Riding mowers can be a godsend during the summers for those who don’t enjoy (or simply can’t) mow their grass by foot. However, when storing your rider mower away for the winter, you’re going to have to maintain it so it’s in optimal condition for the following spring. What things should you check and maintain during the winter or just prior to spring?
Just like a car, a rider mower is going to need an oil change while it’s in storage during the winter. This usually starts with replacing the oil filter, especially if it’s looking overly dirty.
Next, you’ll have to change the oil itself, and that’s going to involve draining the old oil out. Each rider mower brand is going to differ on how you drain the oil, so read your manual carefully. You may have to go to your local recycle center to dispose of the oil.
Once you add new oil, you should take the rider mower outside and turn it on for a few minutes to let the oil circulate internally. Doing this in late winter right before spring starts will give a boost to the performance of your rider mower when doing the first lawn cut of the spring season.
Replacing the Blades
If your rider mower is older, the blades might be getting dull and need replacing. This is going to involve removing the deck housing to get access to the blade. It’s important you don’t let the blade turn while removing it to avoid injury, and blade removal tools are available that hold it in place.
Once the housing is off, it’s always a good plan to clean out grass clippings underneath that accumulated during the mowing season. In fact, it’s a good time to clean the entire mower so you can clean areas you ordinarily wouldn’t be able to reach.
Keep in mind that when taking the blade out of your rider mower, some models may allow sharpening. Not all models allow this, and it’s usually recommended you have a professional do this procedure. Regardless, you can buy sharpener kits that allow you to balance the blade. You’re obviously at an advantage sharpening an existing blade rather than having to spend money for a new one.
Other Maintenance to Consider
Be sure to check the tires of your rider mower as much as you would your regular vehicle. Use a pressure gauge to determine how the tires are doing before the next mowing job.
The fuel filter, the mower belts, and spark plugs also should be checked and maintained throughout the winter months. Also, the air filter can wear out after heavy duty mowing and should be replaced if it’s looking worn.
Overall, the storage of your rider mower may require putting in a fuel stabilizer to prevent any fire hazards during the winter months. You also may have to disconnect the battery depending on the model where you’ll have to follow manual instructions on re-installation before next spring.