That new riding mower you used this last summer may be sitting in your garage ready to withstand any winter weather you perhaps already experienced. If this was your first year purchasing a riding mower, you'll have to realize you can't just park it and expect it to work perfectly next spring. Just like your car, it's going to need some maintenance before you store it away for a number of months. Otherwise, you face a riding mower that might not even start next time. And you don't want that when the lawn is up to your pant legs by March or April.
General Cleaning of the Mower
You'll want to clean your rider mower thoroughly so any grass or mud stuck around it won't harden over the winter. Once it hardens, it makes it all the more challenging to clean off if deciding to postpone cleaning until spring. When spraying a high-pressure hose on your mower, be sure to disconnect your spark plug wire. You should keep this disconnected through the winter by simply taping the wire off to the side.
Cleaning your blade on a riding mower usually means removing the paneling. It's better to remove dried debris on your mower blade with a scraping tool and not remove it by hand.
Removing Your Battery
You'd have to remove the battery from your car if storing it away for the winter, and it's no different with your riding mower. Anyone forgetting to do this will find a mower that won't start come springtime. But it's not hard to disconnect your battery. Merely disconnect the cables and store your battery in a safe location. It's a good idea to clean the battery cables so you'll be assured a good connection for your first lawn cut of the season.
Should You Empty Your Fuel or Use a Fuel Stabilizer?
This question comes up often when people store their riding mowers away for the winter. The answer is a double one, because either way is perfectly safe. Some people prefer to keep fuel in their mower through the winter so they don't have to fill up with fuel during the first spring cutting. When they do, they'll need to pour a fuel stabilizer into the tank to keep the fuel fresh.
In order to do this, you have to fill the tank full of gas rather than keeping it only halfway full. After the stabilizer is put in, run your mower for a few minutes so the stabilizer circulates throughout the engine. That's all it takes to keep the fuel fresh for as long as six months. By filling the tank, you also prevent condensation that could affect the carburetor.
Chances are, you'll be hauling that rider mower out before six months if you're just now storing it away. Be sure the storage location you choose is dry so you don't discover rust all over your mower after buying it new this year.
Here at Lawn & Leisure, we sell top riding mower brands for quality suburban lawn care. We also service those mowers if you think you need repairs before tackling that first cut of the season.