tools all winter long, so they’re ready for use when the season changes.
- Add a stabilizer (fuel additive) to the mower’s fuel tank and run the mower until the tank is empty at the end of the mowing season. This will clean out the tank and fuel injector, and help avoid moisture build-up while in storage.
- Remove the spark plug from the engine and pour a small amount of motor oil (make sure you’re using the manufacturer recommended grade of oil) into the oil cylinder. Slowly pull the starter cable several times to help distribute the oil throughout the mower’s engine. Doing so will keep all the parts of your mower well lubricated and will help protect against rust.
- If your mower’s air filter is made of paper, replace it at the end of the mowing season with a new, clean filter. If the filter is made of foam or another durable material, clean the filter with warm, soapy water and then reinstall it. Avoiding a clogged air filter will help make sure that you get off to an easy start in the spring.
- Remove the mower blade(s) and have them cleaned and sharpened. Reinstall them and store for the winter.
Lawn Tractors/Riding Mowers
These tools require a lot of the same maintenance and storage as a push mower, with a few extra steps along the way.
- Replace the fuel filter at the end of the mowing season.
- Replace old engine oil and filter. Make sure you dispose of used oil appropriately by taking it to a waste disposal facility.
- Remove the battery and hook it up to a trickle charger while in storage to preserve the battery’s ability to charge fully when in use.
- If your weed trimmer is gas-powered, treat it just like a mower – add a stabilizer (fuel additive) to the fuel tank and run the trimmer until the tank is empty.
- Thoroughly clean all exterior surfaces and make sure all intake and exhaust vents are clear of debris.
- Hang the trimmer in a clean, dry area – or store according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Hedge Trimmers & Chain Saws
- Like your other gas-powered tools, add a stabilizer to the fuel tank and run the tool until the tank is empty.
- Thoroughly clean all the exterior surfaces and blades.
- Spray a light coat of machine oil or resin solvent on the blades to prevent rust.
- Hang the tool in a clean, dry area – or store according to the manufacturer’s instructions.