ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Winterizing and Storing Lawnmowers and Other Power Equipment

Updated on March 9, 2010
Don't throw money away by ignoring basic maintenance.
Don't throw money away by ignoring basic maintenance.

Save money with proper care

Storing a lawnmower, snowblower, tiller, chainsaw, weedeater, lawn and garden tractor or other small engine outdoor power equipment piece need not be overly complicated. Really all you're trying to do is prevent damage from moisture, rodents and insects and to leave it in a condition where it will be ready to go the next season. What's worse than snow piling up and the snowblower not starting?

The primary concern we have now, and the largest complaint we see in the shop, is damage from ethanol fuels and the water absorbing properties they have. My shop recommends using a good fuel additive in the gas all season, SeaFoam and Techron are my personal favorites, but there are many good products to choose from. Your nearest marine center is a good place to ask about the local favorites.

Save money on small engine parts with a little basic maintenance.

Gone are the days where we recommended filling the tank to the top and then putting a piece of plastic between the cap and tank. Nowadays, the fuel we have will be ruined after several weeks and gelling and corrosion will begin. But, by using a good additive, at the end of the season you shouldn't have anything more to do for the fuel supply system than to drain the tank, start the engine and allow the fuel in the carburetor to run out. If you didn't use an additive all season, then do yourself a favor by adding one and letting the engine run for twenty minutes or so, then drain the tank and let the engine run dry.

This same procedure works for all two-stroke equipment as well. In fact, it's even more critical to properly prep the fuel system for two-strokes as you also have the oil mix and the deposits it leaves behind to contend with.

In my shop, an end-of-season prep includes new spark plugs, sharpening blades, (we'll coat the sharpened portion with a thin layer of spray paint to prevent rust) and a thorough cleaning of decks, engines, cases and anything else we can find. A change of filters and fuel lines if they are starting to break down and we will also change the oil for four-stroke engines and lubricate all grease fittings. If there are tires that need air, we fill them. We try to paint areas that need it and for riders, a coat of wax on the hood makes a world of difference.  On the Briggs OHV engines, we recommend checking and setting valve lash as well.

A word on changing the oil. We do this to remove the contaminated oil but at the beginning of the season, we will change the oil again before the engine is started. We change it again because there have been times when we've noticed the oil has collected water. Now this is a very humid part of the country so you might not experience this problem, but, most small engines hold around a quart of oil so the cost is only a few dollars. To me, that's just cheap insurance.

We will also inspect the equipment closely for problems that will need addressing before use in the next season. Such as belts, starter ropes and all other things that might prevent putting the equipment into service. It should also go without saying that the equipment has to be protected from the weather. Even just tarping will provide a lot of protection. If you can only store outside, if you put down a couple of inches of gravel to park on, and then use a good tarp that's tied down well, you will prevent a lot of damage.

The one thing we haven't found a foolproof solution for is rodents and insects. Mice love to chew on wirings and build nests in hidden places, like under the flywheel shroud. A number of insects will build nests inside exhausts, around flywheels, in ignition switches and anyplace else they can. The only advice I have about preventing these troubles is storing your equipment where the vermin aren't, and then still check on it every now and then so if they do get to it, you can maybe lessen the damage.

Outdoor power equipment can last for many years with some basic maintenance and care. If you'll spend a few dollars on that maintenance, you will save many dollars on replacements.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Michael - Lawn Mower Guy 

    7 years ago

    It is really important to winterize your tools! And I haven't come across these tips. Thanks for sharing! They're of great help!

  • PK Jones profile imageAUTHOR

    PK Jones 

    8 years ago

    Hi, Thanks! The OHV engines give people lots of fits. Most especially with the compression release. Valve adjustment should be an annual maintenance item, if so, you shouldn't have any trouble out of it.

  • profile image

    puvy 

    8 years ago

    Excellent articles ! I have been working on small engines for years both in a shop and in my garage . I did not have alot of knowledge of the ohv engines until now . I have an ohv engine on my rider that stops turning over on the compression stroke ..I thought it was the battery ( which I replaced , but the problem was still there ) until I read your comments on here ..now I know that the valves are out of adjustment causing the exhaust valve not to open to relieve compression upon starting ( I had no idea there was a compression release lobe on the cam )...thank you very much , I learned alot !

  • profile image

    lawn tractor reviews 

    8 years ago

    well written. very good articles and good value. thanks for sharing!

  • PK Jones profile imageAUTHOR

    PK Jones 

    8 years ago

    Thanks for the kind words.

  • the_tool profile image

    the_tool 

    8 years ago from Sandy, UT

    This is a great article! Another one I love for winterizing your tools and machines is over at eReplacementParts.com Just a heads up!

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)