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Prepping Your Lawn Mower for Winter

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

At the end of the growing season, your lawn knows just what to do. It takes in the last of the nitrogen fertilizer, storing up for the long rest. And if you've done your part, the grass is aerated, watered down for the winter night, and you're all but done, right? Hold up a moment. What about giving some love to your trusty mower?

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A lawn mower can be a large investment. You wouldn't put an automobile up for an extended stay in a garage without draining fluids and lubricating parts. And you need to treat your lawn mower the same way through the winter if you want it to operate in peak condition come springtime. Here are some simple steps:

  • Clean up the mower and deck
  • Roll the lawn mower out onto your driveway. Remove the clipping bag if you use one, and clean it out. Use mild soap and a scrub brush on grass clippings coating the blow port and around the wheels. Fire up the engine, and while the blade is turning hit it with high spray from a garden hose. (Usually, the best way to get at the deck is to spray just in front of the back wheels.) Keep it up until the spray drains out clear.

  • Add fresh oil and change the air filter.
  • Doing this now will save you time in the spring when you want to fire up the mower in a hurry. And the new oil and filter won't go bad over the winter. Check your spark plugs, too.

  • Run out all the gasoline
  • A dirty carburetor, soiled with old gas that sits through the winter, can give you start-up trouble in the spring. If you have no safe way to drain the fuel tank and dispose of the gas, simply run your mower until it runs out of fuel.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys,, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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