How to Winterize Your Tractor or Lawn Mower

Winterize Your Summer Equipment

Here in Wells Maine the winters can get pretty cold. Nick has a few easy tips so you can winterize your summer equipment. The tips below are for equipment you won’t be using for more than 60 days.

Unit Clean
Start with a thorough cleaning. If you have a pressure washer feel free to use it. Be careful not to push dirt and water into parts of your equipment not meant to withstand that amount of pressure.

Look over your equipment. If you notice anything broken or worn plan to replace it so you are ready for spring. Remove the blades from your lawn mower or tractor and have them sharpened. Nick suggests wearing gloves, especially when re-installing the sharpened blades. If you notice signs of wear on your deck belts have them replaced to avoid down time in the spring or summer. While you have the deck removed from your tractor check your owner’s manual on where to lube your tractor, also which lube to use.

Oil Change
At Spectrum Small Engine Repair we find it easier to change the oil if the oil has been warmed up. So after checking the oil level, start your engine and let it run for a few minutes. When you stop the engine you can drain the oil. Before adding new oil make sure you have the correct kind of oil for your engine and remember to replace the drain plug. If your engine has an oil filter this is a good time to change it.

Gasoline can be dangerous, make sure you are in a well ventilated area and you aren’t around an open flame or heat source. Start with changing your fuel filter. Clamp the fuel line between the tank and the fuel filter. Remove the filter by moving the clamps that hold the filter in place and pull it out of the hose. Have a container ready to catch any gas that may leak. Replace the hose that is between the fuel filter and carburetor because the filter can be sharp and may tear the hose when it is removed, a piece could enter the carburetor and cause issues. Remove the air filter and pre filter and clean or replace them if needed.

Preparing Gas
At our shop we are often reminding customers that gasoline should be stored for no more than 30 days without treatment and should be stored in the proper container. When you are thinking of storing your equipment you should add some gas that has been treated with stabilizer and then run your engine until it runs out of gas. The idea is to not leave gas in your tank or carburetor. If gas is left in the carburetor it could varnish or turn gummy and clog the jets.

Spark Plug
Park your equipment where it is going to stay for the winter. If you are going to use your tractor for snow removal this is a good place to stop. Take the spark plug out and add a teaspoon of engine oil into the spark plug hole. Replace the spark plug with a new one. Crank the engine a few times. This will spread the oil inside the cylinder(s). If possible turn the engine over by hand until you feel the compression stroke, this closes the valves and prevents moisture from getting into the engine.

Remove the battery and store it in a warm spot. If possible charge the battery before storage.

After completing these steps your summer equipment is ready to be stored for the winter. Always make sure to winterize your summer equipment before storing it for more than 60 days of non-use. Also, remember to replace worn or broken parts over the winter so your equipment is race ready in the spring. Have questions? Feel free to contact us today!