Soon, the leaves
will be changing color, the birds will be flying South and your green grass will slip into a long dormant state.
Once this sequence begins; September in the Northern climates, mid to late October in the middle states, you can throw the cover over your old lawnmower and call it a year. It’s going to be many months before the grass needs its first cutting again.
But when it does, you want to be ready to act. So take the time now to do some maintenance on your idle lawnmower. Here’s a short checklist as a guideline:
- Drain all of the oil from the engine and replace with clean oil. Old oil contains a lot of moisture and acids that will grind bearings and other engine parts, so it’s really important to change the oil prior to long-term storage. Run the lawn mower engine to warm the oil first. More of the old oil and contaminants will come out if the lawnmower is still warm. Replace with new oil of the correct type in your owner’s manual. Most manuals stipulate S.A.E. 30W.
- Stabilize the Fuel. Fuel may deteriorate in as few as 60 days, causing gums and varnish residue build-up in engines and may result in hard starting, poor performance and decreased engine life. To prevent this from happening, add a fuel stabilizer to your lawn mower's gas tank. It will keep fresh fuel from oxidizing – forming gum and varnish that may clog fuel lines, fuel injectors and fuel filters. It also prevents damaging rust and corrosion in the lawnmower fuel system by dispersing water so it doesn’t collect in the bottom of the gas tank.
After adding your fuel stabilizer, you should run the lawnmower engine for a few minutes to run the treated gas throughout system. Running the engine will also circulate the new oil.
- Clean or replace your air filter. Foam air filters can be washed with soap and water and reused many times. Soak a cleaned foam air filter in fresh oil and squeeze out the remaining oil. If your engine has a paper air filter replace it with a new filter.
- Check the lawn mower drive belts. Tighten any loose belts. Replace worn or cracked belts.
- Lubricate your lawn mower. Find any grease fittings and apply lithium grease. Lubricate other parts as instructed by your owner’s manual.
Fall is also a great time to remove and sharpen the lawn mower blade, and to clean grass accumulation off of the bottom of the lawn mower deck. Take care of these maintenance affairs now and come Spring, all you’ll have to do is remove the cover off your lawn mower, turn it on and mow the grass.