How to Store Your Lawn Mower for the Winter

Written by Elizabeth Dunn
Updated October 15, 2012
red lawn mower
Learn the proper way to store your lawn mower when it's not in use. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia)

Proper storage each year will extend the life of your mower and save time and money. If you don't winterize your mower, it may not work properly come summer.

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Learn how to properly store your lawn mower for the winter to avoid performance problems in the spring and summer. Proper maintenance can extend the life of your machine and save you money on parts and repairs.

Gas tank

If your mower sits all winter with gas in the tank, the gas can dry out in the carburetor and cause varnish to form, which is a dry film that can plug up jets and ports.

To drain the tank, simply turn the mower on and let it run until it is out of gas. Do this outside because fumes can pose a health risk in a garage or shed. You can also fill the gas tank and add a stabilizer, but emptying the tank is preferred.


Clean grass and debris from the outside of your lawnmower to protect the body and to prevent rust and corrosion. A garden hose usually has enough pressure to clean the dirt off the body of the mower. Remove grass clumps from the undercarriage with a wire brush.Motor Maintenance

Clean or replace the air filter. If your lawn mower has a paper filter, simply replace it with a new one. If you have a foam air filter, remove it and soak it in soapy water until it's clean. Rub it with about a tablespoon of motor oil before replacing it.Change the oil before storing your mower for the winter. Old oil can break down over the winter and cause severe wear in your cylinder.

Replace the spark plug. Unhook the spark plug wire and remove the old plug with a socket or spark plug wrench. Install the new plug but make sure not to over tighten it or it could prevent the mower from starting.

Sharpen the blade

Winter is a good time to sharpen your lawn mower's blades. If they're dull, have them sharpened at a lawn mower repair shop. A dull blade can put stress on the grass causing an uneven cut, and it forces the lawn mower to work harder. Have your blades sharpened before the start of the mowing season for optimal performance.


Make sure your lawn mower is stored in a dry area, such as a garage or shed. If you can't store your mower in an enclosed area, cover it with a water-proof tarp.

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