Next spring, when it’s time to meet the demands of a new lawn care season, you’ll be glad you followed these steps for preparing your lawn tools for winter.
Winter can be a hard season. The cold and snow can take their toll on a well-made tool, but nothing hurts quite so much as idleness. While your lawn equipment waits for spring, it may be feeling the effects of the weather. If you’re not careful, you may bring them back out on the other side of winter, only to discover that they’ve rusted or no longer work as well as they once did.
That’s why it pays to be extra conscientious now, when you’re bedding your lawn equipment down for the season. The following tips will help you get everything in order.
Drain the oil from any motorized yard equipment
Oil left in an idle motor can turn sludgy and impair the functioning of your lawn tools. Check with local municipal authorities to see if your local community has environmentally safe programs for recycling or disposing of motor oil. Go ahead and replace the fuel filters while you’re at it.
Reuse any remaining fuel
Gasoline can also degrade over time, so it’s probably best to remove it from the engines of motorized equipment you plan on storing over the winter. After you’ve emptied the tank, run the engine to force fuel out of the carburetor and fuel lines. Once you’ve gotten it out of your lawn equipment you may as well use it, since gasoline stored in containers can absorb water that will dilute its efficiency next spring.
Clean your equipment
Lawn tools can get pretty dirty over the course of the season. Assuming you don’t want them to rust, now’s a good time to give your tools a thorough cleaning. Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub away dirt and grass, and a wire brush to scrape off any rust that’s already forming on the surface. Grime can be loosened with a degreaser and wiped away.
Replace any missing or worn parts
Chances are you noticed some new rattles or wear on your equipment over the course of peak lawn season. Now’s the time to replace missing or loose screws, nuts, bolts, O-rings and irredeemable spark plugs while they’re still fresh in your mind. Come next spring, you might have already forgotten about them. Finish off by spraying hinges with a bit of lubricant to make sure they don’t dry out in the cold.
Store your tools
Indoor storage is best, but if you plan on storing your motorized equipment outside, be sure to do it right. Place them on high ground if possible, so that they don’t end up sitting in a puddle of cold water. To protect them from the elements, cover them with tarps and anchor that cover securely to keep it from blowing away in high winds. Now is also a good time to organize your storage space. Lastly, disconnect your garden hoses from their spigots and coil them neatly someplace dry.