6 Steps to store your lawn equipment for the winter. With fuel or without?

When it’s time for our summer equipment to hibernate, all good machine owners will take a little time to get them ready for their long winter nap. And why not? The last thing you want is to pull out the mower and find out it ain’t feelin’ it.

Fortunately, most folks will just put their lawn mower in the shed and leave them until spring. Out of sight-out of mind.

I say “fortunately” because when spring rolls around, your mower and your trimmer and your blower and your edger aren’t going to start.

Of course, we like that because you’re going to end up bringing them to us, and we get to charge you a minimum of $70 for labor to do a tune up!

Sorry, but there is a certain lifestyle of which I’ve
grown accustomed to, and Ramen noodles ain’t cheap!

Prepping for hibernation is a pretty standard procedure:

Step 1: We clean the air filter

Step 2: We check and/or replace the fuel filter and fuel lines

Step 3: We change the oil and oil filter

Step 4: We inspect belts, pulleys, and tire inflation where applicable.

Step 5: We inspect the spark plug…maybe a light coating of oil on the electrodes and the threads to keep it protected.

Step 6: Then we get to the gasoline part, and here’s where two tribes go to war.

Some folks are “wet” men and some folks are “dry” men (and shame on you for what you were just thinking there!).

I’ve been doing it this way for forty years and it’s worked just fine thank you!

Yeah, yeah. Settle down before you blow an O-ring there, pal.

Now, I’m going to start by saying “when in doubt, consult your engine service manual”.

Regardless of the stuff I spout here in the blog, the manufacturer will always trump me! So, follow your service instructions and if you don’t have them, we might be able to help you find them.

So, we’ve already established that there are two schools of though on the topic of whether to store your equipment with fuel in it or without fuel.

Some folks swear that the best thing to do is to run the engine dry, drain the tank and put her away. I think it may be more of a preference than preventative maintenance, but either way you look at it, the shop technician is the guy who can vouch for the results.

I mean, you can argue with me. But you can’t argue with a dead mower.

Here at Lawnmowerpros.com, we recommend storing your lawn equipment wet and here’s a few reasons why:

When you drain your fuel system, it leaves surfaces normally submerged in gasoline exposed to the air; air with moisture in it. Aside from shrink-wrapping your chainsaw, keeping your system filled with a good, ethanol free fuel is the best way to avoid that.

When the ambient temperatures start to drop, condensation will form, will freeze and will expand. We’re talkin’ science here folks.

Pretty soon, we’ve got corrosion (rust) forming where gasoline is normally kept. Most folks drain the fuel tank but forget to run the fuel out of the carburetor. So now, we’ve got oxidation and residual fuel additives gunking up the carburetor and the float bowl.

We’ve got gaskets, diaphragms, inlet seats, fuel lines…all exposed to rapidly changing / inclement temperatures and those will wreak havoc on all the soft, rubbery parts.

Doubt me? What keeps your lips from chapping? Applying a barrier that helps retain moisture. Go outside and smooch the wind for a while and then tell me how your lips feel.

I’m sure that some of you are understandably incensed by my proposition. “BALDERDASH!” You grumble with your grumbly little grumbler. And I get it. But walk a little further with me…

Sure, keeping gasoline with a good, solid fuel stabilizer is a great idea. And all the other inspection stuff is a good idea too. But there’s another key component here: Periodic equipment operation.

That’s a fancy way of saying you have to go out there and start the thing up from time to time. And that’s the secret. All of the problems you’re going to encounter with storing your machine boils down to the fuel remaining inert. Go out there and stir it up and most of those problem will go away.

I suggest doing it at least once a month. Pick a day…”fire it up Friday” has a nice ring to it. Wake them up and make those things scream for about a minute and a half.

That’s not so bad, after all. Then you  can go back inside and have a nice cup of cocoa.

Marshmallows? Hell. Go nuts.

Is it a pain in the edger? Maybe, for some. But forking over $120 to tune up your trimmer hurts even worse.

But hey! It’s your check book. We’ll see you in the shop.

Have any questions or comments?  Please feel free to contact us via phone or email.


Did you enjoy this article?
Signup today and receive free updates straight in your inbox. We will never share or sell your email address.
I agree to have my personal information transfered to Mad Mimi ( more information )
How to store your lawn equipment for the winter. With fuel or without?
Article Name
How to store your lawn equipment for the winter. With fuel or without?
6 Steps to store your lawn equipment for winter. Plus the great debate about storing your outdoor power equipment with fuel or without.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo

Bill Brown

Bill is the head of content creation for the LawnMowerPros Blog and DIY section. He’s been in the Outdoor Power Equipment Industry for years and he’s still learning new things everyday. You can often find him creating featured articles, DIY guides, videos, graphics and much more.