How Do I Winterize My Lawnmower? A Step-By-Step Guide

It’s no secret that to keep your mower running well, you need to winterize it for the colder months of the year. It’s a simple process and is the best way to make sure your machine is ready to go come spring, so it makes sense to know how to do it properly.

To winterize your lawnmower give it a good clean first and check the blade for damage. For gas-powered machines decide if you’re going to drain the gasoline or store it full up after adding fuel stabilizer, and also change the oil if needed. Remove any batteries if possible and find a dry, protected space to keep the mower in over the winter.

Read on to find out the best places to store your mower during the colder months of the year and exactly when you should always drain the fuel first!

How Do You Prepare A Gas Lawnmower For Winter?

Properly winterizing your gas lawnmower is a task that’s as important as mowing your lawn itself. You will certainly be glad you did it when spring arrives and your mower starts up without a hitch! 

So, how do you prepare a gas mower for winter? Simple, just follow the steps below!

Give It a Clean

The first thing you should always do is clean your mower. Knock off that grass and dirt from underneath the deck along with servicing the blade, and give the whole thing a good brush. 

A clean machine is less likely to rust and it’s easier to spot any issues that might need addressing. I recommend doing this after your last mow of the season.

It’s also a good idea to clean your mower’s grass bag if it has one. If you don’t know how to do it, check out my guide here

Check The Gas

You’ve got two choices when it comes to gasoline – drain it or stabilize it. Your best bet is to follow what the manufacturer recommends, but always be sure to drain it if you’re storing it in a garage integrated into your living space (you can read more about why that is here). 

If you do decide to drain it, run the mower until it’s out of gas. This ensures that no fuel will be sitting in the carburetor over winter, which can cause damage as it degrades.

If you want to store it full of gas, always use a fuel stabilizer. It keeps the gas from breaking down and causing gummy deposits. Follow the instructions on the stabilizer’s bottle to add it and then run the mower for a few minutes to let the stabilizer circulate.

Disconnect The Spark Plug 

The next step is to disconnect the spark plug for safety, as this makes sure no one can inadvertently start the mower up whilst stored.

Change The Oil

It’s always a good idea to change the engine oil before storing the machine over the winter as well. This will keep old, dirty oil and sludge from sitting in the engine for months on end.

Disconnect The Battery

Lastly, don’t forget about the battery if your lawnmower has one. To stop it from deteriorating over the winter months, disconnect it, clean the terminals with a wire brush, and store it in a cool (but preferably not freezing cold), dry place. 

If you have a trickle charger to keep it topped up over the winter that will also help a great deal.

Should I Store My Lawnmower With Or Without Oil?

When it comes to storing your lawnmower for a long period without use, the question of whether to keep the oil in or drain it is one that many homeowners often worry about. 

The short answer? Keep the oil in. But let’s take a look into why that is.

Old oil can contain contaminants and acidity that may corrode engine parts over time. So, if you’ve been mowing all summer and haven’t changed the oil, now’s the time.

After replacing the old oil with new, run the mower before storing it. The new oil will coat the engine parts and provide a barrier against moisture and rust. Come spring, your mower’s engine will be in better shape for it.

It’s not a good idea to drain the oil and store the mower empty. An empty engine is vulnerable to moisture, which can cause rusting and corrosion. Even if you’re storing your mower in a dry place, it’s still possible for moisture to find its way in and cause problems.

So, in short, store your lawnmower with oil, but make sure it’s fresh oil. It’s a small step that can make a big difference in keeping the engine running nicely, year after year.

Should I Store My Mower With A Full Tank Of Gas?

The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as yes or no. It really depends on how long you plan to store your mower and where you’re storing it. Also, take note of the manufacturer’s recommendations in the owner’s manual.

Is It Safe?

If you’re storing your mower in a garage attached to your home, you should never store it with gas in the tank. Fuel fumes can build up over time and find their way into your living space, which is not only unpleasant but dangerous.

With so many possible ignition sources in the modern house, those fumes could easily be ignited.

So unless you have a detached shed or garage, always drain the fuel before storing your mower.

Short Term Storage

In the past, the common advice was to always fill up your lawnmower’s gas tank before storage. However, today’s gas isn’t what it used to be and it can begin to break down after just a month or two, leaving behind a sticky residue that can harm your mower’s carburetor. 

If you’re storing your mower for less than a month, it’s generally safe to keep a full tank of gas in it. When full up, this will prevent moisture from condensing inside the tank, which can lead to rust and other problems.

Long Term Storage

However, if you’re storing your mower for the winter or longer than a couple of months, you’ll want to consider adding a fuel stabilizer to the gas. 

This will prevent the gas from breaking down and leaving that problematic residue I mentioned earlier. After adding the stabilizer, run the mower for a few minutes to make sure the stabilized fuel reaches the carburetor.

Draining The Tank

If you’d rather not deal with fuel stabilizer, you need to drain the tank and run the mower until it’s out of gas. Just remember, this leaves the inside of the tank exposed and can lead to rusting if moisture gets in.

Also, the gas you drained will also need to be stored properly – you can read more about that in this article

How Do You Prepare An Electric Lawnmower For Winter?

Prepping an electric mower for winter storage is an easier process compared to a gas model, but the principles of good maintenance still apply.

Remove The Power Source

Before doing any maintenance on your electric mower, always ensure it’s unplugged or the battery is removed. 

Clean The Mower

Once that’s taken care of, give the mower a good clean. Brush off grass clippings, dirt, and any other debris from the mower deck and underneath. This helps prevent rust and makes it easier to spot any potential problems.

Check The Blade

Next, you want to check out the blade. If it’s been a busy summer, your blade may be dull or nicked. Sharpening or replacing your mower’s blade will ensure it’s ready to go in the spring, providing a clean cut that’s healthier for your lawn.

Store The Battery Or Power Cord

If you have a cordless mower with a battery, it’s best to remove it and store it indoors over the winter. Cold, freezing temperatures can shorten a battery’s lifespan drastically.

If your mower has a power cord, check it for any wear or damage. It’s better to find and fix these issues now, rather than when you need to use it at the start of the mowing season.

Your electric lawn mower is now ready for storage in a dry place that’s protected from the winter weather.

If you need more information about the proper way to store lawnmower batteries, check out this article

Can I Leave The Battery In My Lawnmower?

Whether you can leave the battery in your lawnmower depends on a few factors, such as the type of mower, the battery itself, and how you’re storing it.

Cordless Push Mowers

For most modern cordless models with a rechargeable Li-ion battery, it’s generally best to remove the battery during winter storage or any extended period of non-use. 

This is especially true if you’re storing your lawnmower in a cold environment like an unheated garage or shed. Cold temperatures can have a negative impact on your battery’s lifespan and performance.

Just remove the battery, fully charge it up and then store it in a cool, dry place with a stable temperature.

Gas Powered Riding Mowers

Gas riding mowers will have a large battery to start it (usually lead-acid) and it’s a good idea to remove these during long periods of not being used to prevent them going flat. 

They will also benefit from being kept in a place where the temperature doesn’t drop too low as this can affect their performance over time.

It’s a good idea to keep this type attached to a battery tender or trickle charger as well so that they’re ready to go in the spring.

Non-Removable Batteries

If you have a riding lawnmower or a push mower with a built-in battery that isn’t designed to be removed, the answer is a bit different. 

In this case, it’s best to store the entire machine in a location with a stable temperature that’s protected from the elements. Check your owner’s manual for advice from the manufacturer on what you need to do.

How Do You Store Mowers In The Winter?

The most basic requirement for winterizing your mower is that it needs to be in a dry, protected area. This could be a shed, garage, or basement. 

If you don’t have a suitable indoor space, consider getting a good quality waterproof cover for your mower. This will protect it from the elements and help prevent rust and corrosion.

If you want to store your mower outside, check out this article before doing so – it can save you a lot of trouble. 

Before you tuck your lawnmower away, give it a good clean. Removing the grass clippings and dirt from the mower deck and underneath can prevent mold and make it easier to spot any potential problems.

For gas mowers, you’ll want to pay attention to the fuel. Either drain the gas out by running the mower until it’s empty or add a fuel stabilizer to the tank. 

Also, check your mower’s oil. If it’s due for a change, it’s best to do it before winter storage. 

If your mower has a battery of any type, remove it (if possible) and store it in a cool, dry place. Cold temperatures can affect battery life, so it’s best to keep it in a stable environment.

For all mowers don’t forget about the blade! It’s a great time to inspect, sharpen, or even replace the blade if necessary. Starting the season with a sharp blade will make your mowing more efficient and healthier for your lawn.

Lastly, if your mower has a bagger or other attachments, clean and dry them before storing them.

What Temperature Should I Store My Lawn Mower?

For both gas and electric lawnmowers, a general rule of thumb is to ideally store them in a place with a stable, moderate temperature. The best location is a dry, enclosed area like a garage or a shed that typically stays above freezing and doesn’t get excessively hot or cold.

In gas mowers, cold temperatures can cause the oil to thicken, which makes it harder for the engine to start come spring. On the other hand, excessive heat can cause its own set of problems, like making rubber parts brittle or causing gas to evaporate from the tank.

If a garage or shed isn’t available or doesn’t provide a suitable temperature, consider storing your mower in a basement or similar indoor space (make sure to drain the fuel from a gas mower first though). 

If that’s not an option, a well-insulated outdoor storage box can work well, too.


I hope you’ve found this article useful and now realize that the time and effort you put into winterizing your lawnmower properly will pay off when spring comes around. 

Just remember to store it safely, particularly if you’re keeping it anywhere physically attached to your home.

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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