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Bedtime for Baby: Lawn mower Winterizing Tips

by Kristin Marino, All About Lawns Columnist

You've done everything you're supposed to do to put your lawn to bed for the winter. You fertilized and aerated and mowed. But stop right there; don't just shove that lawn mower in the shed or garage and forget about it until May.

Would you put your kids to bed in the clothes they've worn all day, without dinner, or a bath, or teeth brushed or a story, or a tuck-in and kiss goodnight? If you would, you probably have more things to worry about than your lawn mower, but for most of us, the answer is absolutely not.

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Try a little bedtime tenderness on your lawn mower and you will have a cheerful and dutiful lawn mower raring to go in the spring.

Follow the easy seven steps below to ensure smooth mowing in the spring.

  1. Drain the gas out of the tank. Let the mower run until it's out of gas. I know... that's wasting! But hopefully you thought ahead and let most of the gas run out on your last mow of the season. What's a few dollars in gas compared to the hundreds of dollars invested in your lawn mower?
  2. Clean the mower. Set it on its side and scrub all the stuck on grass and debris with a brush and hot soapy water. Give it a good rinse with the hose. If you leave this stuff on, the mower will rust and be in bad shape by April.
  3. It's best to sharpen the lawnmower blade now. You will be eager to mow your lawn in the spring and most likely won't take the time to get the lawnmower blade sharpened. It's also a good idea to protect the sharpened lawn mower blade by applying a spray oil.
  4. Replace the air filter and change the oil in your lawn mower. Some air filters can be cleaned in hot, soapy water. Be sure to properly dispose of the old oil in the same way you would for car motor oil. That means, of course, not on the ground or in the sewer, but at an authorized disposal site.
  5. Apply a little clean oil to the sparkplug hole as suggested by an article in the fall 2004 issue of the North Carolina A&T State University Cooperative Extension Newsletter. The article also suggests pulling the motor a few times to evenly distribute oil in the motor. This should help keep moving parts from corroding during storage.
  6. As you do with the lawn mower blade, use a little spray oil applied to other moving parts to keep them from seizing up. This includes cables and the throttle control.
  7. Store your lawn mower inside if at all possible. A garage or storage shed is fine. If you must leave it outside, leave it protected from the elements and cover well.

Winterizing your lawn mower may seem like a lot of work. What sounds like even more work and hassle is pulling your lawn mower out of storage in the spring and finding that it just refuses to start. It seems like a lot less work to take care of business now and be rewarded in the spring with a lawn mower that starts right up.

How you treat your lawn mower now will determine how your lawn mower treats you - and your lawn - in the spring.

About the Author
Kristin Marino has been a homeowner for ten years and really does have the greenest lawn in her neighborhood. Kristin holds a bachelor degree in English from the University of Nevada.

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