How best to store a lawn mower
January 5, 2012 12:02 AM   Subscribe

Leaving my lawn mower in storage for at least a year - how best to do it?

My shiny red lawn mower is only about 6 months old and I have to leave it all alone while I go overseas. I'm wondering what is the best way to store it, so it's still in working order when I get back (could be up to a couple of years). It has separate petrol and oil tanks. Should I drain one or both of them? Leave them full? A little bit full? What should I do to service it when I get back? Any other tricks I need to know?
posted by superfish to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would run it till it stops going (out of gas), then change the oil and leave it clean and dry. You will most likely have to replace spark plugs, air filter, and fuel filter after you get back. The main goal is not to leave fuel lines with gas in them. Fuel gels after a few months, and the whole thing will have to be cleaned. The whole process is actually not much work.
posted by Felex at 12:12 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Put some gas stabilizer in the gas, run it until it runs out of gas. Don't drain the oil. When you return, change the oil and put gas in it.

You didn't say if it has a battery, if it does, remove it, charge it when you return.

Or, what Felex says + the stablilizer.
posted by HuronBob at 3:33 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't have a lawnmower, but I do have a motorcycle that I had to store this winter. A few more tips:

There could be some residual fuel in the carbeurator after running the machine out of gas - look for a drain screw near the bottom to get that last little bit out of the float bowl.

Find the air intake and exhaust, and cover them with a baggie or stuff them with steel wool to keep condensation out and prevent critters from nesting in your cozy engine.

Change the oil when storing and when removing. The first change gets any old corrosive oil out for storage, the second gets tasty new oil in for running.

Lubricate cables and moving parts (NOT WD-40) so that they remain moving parts.

You'll probably want to make sure the blade is clean and free of grass clippings (maybe remove it and store separately?)
posted by Wulfhere at 3:44 AM on January 5, 2012

change oil.
drain gas and then run until dry.
clean mower with hose.
you can collapse the mower down somewhat by taking apart the handles.
if you're going to be gone that long, you might be better off just selling the mower or renting it to a neighbor.

an idea for the future:

my family bought a lawnmower with a couple of friends in the neighborhood - they're not hard to share if you're relaxed about things. ditto snowblower, although that can be a little more difficult because when you need it, you need it right then.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:19 AM on January 5, 2012

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