Mistakes to Avoid When Storing Your Lawn Mower

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Is your reliable lawn mower resting in your garage or shed, patiently waiting out the winter? As the grass takes a break from growing, it’s important to properly store your mower to ensure it’s ready to get back to work come springtime.

Many of us jam our mowers into a dusty corner and call it a day. But quick and careless storage can lead to a whole host of problems, from corrosion and rust to seized-up parts. Taking the time to properly store your mower will pay off with years of reliable service.

In this article, we’ll highlight the most common lawn mower storage mistakes that can shorten your mower’s lifespan. We’ll also share tips to prep your mower for a long winter’s nap. Avoiding these errors will save you time, money, and headaches when it’s finally time to resume mowing.

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Storing Your Lawn Mower

Proper storage is essential to ensuring that your lawnmower lasts for many years. However, let us face it, most of us just throw our mowers in the shed or garage and call it a day. While this may seem convenient, it can result in several small issues that shorten the life of your mower.

Let’s run through the 7 most common mistakes people make when storing their trusty mowing companions.

Mistake #1: Storing a Dirty Mower

After a long season of mowing, it’s tempting to just shove your grass-stained mower into the garage without a second thought. But storing all that clipping and debris can lead to some nasty problems. Leftover grass clippings attract insects and rodents looking for a warm place to nest. And thick vegetation that’s left stuck to the underside of the deck can prevent proper air circulation, leading to rust and corrosion.

Before storage, thoroughly clean your mower to extend its life. Start by hitting the mower deck with your garden hose or a pressure washer. This will remove most of the accumulated gunk. For any remaining debris, scrape and brush the deck clean. Pay special attention to the underside and areas where grass can accumulate.

While you’re cleaning the deck, check the mower blades for any wear and damage. Dull, bent, or cracked blades should be sharpened. This ensures a clean-cut next mowing season.

Don’t forget to clear away any accumulated grass from under the top engine cover. Excess clippings can ignite when they come into contact with hot engine parts. A good cleaning time well spent by you will prevent premature wear on your trusty mower.

Mistake #2:Neglecting to Drain the Fuel

Here’s a common mistake that can leave you with a non-starting mower come springtime. Storing your mower for months with old gas still in the tank. As gas ages, it forms gum and varnishes that clog up the carburetor and prevent proper engine function. Left too long, stale gas can even eat through rubber gaskets and seals, which is a major headache!

The fix is simple: completely drain the gas tank before storage. Run the engine for a few minutes before draining it to use up the remaining fuel in the carburetor. Close the fuel shutoff valve and allow the engine to stall out.

To get every last drop of old gas out, disconnect the fuel line from the tank and allow it to drain into an approved gas canister. If you have a fuel stabilizer on hand like Sta-Bil, adding the recommended dose as you fill up for the last mow can extend the life of the remaining gas over winter.

But make sure to run the engine long enough for treated gas to cycle through. With fresh fuel in the tank, your mower will start right up next season. 

However, ensure that you fill up with new gas formulated for winter or summer use, depending on when you fire up your mower again.

Mistake #3: Forgetting to Drain the Oil

Similar stale gas is a common culprit when your mower won’t start, using motor oil left sitting over months of storage can turn to sludge. This goopy mess in the crankcase can prevent oil from properly circulating and lubricating engine components.

To keep your mower’s engine running smoothly, drain the old motor oil before storage if it has been over 3 months since the last change. Be sure to dispose of used oil properly; many auto parts stores accept it.

Drain Lawn mower Oil
Drain Lawnmower Oil

After draining, replace the oil filter and pour fresh oil into the fill line. Then run the mower for a minute to circulate the new oil before final storage.

For shorter storage, you can simply change the oil beforehand as part of your end-of-season maintenance routine. Remember, there is no need for a pre-storage drain if the oil was recently replaced.

Mistake #4: Not Disconnecting the Battery

For riders and self-propelled mowers, properly maintaining the battery over winter is a must. During storage, the battery can slowly discharge over many months. Left unchecked, it could drain completely, leaving you stranded next mow season.

Before storing your mower, disconnect the cables from the battery terminals. This isolates the battery from any electrical draw during downtime. If removing the battery from the mower, store it indoors in a cool, dry place. A discharged lead-acid battery that freezes over the winter is often ruined.

An alternate option is to leave the battery connected and maintain it with a trickle charger or battery tender over winter. This provides a steady low voltage current that keeps the battery optimally charged until spring.

With these simple steps, your riding mower’s battery will be vibrant and ready to crank over the engine when needed again. Be sure to reconnect and check the charge level before the first post-storage start attempt.

Mistake #5: Allowing Tire Air Pressure Loss

It may seem minor, but allowing your lawn mower’s tire pressure to drop over winter can lead to problems. Partially deflated tires left sitting during storage can develop flat spots. This affects riding, self-propelled, and push mower mobility. Uneven tire pressures also cause scalping and poor cutting performance when you go to fire up the mower again. Low pressures reduce traction and maneuverability as well.

Before storage, use an accurate gauge to inflate tires to the recommended PSI. Raise the mower up on blocks to prevent flattening during long-term storage.

While not always required, consider placing blocks under the wheels or frames to raise them off the ground. This reduces the chance of flattening if you store it for many months. Starting the season with properly inflated tires improves mowing performance and lifespan.

Don’t overlook this important step before storing your mower!

Mistake #6: Skipping Blade Maintenance

Your mower blades take a beating during the mowing season from impacting rocks, sticks and other debris preventing the engine from running at full power. The end of season is the perfect time to remove them for sharpening or replacement before storage.

Inspect each blade carefully as you remove it from the underside of the deck. Look for excessive bending, chips, nicks, and wear around the cutting edges. Light honing with a sharpening file can freshen up dull edges on otherwise undamaged blades. Heavily worn, warped, or cracked blades should be replaced.

Dull blades tear the grass rather than cutting cleanly. Proper blade maintenance improves the cut and avoids overworking the mowing motor.

Mistake #7: Not Securing the Mower Properly

Most importantly, don’t forget to secure your stored mower properly, even in a garage or shed. Set the parking brake and turn the ignition off to prevent accidental starting or rolling. Use tiedowns anchored to solid points so the mower won’t shift or tip during winds. Store in a locked area when possible, and never let children play around a stored mower.

Be sure to cover your lawn mower with a high-quality, weather-resistant mower cover. This provides an extra layer of protection from the elements during storage.

If possible, store it in a locked garage or shed when not in use to prevent unauthorized operation. Never allow children to play around with a stored mower. Don’t just shove your mower in a corner and forget it. We will also discuss the best places to store lawnmowers. So stay tuned!

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Where to Store Your Mower for Maximum Lifespan

After knowing every mistake to avoid, it’s time to put your hardworking lawn mower to bed for the winter. But where exactly should you store it?

Figuring out where to keep your mower during its off-season slumber requires some thought.

You must keep the lawn mower in a dry, sheltered place that is easily accessible for quick spring start-up. which also protects it from elements that can lead to corrosion, rust, and costly repairs down the road.

Certain storage spots invite problems, while others keep your mower safe and sound until it is ready to work again. Read on for tips on finding the ideal indoor or outdoor storage solution for any mower and space situation.

Garden Shed

For many homeowners, a garden shed offers the perfect covered locale to store push and self-propelled mowers during winter downtime. When selecting a shed, look for these lawn mower-friendly features:

  • Vented design: Allows airflow to prevent moisture buildup inside
  • Elevated floor: Raise the mower off the ground to minimize dampness
  • Wide doors: Give ample room to maneuver mowers in and out
  • Lockable – Secure storage prevents unauthorized use or theft
Storing Lawn Mower
Garden Shed for Storing Lawn Mower

Place the mower on wooden pallets or cinder blocks to promote air circulation underneath. Before storing, follow proper winterization procedures like draining gas and disconnecting the battery.

A properly prepared mower stored in a ventilated shed keeps it shielded from snow, rain, and other harsh elements. Come spring, just unlock the doors and roll it out ready to tackle the emerging grass!

Mudroom

For homeowners without a shed, storing smaller push mowers in a mudroom can be a convenient solution. Look for a spot that stays dry and maintains moderate temperatures year-round.

Stand the mower vertically to minimize footprint. Drain the fuel and disconnect the spark plug wire for safety during off-season storage. If storing an electric robotic mower or cordless battery model, position it near an outlet so batteries maintain optimal charge until spring awakening.

With the mower kept indoors, there’s no need to worry about precipitous weather or critters seeking shelter within engine compartments. Just roll it back outside once grass is ready to mow.

Outdoor Pergola

Don’t you have room in the garage or shed? During mowing season, an open-air pergola can be a handy outdoor storage solution. Look for a level, high-and-dry spot in the yard.

Place the mower on paver blocks to raise up from wet grass. Before stashing beneath the pergola, coat all metal parts with WD-40 or other protective lubricant.

When the grass stops growing, take time to fully winterize the mower with proper lubrication, oil changes, battery removal, etc. Then cover it securely with a waterproof tarp or breathable mower cover.

Take advantage of the pergola for quick access while cutting grass. When winter hits, move the properly prepped mower into more protected storage.

Important Tips for Proper Lawn Mower Storage

  • Fully winterize mower before storage according to manual
  • Raise mower up on blocks or pallets
  • Disconnect battery and bring it indoors if possible
  • Drain fuel or add stabilizer to prevent gumming
  • Clean off all grass clippings and debris
  • Lubricate all metal parts to prevent rust
  • Cover securely with a breathable waterproof tarp
  • Store in a dry, ventilated space protected from elements
  • Secure the shed or storage unit with a lock to deter theft

With some planning and preparation, you can find the perfect storage sanctuary to keep your mower safe from harm. Follow these tips to ensure seasons of reliable service or you can also this video to learn how to winterize your lawnmower by clicking here

Conclusion

Investing time and avoiding common mistakes to properly store your lawn mower will pay big dividends down the road. The effort spent upfront prevents frustrating issues when you go to fire up your machine after months of sitting.

If you have any other helpful tricks for properly storing your lawn mower, make sure to share them in the comments below.

FAQs

Can you leave a lawnmower outside in the rain?

It’s best to avoid leaving a lawnmower outside in the rain. If inevitable, ensure it has a waterproof cover and consider placing it on an elevated surface to prevent water damage. Regular maintenance is crucial in such cases.

Can a riding mower be stored outside?

While not ideal, if outdoor storage is necessary, use a durable cover and park it on a level surface. Consider removing the battery and storing it separately to prevent damage.

Should I disconnect the battery for winter?

If your mower has a battery, disconnect the cables and bring the battery indoors. This prevents gradual discharge over the winter. Use a battery tender if keeping it connected.

Do I need to service my mower before winter storage?

Yes, replace worn parts, sharpen blades, lubricate components, inflate tires, and clean the deck to extend mower life over winter downtime.

What type of oil should I use when storing my mower?

Check your owner’s manual, but most experts recommend using fresh conventional oil before storage. Synthetic oils can harden and cause problems if left sitting too long.

Should I disconnect the battery for winter?

If your mower has a battery, disconnect the cables and bring the battery indoors. This prevents gradual discharge over winter. Use a battery tender if keeping it connected.

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