How to Winterize Lawn Care Equipment

After the long summer, you may be thrilled to put the lawn mower, tiller, edger, and trimmer in the garage for the winter, but remember, summer (spring) will return, and when it does, you will find yourself in need of these tools again. Here is a guide to help make restarting them after a few month's rest easier.


  1. 1
    Decide when it is time to put your mower and other gasoline powered lawn tools away for the winter. Preparing them for winter storage is a waste of time, if the following week, a warm spell has the grass growing again, but usually a lawn will go dormant after the first significant frost.
  2. 2
    Thoroughly clean the tool. For a mower, this means cleaning underneath the mower deck, as well as around the engine compartment and any accessories (leaf bagger, drive gears, etc). Don't spray water on engine parts that can corrode and cause problems later, or around the carburetor or air intake, doing so is just asking for trouble.
  3. 3
    Allow the fuel level in the gas tank to run as low as possible so any remaining fuel can be burned up by allowing the engine to idle briefly. Some recommend leaving the tank completely full to prevent condensation from forming in the tank, but storing any gasoline engine powered device in a shed or garage with a full fuel tank is not a safe practice.
  4. 4
    Run the engine until it dies from lack of fuel. This will leave only a small residue of unburnt fuel in the intake and carburetor, which will be dealt with later.
  5. 5
    Remove the air filter/filter assembly, as required to access the carburetor throat/intake. If any dust or debris has collected around the filter assembly, close the carburetor throat and use compressed air to blow it clean before proceeding.
  6. 6
    Remove the spark plug and position the plug wire as far from the intake as possible. While an assistant pulls the crank rope (or operates the starter, if equipped) spray fogging oil into the carb throat so that it coats the cylinder wall, bore, piston, and intake manifold. Four or five quick shots of fogging oil and several pulls of the rope should do the trick. Replace the air filter with a new one, if needed, otherwise, reassemble it to keep trash and bugs out of your engine.
  7. 7
    Check the tires, mower deck, belts, pulleys, and other attachments to make sure they are in good condition. Unhook the battery (if equipped) and place it on a trickle charger long enough to make sure it is fully charged. It is generally a good idea to store a lead acid battery where moderate temperatures are maintained, if possible, but do not store where the terminals can be accidentally shorted out, it can be knocked over, or directly on a concrete floor.
  8. 8
    Cover the engine with a plastic sheet or an old table cloth. Secure it loosely to prevent dust and debris from covering it, and park it in a garage or shed for the winter months.


  • Mowers with pneumatic tires may be stored on "blocks" to keep the tires from setting or becoming misshapen.
  • Clean underneath a mower deck to prevent rust on a regular basis, not just as a part of winterisation.


  • Storing flammable liquids indoors, in a garage or shed, or other confined space can be dangerous.

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Categories: Lawn Care