Lawnmower Storage Checklist
1 – Remove and sharpen blade. First disconnect spark plug wire to ensure engine does not start up. Tip mower over toward the side that has the oil opening. Remove blade. When sharpening remove equal amounts of metal from each side of blade. Use a blade balance to ensure that blade is in balance after sharpening. An out of balance blade cuts poorly and can damage the engine. Always replace a cracked blade.
2 – Clean bottom of mower deck of grass build-up. A putty knife works well for this. Once cleaned, spray deck bottom with STA-BIL® Fogging Oil to prevent corrosion. Put sharpened blade back on.
3 – Drain oil from engine and replace with new oil. Old oil contains moisture and acids that will pit bearings and other engine parts so it’s important to change oil prior to storage. Run the engine to warm the oil first. More of the dirty oil and contaminants will come out if it’s warm. Replace with new oil of type recommended in owner’s manual (most common type is straight 30 weight).
4 – Clean or replace air filter. Foam filters can be washed with soap and water and reused. Soak cleaned foam filter in fresh oil and squeeze out excess oil. If your engine has a paper filter replace with a new one.
5 – Stabilize Fuel. Fuel can deteriorate in as little as 60 days causing gum and varnish build-up in engines resulting in hard starting, poor performance and reduced engine life. Add STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer to fresh fuel to prevent fuel deterioration. Then fill fuel tank. A full tank prevents water condensation from getting in tank and causing corrosion. (Draining fuel does not prevent varnish formation in engines as fuel is left behind in the fuel system. Plus gaskets can dry out resulting in leaks in the spring.) Run engine for a few minutes to get treated gas throughout system. Running engine also circulates the new oil.
6 – Stabilize Fuel in Gas Can. STA-BIL will keep fresh fuel fresh but will not rejuvenate old fuel. The best practice is to treat fuel in your gas can each time you purchase it. This way you know your gas is always fresh.
7 – Change spark plug and protect internal engine components. While in storage, engine oil drains away leaving internal engine components exposed. This results in corrosion and metal-to-metal contact (cylinder scuffing) at start-up next spring. To prevent corrosion and cylinder scuffing treat the engine with STA-BIL® Fogging Oil prior to storage. To apply, remove the spark plug and spray STA-BIL® Fogging Oil into the engine cylinder. STA-BIL® Fogging Oil penetrates deep into the engine coating internal engine parts with a protective layer of anti-corrosive compound. The coating not only prevents corrosion but also lubricates the piston preventing cylinder scuffing at start-up next spring. Replace spark plug with new one.
8 – Check drive belts. Tighten loose belts. Replace belts that look worn or cracked
9 – Lubricate. Find any grease fittings and apply lithium grease. Lubricate other parts as instructed by your owner’s manual.