It’s Saturday morning; the sun welcomes the new day as it peeks through your bedroom blinds. Your feet hit the floor: the birds sing their spring-time song. You imagine them perched on the tree branches outside. The anticipation builds as the new season is here. Spring has officially sprung.
After a long winter, you’re ready to take in the warm sun; the cool breeze, and all the smells of spring. Today’s mission: mow. It’s been six months since its last manicure. You took all the precautions last fall. This year your lawn will be the best in the neighborhood.
With one hand you pull the start lever; the other you grip the chord. First pull… nothing. The same with the second, third, and fourth. You check the gas tank. It’s full. Next you check the oil and spark plug. Everything is topped off and connected so what can be wrong?
According to Dan Brekke, owner of Iron-Gate Self Storage, the number one tip for storing your lawnmower is by removing all the gas before putting it away for the season. He stated, “It’s best to remove all the fuel from the tank and carburetor before storing in a storage unit. Most units are not climate controlled. Environmental changes can cause corrosion and buildup in critical engine parts. If you are not able to remove the fuel, then adding a fuel additive is the next best option.”
To ensure you have a long healthy relationship with your mower, here are six tips for winter storage:
1. Remove Gas from Tank
After about 60 days, fuel can become stale creating gummy deposits to build up inside your engine. Once this corrosion occurs your options are to replace the engine or by a new mower. Neither of which are ideal choices.
The best way to remove gas is to siphon it out of the tank and back into a gas can.
2. Removing Gas from Carburetor
Once the gas is removed from the tank, start the engine until the carburetor runs dry. (The engine will sputter and stop.) This ensures all fuel is out of the mower. A dry carburetor helps prevent corrosion over the storage months.
3. Replace and Disconnect Spark Plug
Next to the fuel, the spark plug plays a major role in the starting of your mower. Faulty spark plugs prevent the fuel from igniting (sparking). With no spark there is no power. Again, corrosion can prevent your mower from starting.
4. Changing Oil
The acids and moisture in old oil can cause damage to engine parts. The key is to run the engine before removing the oil. This heats it allowing more of the contaminated oil to be available for removal.
5. Clean the Grass Buildup Under the Mower
In order for your mower to run properly it has to move freely. When grass buildup becomes excessive, it prevents the blade from spinning. A free spinning blade is crucial during starting. If the blade is slowed the engine will not start. Removing excess grass buildup before storage means you will not have to worry about it in the spring.
6. Clean or Replace Air Filter
There are two types of filters used in mowers today; paper and foam. If your mower uses a paper filter, then replacing it is your best option. Your mower’s engine needs to breathe just like you do. A clean air filter allows fresh air into the engine keeping it running at top speed.
If your mower uses a foam filter, you can clean it before storage with soap and water. After it’s clean, soak it in oil. Then squeeze excess oil and replace the filter into the engine.
As Dan said, “The best option is to keep all fuel out of a storage unit. Any flammable solution causes excess risk and worry, which no one wants.”
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