Winter is coming. The summer was fun, but it’s time to pack away the barbecue, the bucket and spade, and the beach ball and prepare yourself for the coming autumn. Get some decent woolly gloves, turn the central heating back on again, and put your lawnmower away in storage. The thing is, if you want your lawnmower to work as well the next time you use it as it does today, you’re going to need to take some precautions first. You can’t just lock it in a damp shed and forget about it for six months. So find your lawnmower’s manual (you kept the manual, right?) and begin preparing it for hibernation.
Take out the battery
You don’t want to leave your battery sitting out in the cold and the damp throughout the winter months. Disconnect the battery cable from the battery, taking the negative cable off first (the one by the minus sign). Once you’ve got the battery out, give it a good wipe around with a cloth, then clean out the battery terminal using a metal brush. Then story the battery in a cool, dry place, well away from any gas cans, the water heater or the furnace.
Clean the lawnmower
Next you want to get your mower cleaned up. Remove the spark plug lead wire from the plug, and tape or tie it out of the way. Get off any leaves, grass and dirt with a brush or a hose. Then tip the lawnmower onto its side and use a stick or tool to fish out any debris caught in the lawn mowers underside. Whatever you do, don’t try removing the debris with your hands. The underside of a lawnmower should be a strictly hands free zone. Your fingers will thank you for it.
See to the fuel tank
You shouldn’t store your lawnmower with its fuel tank partially full. Run the equipment out of fuel, or if that sounds like a waste, add a fuel preserver or stabiliser to the fuel according to the directions on the packaging. After adding the preserver, run the lawnmower for a few minutes so that it circulates into the carburetor. Then turn off the engine and fill the gas tank up again to prevent moisture from condensing in the tank, which can lead to your carburetor getting clogged up with rust.
Store it Away
Finally, store your lawnmower away. Find a safe, protected and above all dry place to keep your lawnmower. Garages or sheds are usually good spots, however you should keep it away from water heaters, furnaces or any appliance which has a pilot light.
If you follow these instructions then when summer next rolls around you can unpack your lawnmower assured that it won’t be looking as beat-up and neglected as it otherwise might do. Then you can look forward to reinstalling the battery, refilling the fuel tank if it needs it, and setting it to work on a new year’s growth of grass.
This guest post was written by Mark Bartram who is the managing director of Lawnmowers Direct, and can’t wait for next spring already.