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?
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.
- 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
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