If you have not yet prepared your lawn mower or tractor for the winter, then you probably should get to it now.
A lawn mower or tractor needs to be winterized because of its gasoline engine. Cold weather can do a number on an engine and some of the liquids it needs to be able to perform. Winterizing is not a difficult task. However, it will take some time.
The process of winterizing begins with a good clean up of your lawn mower or tractor. A pressure washer will make this task a whole lot easier but is not necessary. Instead, you can use a little bit of soap and water and some elbow grease to perform the task.
It is always imperative to inspect and, if necessary, replace things in your tractor or lawn mower. You should be doing this during the year, but the beginning of winter is always a good time, too. Check the deck and deck belts, hangers and blades. If anything is broken, then make a note of it and sometime during the winter buy a new part and replace the old, broken one. Now is a good time to also sharpen the blades. It should be off the mower or tractor. To remove the blade, simply block the blade with a piece of wood and unscrew the blade bolt or nut. It is also advised that you wear gloves when working with a blade. Replace broken or worn out deck belts. Doing this now will prevent downtime during the spring and fall.
Of course, focusing on the fluids when winterizing your mower or tractor is essential. Check the level of oil in the machine. When you’re ready to change the oil, start up the engine and let it run for a short time to warm up the substance. This will make the oil easier to change and will help to get the dirt out when you remove the old, used oil. When you drain the oil make certain that the engine is off and don’t forget to replace the drain plug when you are ready to refill. This is also a good time to replace the oil filter if there is one on your mower or tractor.
You will want to attack the fuel system, too. When dealing with the machine’s fuel, make certain that you are working in a ventilated area and that you are some distance away from any source of heat or open flame.
Change the oil filter. To remove it, simply clamp off the fuel line between the tank and the filter and then remove by loosening the clamps that hold the filter in place and pull it out of the hose. Be sure to catch any gasoline that may spill during this process. It is also a good idea to replace the hose that goes between the filter and carburetor.
Don’t forget about the air filter. Remove it and the pre-cleaner and clean both parts. If they are old and the filter appears dirty, then replace it and the pre-cleaner.
The gasoline itself can be a major issue if you aren’t careful. It is advised that gas be stored for no more than 30 days without treatment and should be stored in an environmentally friendly container. If you have gas in the tank, treat it with a stabilizer and run the engine until there is no more gas. Make sure that there is absolutely no gas in the mower or tractor. If some remains in the tank or carburetor, it can gum up or form varnish that will clog the carburetor jets.
Push or ride the mower or tractor into a covered area for storage, then remove the spark plug so that you can put a teaspoon of engine oil into the spark plug hole. Replace the spark plug with a new one. Crank the engine over a few times to spread the oil inside the cylinder. Try to turn the engine over by hand until you feel the compression stroke. This closes the valves and prevents moisture from getting into the engine.
Spray penetrating oil on the underside of the deck to prevent rusting
Finally, finish the job of winterizing by removing the battery and store it in a warm, dry place. Some have advised that you charge the battery before storing.