Cooler weather is right around the corner, and like most of us, youíre probably getting ready to store your lawn mower for the winter. You should know that a lawn mower that simply gets "put away" is vulnerable to all sorts of maintenance problems, which could mean lots of extra work before you can put it back in service next spring.
If you want to keep your lawn mower in top condition for next spring and summer, here are four important steps you should follow to extend the life of your mower and keep it working hard for many years to come:
When itís time to crank up your lawn mower in the spring, be sure to check the tire pressure and all fluid levels because they can go down over the cold winter months. Start and run the engine at a low to medium idle for at least a couple of minutes so the oil can get redistributed throughout the mower's engine.
- Change the oil and filter on your lawn mower. This simple step gives you an opportunity to check the system for any contaminants and ensure that youíll start the next mowing season off with a supply of fresh oil.
Drain the old oil while the engine is still warm in order to get a complete flush and prevent any contaminants from settling back into the mower's oil pan.
- When storing your lawn mower, John Deere recommends either draining your fuel tank completely or adding a fuel stabilizer. Since fuel can begin to decompose after being dormant for a month or more, the stabilizer will help protect against carburetor clogs from old fuel.
After you add the fuel stabilizer, run the mower engine for about 5 minutes.
- Now is a great time to tighten all of your mower's nuts and bolts as well as check the belts, filters and safety shields. Repair and treat any chipped or scratched metal surfaces, and apply a very light coat of engine oil to pivot and wear points to prevent rust.
- Consult your mower's operator manual for any other winter storage suggestions, such as checking the battery and the electrolyte levels. Then be sure to store your mower in a safe, dry building. If you store your lawn mower outside, cover it with a waterproof tarp.
If you follow these simple tips, your lawn mower should in perfect condition and ready to go next spring!
About the author: Bill Klutho is John Deere's Groundskeeping expert.
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