I've heard a lot of anecdotes and shortcuts, but I am still unclear at to how to properly winterize a power push lawnmower. What steps or maintenance tasks should I take in order to keep it in good condition the following year?

4 Answers 4


The proper answer is "read the manual and do what it says". There is usually a list of maintenance that should be performed once a season.

Some common items:

  • Drain the fuel, or run it until it is empty.
  • Change oil
  • Check/replace spark plug
  • Replace air filter
  • Replace fuel filter
  • Scrape clippings from under the deck
  • Blade sharpen/balance, replace blade if necessary (do you have a torque wrench?)
  • Touch up any spots on the cutting deck with chipped paint and/or rust
  • Lube the wheel bearings
  • Lube the control cables
  • Put a tiny bit of oil in the cylinder and crank the engine a few times.

Many people skip a lot of these things. How much did you pay for your mower? How much is it worth to you to keep it in good condition?

I would also recommend NEVER using ethanol gas in your lawnmower as it leaves a residue like corn syrup on the carburetor.

  • 1
    +1 for an exhaustive list. I'm too forgetful to do it all in the winter though, I'll just end up checking and redoing it again in the spring. But it's a great list so you can theoretically pull the mower out in the spring, add some gas and go.
    – Steve Jackson
    Nov 19, 2010 at 16:39
  • Drain the fuel tank
  • Check the oil level, topping it off as necessary. (You may want to think about changing the oil as well)
  • Tilt the mower onto its side, and clean off any grass or debris which is stuck to the deck
  • Inspect the blade. If it is damaged or dull, take it off and sharpen or replace it if necessary
  • 1
    I'd be curious to see what others think about draining the gas tank - I've heard that isn't necessarily a good idea since it can allow seals to dry out or water vapor to collect in the tank and rust it out. Would simply adding some fuel stabilizer be better?
    – Eric Petroelje
    Nov 18, 2010 at 22:38
  • 1
    I can't really say from personal experience. I have generally drained at the end of the year, but have also inadvertently left gas in over the winter. I have not had problems in either case. I have just always drained because that seems to be the conventional wisdom.
    – James Van Huis
    Nov 18, 2010 at 22:51
  • Eric : if you're not going to drain it, I'd recommend stabalizer + filling the tank (to eliminate as much air as possible, to avoid moisture condensation inside the tank)
    – Joe
    Nov 19, 2010 at 1:55

I've had good luck with simply adding a bit of Sta-bil to a full tank, run it for a couple of minutes, and then parking it.

I usually wait until the spring to change the oil, clean/replace the spark plug, sharpen the blade, etc although you do want to make sure that there's no buildup of grass or other debris that will hold moisture against the body.


After you've drained the gas and oil you should clean the bearing and moving parts in the lawn mower with a lubricant like WD-40 or anything that isn't too oily that will cause dust and debris to stick to it – How to Winterize Lawn Care Equipment

  • 1
    Every one of your answers pushes the same website; please see the faq for the rules about self-promotion.
    – Niall C.
    Dec 20, 2012 at 21:25

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