How To Winterize Your Lawn Equipment
One of the most popular questions about lawn equipment is how to properly prepare and store it for the winter. Whether you are looking to winterize a lawn mower, a chainsaw, a leaf blower, or any other small engine, this article is here to answer all your questions! We will cover stabilizing fuel, general maintenance, batteries, cleaning, and storage for the winter.
There are three ways to deal with fuel in your gas-powered equipment during the offseason:
- Drain all the fuel and store with an empty gasoline tank
- Top off the fuel, add fuel stabilizer and store with a full gasoline tank
- Fill your fuel tank halfway, add stabilizer, and periodically run your machine throughout the winter, topping up used fuel.
Regardless of which method you choose, to restrict fuel from reaching the fuel tank during the winter, ensure that the fuel shut-off switch is in the “off” position.
Here are some winter maintenance tasks that you may want to perform on your lawn equipment:
- Change the oil
- Replace the spark plugs
- Lubricate cylinders with a small amount of oil
- Clean/replace filters
- Tighten screws, belts, and other parts that need it
Performing regular maintenance as part of your winterizing routine is optional, we just find that the change of season serves as a great time to get into a habitual maintenance schedule. With just a little extra effort, you will be shocked by the difference in how well your equipment performs and lasts over the years.
Properly preparing the battery for storage is key in order to optimize the life and performance of your lawn equipment:
- Disconnect the battery from the motor
- Cordless batteries should be detached from their tools and fully charged before storage.
- Ideally, the batteries should be charged every 30 days, but should not be left on the charging base any longer than necessary
- If your equipment has a large, water-holding battery, it should be topped off with distilled water before storage
Cleaning your equipment before storage is vital to extending its life, especially for lawn mowers. We recommend the following winter cleaning routine for your yard tools:
- Using a soft cloth, wipe away any grime, grease, dirt, organic material, and grass from the blades, cutting edges, and underside of your equipment
- If you can’t remove it with a cloth, switch to a brush and scrub lightly
- To prevent rust and future buildup, lubricate the blades, cutting edges, and underside with a lubricant after cleaning them
- Machine owners recommend everything from silicon, WD-40, motor oil, and even cooking spray
- If you find any chips in the paint, you should brush them up a little and then coat them with lubricant to prevent rust
- To keep your lawn equipment in the best shape, it should be stored for the winter in a well-ventilated, dry area that is protected from the outdoor elements
- If possible, it is ideal to store your equipment in a garage as they tend to be closer to room temperature than a shed or other structure
- Water is the biggest storage concern for yard tools. If you think the ground may get wet during the winter, you should hang your equipment up when possible
- If you are storing your equipment outdoors, ensure that it is properly weatherproofed and that the battery is stored indoors
Once a few winterizing steps are accomplished, you can rest easy throughout the season knowing that your tools and machines are in good order. It’s also great to start the summer season with the bulk of tool and machine service already completed. For more tool care tips, check out our Power Tool Care and Maintenance Guide!