Once grass cutting season is over, what do you do with your riding mower? Park it in the shed or the garage and forget about it until next spring? It's a good idea to winterize your mower at the end of the season, so it will be ready for next year. Not only is it fairly easy to do, but these few steps will extend the life of your machine as well.
After the final grass cutting of the season, follow these lawn mower winter storage tips from the lawn experts at Southern States. Always start with a good cleaning. With the hose, give the mower a good washing to remove any dust and dirt. Be sure to remove all of the old grass from the deck and on the blades. Move your mower to a dry, covered area where you plan to store it for the winter. Next, spend about an hour cleaning, inspecting and working on a fall maintenance checklist for your riding mower. It is so much easier to replace worn or broken parts when you don't need to rely on the mower for cutting grass. Plus, when you take care of these items during the off-season, you are almost guaranteed to get through the next cutting season without any issues.
Inspect the deck, deck belts, hangers, and blades. Remove the mower blades and check them closely for any damage. Replace them now if you need to, but at the least, have them sharpened. Inspect the deck belts and replace any that have signs of wear. Once you have removed the deck, it's a good time to lubricate and/or grease the mower. Refer to your owner's manual for specific instructions. Be sure to check and tighten all of the screws and bolts on the riding mower.
Winterize the mower's engine by changing the oil and the oil filter. This is an important task, because routine oil changes extend the life of the engine. Once completed, dispose of your old oil properly by dropping it off at a recycling center or a nearby service station. Prepare the fuel system for winter storage by adding fuel stabilizer to the tank. Run the engine for approximately ten minutes so the treated fuel can reach the carburetor. At this point, you can choose to drain the fuel out of the tank or leave the fuel in the tank with the gas stabilizer. It's a good idea to place some mothballs near the engine to prevent rodents from nesting in the winter. Check the spark plugs and the air filter. These may not need to be replaced every year. Your owner's manual will offer guidelines on how frequently you should clean or replace these parts.
The final item on your list is to prepare the battery for storage. Remove it from the riding lawn mower and charge it completely. Store in a cool, dry location until you need it. Your riding mower should now be safely stored for the winter. Come spring, you will be ready for the first grass cutting of the season!