How To Winterize Your Ride On Lawn Mower

  • By: TheWalledNursery
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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You need to winterize your ride-on lawnmower every year before storing it for an extended period. If you don’t, you could have rust and stale fuel issues when you take it out for the summer. You’ll need to clean it, change the oil and filters, remove the fuel and disconnect the battery to winterize the mower fully. 

If you want to winterize your mower, it won’t take long. It keeps your machine safe and clean for the next season. It’s easy to learn how to winterize and make a habit out of it, as long as you use this guide! 

Why Winterize Your Ride On Lawn Mower? 

It’s a good idea always to winterize your ride-on lawnmower. The fuel in the tank will go bad 30 days after you get it, leading to damage inside the mower. Stale fuel can cause rust to form or even cause areas of the mower to stick. 

You can winterize the fuel for long-term storage by adding a stabilizer treatment to it. Doing so can extend the freshness of the fuel by several months, which is long enough for it to last through the winter.  

Plus, riding lawn mowers are expensive! Taking proper care of it ensures that you get the most use from your mower. You probably don’t want to buy another one so soon. 

How Can I Winterize Ride On My Lawn Mower? 

Winterizing your riding lawn mower before storing it is essential to keeping it running. You’ll want to take the time to clean it first, then get to work!  

Start by removing grass, dirt, and other debris carefully. Keeping the mower clean prevents rust from destroying the machine over time. You can spray out all the build-up with a simple water hose, then use a flathead screwdriver to remove any stuck pieces of debris. 

Now, you’ll want to take the lawnmower out onto a smooth, flat, and even surface. The driveway is the best place to work on the mower for many homes. Always remove the spark plug before cleaning for your safety! 

Perform an Oil Change 

Once you’ve cleaned off the mower, it’s time to perform an oil change! Doing it now means that your riding lawn mower will be ready for spring. You’ll want to lay down a cloth, then turn on the engine, so it warms up. 

Next, remove the spark plug and disconnect the lawn mower’s battery. You don’t want the ride-on mower to have any power source while changing the oil. 

Take a moment to inspect the dipstick. After using the lawnmower all spring and summer, the oil likely is dark and in desperate need of a change. You can drain the old oil by opening the oil valve and allowing it to flow into a container. 

Use the dipstick again to ensure that the oil tank is empty. Once it is, you’ll need to add the new oil to your lawnmower. The oil should come with an instruction guide for you to follow. 

While changing the oil, it’s also a good idea to remove your mower’s old oil filter and replace it with a new one.  

Overall, changing the oil now means you can quickly start your mower in the spring! Clean oil is better for the engine and won’t cause any harm to the mower by sitting in it throughout the winter. 

Empty the Fuel Tank 

Next, you’ll want to move on to empty the fuel tank. When gas sits in the lawnmower over winter, it can cause a lot of damage. You don’t want to have to deal with rust later! 

You can empty the fuel tank in a few different ways. First, you can run the lawnmower until it burns through all of the fuel. This process can take a while, but it’s easy to do. You can also siphon out the gas into a canister.  

If you want to reuse the siphoned gas, you’ll need to include a fuel stabilizer with it. Make sure to add the treatment to your mower before removing the fuel. Then, give the mower a few minutes to run, so the stabilizer thoroughly mixes with the gas. 

Store the Ride On Lawn Mower 

After going through the above steps, you’re ready to store your riding lawnmower! You’ll want to keep it in a dry place, preferably inside your garage or shed. 

You’ll need to take out the battery before storing it. To do this, always remove the negative cable first, then the positive one. Finally, cover the mower with a plastic tarp to keep dust off of it. 

After that, your riding lawn mower can safely sit in storage for a few months! You shouldn’t have to worry about it until you next want to cut the grass. Simply reconnect the battery and add the fuel back to the mower to set it back up.

Can I Store the Mower Outside? 

You won’t want to store the lawnmower outside during the winter. Some areas have a lot of moisture in the air, making the appliance rust faster. Some places have dryer winters, so storing the lawnmower outside wouldn’t be as much of an issue there. 

If you have to, you can still store it outside during the winter, as long as you take steps to protect it from the weather. You’ll want to cover it with a tarp that you tie down securely. You’ll also want to elevate the mower on a foundation. 

Keeping the mower off the ground prevents it from sinking into moist earth. It also helps with air circulation, keeping the lawnmower free of corrosion. 

In short, while you can store your lawn mower outside during the winter, it’s not an ideal situation. It’s better to have a garage or small shed for your equipment.  

When the mower is indoors somewhere, it’s less likely to be exposed to water. Plus, storing it can help keep your yard open for other activities during the winter!