You care about your zero-turn mower’s wellbeing – it’s been providing a smooth cut of your grass all summer – making your lawn the envy of the neighborhood. So you know it deserves a good thorough cleaning before it beds down for winter. Did you know that grass stops growing at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit? Up north in the beautiful White Mountains, New Hampshire has just had its very first frost of the season: No mow summer for us, that’s for sure.
For us, it’s time to turn in our pruning sheers and our beautifully manicured lawns and start prepping for the long winter ahead. That includes some outdoor power equipment maintenance. Are you asking yourself, “What kind of maintenance does my lawnmower need before winter?”
We’re here to help.
If you want to start your 2019 spring off right, make sure to follow the steps outlined below so that your lawn mowers, ditch diggers, landscaping equipment, seed spreaders, and trimmers are in good working order when you’re ready for them.
1. Find it a home!
Most of your lawnmower is made of steel, and if there’s one thing that’ll be sure to take years off your machine’s life, it is snow and rain sitting on it for months on end causing oxidation – that’s rust, my friends
The best option is a garage or shed, but any shelter is better than nothing – even a tarp is going to provide valuable protection.
2. Give it the hose!
While above I said that moisture was your nemesis, cleaning off debris like grass, leaves, and other yard “gunk” Is essential. Using a garden hose is probably the easiest way to manage this, but as long as you use gloves you can manage by hand... If you don’t do any cleanup, you’ve not only left dampness against steel, but you’re practically decorating for the mice, squirrels, and chipmunks waiting to move in.
Note: we do not recommend using a power-washer on your machine – the pressure can force oils and lubricants out of important places, like the bearings in your backside idler pulleys... if you did do that, take a look at this next step!
3. Check your pulleys!
- Do any of your v-groove sheaves have noticeable wear within the groove? In the most severe cases, the groove can be so worn down that the v-belt rides all the way into the bottom of the groove. This reduces belt life as well as your machine’s power output. Take a look at our V-groove Drive and v-groove idler sections
- Chances are that all the idler pulleys on your mower deck come with dual sealed[Defender] bearings. With time, however, debris can collect inside and cause the grease inside the bearings to be less effective. It’s easy to tell if this has happened – has your mower belt been squeaking? If you try to spin the idler your self, does it move smoothly or can you feel a crackly, catching feeling? If so, it’s time to replace
4. Think about gas!
Fuel that is left sitting for more than a month tends to work poorly and cause problems with your engine. In an airtight container, gasoline can last for more than a year, but we’re not dealing with the best circumstances inside your outdoor power equipment – air will mix in with the gasoline, some of the liquid will evaporate, leaving a less than ideal “gunk” in its wake.
- There are lots of arguments online on the best way to handle the leftover gasoline in your engine, it’s a riveting and contentious topic. The main arguments are the following:
- Run your mower until the gas is fully consumed, or syphon out the remainder, so that your tank is completely dry all winter.
- Fill your tank most of the way, add in fuel stabilizer, then run your engine for a few minutes so the stabilizer mixes fully. Fuel stabilizer will lengthen the lifetime of your gasoline by up to six months.
You should always review the recommendations of your Outdoor Power Equipment Owner’s Manuals, but the above are still some useful tools to remember as we prepare for the lawn-less months to come.
Thank you so much for reading! Do you have some tips for protecting your lawn mower this winter? Let us know in the comments.
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