Winter can be one of the most beautiful times of the year, but as it’s more than a little chilly, the majority of us probably also spend much less time outside. At this time of year you might well be thinking about tucking your lawnmower up for winter. Before you do, take the time to check over your mower and get it ready for storage. If you store your lawnmower without cleaning it and draining fuel you might find it doesn’t work in the spring. All of us have got to the point in the spring when we want to use our mower and it just won’t start, but basic servicing is surprisingly easy and can mean your machine is much more likely to run smoothly come spring.
Please bear in mind that this advice is all general guidance, and you should refer to your user manual for specifics for your machine.
The general advice is that it is best to store your lawnmower without fuel in it. The easiest way to make sure the tank is empty is to start up your machine and let it run until all the petrol has been used up.
Alternatively, you can add a fuel stabiliser to your tank. Follow the instructions on the pack and run your machine for a few minutes make sure it has circulated around the carburettor. Turn your machine off, and once it has cooled down, fill completely with petrol. This will help to prevent condensation and rust forming on the inside of the tank.
Unlike petrol, you should leave oil in your machine all year round. As oil will usually need to be changed around once a year, now is a good time to do so. Use a dipstick to make sure you refill to the correct level as too much oil can be as much of a problem as too little.
If you have cordless machinery, you should always check the manufacturer’s storage advice. Generally you should charge the batteries periodically throughout the winter, and with certain types you should store them inside rather than in cold sheds when not in regular use. For garden tractors, remove the battery and keep on charge over the winter months using a trickle charger.
Lawnmower blades are one of the most important parts of your machine for the simple reason that without them you won’t be able to cut a single blade of grass. Before mowing you should always rake your lawn to remove small stones and other hidden objects which could damage your blades, but inevitably at some point your blades will get damaged. Check your blades frequently to keep them in good shape, and if you notice any dents you will need to replace the blades.
The blades themselves are generally very easy to remove and replace or to sharpen, just look through your user manual for information about how to do this safely. If you’re not happy to carry out the work yourself, you’ll be able to have you blades sharpened by your local dealership. It’s usually a good idea to get this done earlier in the winter rather than just before you want to use your machine again because the workshops will become inundated with work.