Take a Few Extra Steps in the Fall to Make Spring Mowing a Breeze
It's a beautiful spring day, the grass is green again, and you're thinking about pulling out
the mower for the first cut of the season. Your lawnmower has other ideas. You yank and prime
and swear and yank some more. Nothing happens. So you call the lawnmower shop and they tell you
they can squeeze you in - next month. If you put your lawnmower away in the fall with a little
preparation, starting your mower in the spring will be a lot easier.
The Easiest Way: Take Your Mower to the Shop in the Fall
Most people would rather have someone else tune up the lawnmower. A professional will do a
thorough job. Just be sure to avoid the spring rush. Taking your mower in during the fall or
winter saves you weeks of waiting, and the money you spend translates into easy mowing next
A Quick Checklist for the Do-It-Yourselfer
Your owner's manual comes with instructions for maintenance, so be sure to look at it. If
you've lost it, here are some general tips for what to do before you put away your
1. Fuel-System Maintenance.
Add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank and run the motor for about 5 minutes to circulate the
stabilizer through the system. Another option is to drain the fuel tank, start up the motor,
and let it run until it stops.
2. Piston Care.
If you have a 2-cycle motor, slowly pull on the starter rope until you feel some resistance.
Slowly release the tension on the rope. This closes the intake and exhaust ports to keep air
from corroding the cylinder. For a 4-cycle motor, remove the spark plug, and then add about a
tablespoon of oil into the hole. Slowly rotate the engine several times using the starter rope
or key starter to distribute oil. Put the spark plug back in, but do not connect the wire to
3. Tighten Fasteners as Needed
4. Service the air filter as described in your owner's manual. Clogged air filters are a
leading cause of starting problems.
5. Clean the mower thoroughly
6. Touch up all rusted or chipped paint surfaces
7. Battery (if applicable)
Remove the battery from your mower and fully charge it before you store it.
8. Replace damaged or worn parts
9. Lubricate your mower where the owner's manual recommends.
Make sure your engine is cool, then move your mower to a dry, clean location away from the
reach of children, and cover it. Never store it in the house or near ignition sources.
Proper maintenance in the fall or winter makes starting your lawnmower in the spring a