View Full Version : Winterize Your Equipment?

12-09-2007, 01:04 PM
Hey guys,

I was just wndering if it is really necessary to drain the gas and oil out of you mowing and summer equipment? They say that if you leave the gas in the tanks all winter then the equipment won't run right when you try to start em up in the spring. Is this necessary? Thanks!

Luke http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

12-09-2007, 01:08 PM
Drain what you can and store it back into a can fit for its use. run the rest out of it. Then your sure you got it all out.

12-09-2007, 02:11 PM
Good question.

Here is a blog entry I wrote last year on winterizing your equipment.

As the sun sets lower on the horizon and my air conditioner gets turned off, I know late autumn and winter are just around the corner.

December is here and this is the time of year when most lawn care companies shift their focus away from mowing yards. *Leaf raking, overseeding, fertilizing, and autumn cleanup jobs take precedence over grass cutting. *Because of this, lawn mowers are not needed nearly as much over the next several months as they are during the summer. *

In this part of the country, we normally still mow some even in December (and occasionally in January) if there is a warm spell. *Keeping your primary mower in operating condition is always a good idea. *However, the secondary mowers normally get put away for the winter by mid November.

While some of the southern states can continue mowing year-round, in the northern states mowing is often completely finished by the second or third week of November.

It is now time to think about storing your commercial lawn mowing machinery for the winter. *There are a few steps I like to take to make sure my equipment makes it through the harsh temperatures safely so it will start easily when spring comes.

These tips are just personal opinion and you should follow the instruction manual that came with your equipment. *All maintenance should be done with the mower turned off and the battery disconnected.

When you are performing the steps below, keep an eye out for belts, hoses, pulleys, pins, springs, bolts, and other parts that need to be replaced.

1) *Gas - Run the gas tank dry the last time you run the mower. *Old gas sitting in the fuel system for an extended period of time tends to decay rubber fuel lines and gaskets. *If keeping some fuel in the tank is inevitable, I try to use Sta-Bil or some other form of gas stabilizer. *Don’t siphon extra gas out. *Siphoning is dangerous…it is better to let the mower run out of gas on its own during the last time you mow a yard. *Close your fuel line valve to keep gas out of the carburetor.

2) *Disconnect the Battery. *Store it in a safe place for winter. *If your mower is kept in an outside storage shed, consider keeping the batter in a safe place that will stay at a moderate temperature for the winter.

3) *Cleaning - Brush all the old grass away from your mowing deck and from all the nooks and craneys. *If you have a front deck mower, pull off the deck lid to remove grass from the pulleys. *Lift the deck and carefully clean all the grass away from the underside. *If the grass is caked on, I will sometimes use a pressure washer with a low pressure nozzle to wash away all excess grass and dirt. *If you are feeling particularly proud of your commercial mower, a good wax job now will make sure it shines next spring.

4) *Lubricating - *Use a lube gun on all lubricating nibs. *Be careful to not overfill. *I also like to change oil one last time before putting the mower away for the winter. *It is good knowing that the mower will have clean fresh oil in it while it is sitting still for a couple months. *Also, I always change the oil filter when I change oil. *This goes the same for your hydrostatic fluid if your commercial lawn mower is so equipped. *Take the old oil to a proper disposal facility. *

5) *Blades - Sharpen your lawn mower blades. *When you are finished, use a lubricating spray such as WD-40 on the blades. *This will help keep the newly sharpened blades from rusting during the winter.

6) *Air filter - Change your filter. *If you have a two stage filter with a foam outer sleeve, some filter manufacturers recommend a light film of oil on the outer stage.

7) *More lubricant. *Use a recommended lubricating spray on all moving parts. *It is especially useful to lubricate cables (choke cables, etc.), hinges on chute guards, and other moving parts.

8) *Spark plugs. *Disconnect and remove the spark plug. *A quick spray of lubricating fluid can be squirted into the spark plug hole.

9) *Store the equipment in an area where it will be out of the way in a cool, dry, inside area. *Attempt to deter rodents and other animals that might nest in the mower.

10) *Cover your lawn mower with a sturdy tarp to help keep it clean. *A tarp can also keep unexpected events from damaging your lawn mower. *I will never forget one spring when I completely finished readying my main mower for it's first crank up. *No matter what I did, I could not get it to start. *Eventually, I winched it onto my trailer and took it to a service center. *They called back to tell me all my fuel lines were full of water. *I could not understand how that happened. *It took me about 4 days to remember that during winter, I had a water pipe break in my garage. *Lucky me... water must have poured directly onto a leaking fuel cap. *Somehow almost a gallon of water infiltrated the system fouling my spark plugs and carburetor.

By following these tips and the instructions from your equipment manufacturer, you will greatly reduce the time needed to ready your machinery once spring rolls around.

Commercial lawn mowers and lawn care equipment are built tough. *If you take care of them, you can greatly increase their service life. *Keeping machinery running longer effectively reduces your costs and increases the profit potential of your lawncare business.


12-09-2007, 02:58 PM

Ok, thanks Keith

I'm going to follow this word by word! What happens if you don't perform these tasks?


12-09-2007, 05:40 PM

For years and years this is what happened to me. I would have to take apart carbs and un-gunk all the gas that turned into a syrup. It clogged the jets and the engine wouldn't run until I spent hours trying to take things apart and then put them back together http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif


12-09-2007, 05:58 PM

Jeeze! I guess it is more important then I thought. So, Steve? Are you in the business yourself? Or did you just create this program for everyone else? By the way, you doing a GREAT job!



12-09-2007, 06:08 PM
Thanks Luke.

I don't run a lawn care business but I have had plenty of engines which needed to be cleaned out from letting gas sit in them over winter.

I will tell you one thing, you learn a great deal about engines if you don't winterize because you have to take them apart a lot and put them back together later http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

12-09-2007, 08:05 PM

Sweet but I didnt mean it like just because you know about engines. LOL I just meant like why did you ever decide to make a lawn care website and everything? But yes, I agree, you probably do know a lot about engines and equipment.


01-08-2008, 10:44 PM
Yes if you don't run the gas out of the carb and it sits in there all winter the gas starts to turn to like a varnish and gums everything up.
I used to be a small engine mechanic about 5 years ago.
In the spring this was very common from people not winterizing their equipment.

01-09-2008, 01:46 PM

What is your view on fuel stabilizers such as Stab-l (or however it's spelled)?

With our winters so short in my part of the country, I've never had a big issue with fuel sitting long enough to go bad. That product has a good reputation for keeping gas from turning bad if it sits for several months and you can't run the gas out of the fuel system.



01-09-2008, 01:55 PM
Quote[/b] ]Rob:

What is your view on fuel stabilizers such as Stab-l (or however it's spelled)?

With our winters so short in my part of the country, I've never had a big issue with fuel sitting long enough to go bad. That product has a good reputation for keeping gas from turning bad if it sits for several months and you can't run the gas out of the fuel system.



I think fuel stabalizer is a good option also. I prefer completely running the machine out of gas. Fuel stabalizer can prevent condensation in the gas tank that could lead to rust. But how many mowers do you see with steel gas tanks anymore? When using fuel stabalizer you have to make sure you put the stabalizer in and then run it for a few minutes so that it gets in the carb. I don't remember if that is listed above or not.
Just putting it in the gas tank does the carb no good.
Unless your mower has a fuel shut off.
Put the stabalizer in.
turn the gas off.
and then run it out of fuel

Well anyways you get the point.
I belive either way is effective.