Probably one of the most important things to do before storing your mower for the winter is cleaning it up. Leaving debris, dirt and grass clippings sitting on the mower and in crevices for 6 months is the most common wait rust will start. Using WD-40 110118 Multi-Use Spray is good way to remove gas ad oil stains. Make sure you give he mower enough time to thoroughly dry before placing it into storage.
Along with cleaning the exterior it's important to clean the underside of the mowing deck. Thoroughly cleaning it will prevent rust. Spray with high pressure water to clear away most of the debris. Scrap away any excess grass and dirt build up. It's good practice to completely clean it so it's like new again. Also paint any surfaces that are showing bare metal. Allow the mowing deck to dry thoroughly before storing. Consider buying a mower jack to easily lift clean the undercariage. Read our "MoJack Lift For Tractors and Zero Turn Mowers article" for more information on how a mower lift will make maintenance easier for you.
After cleaning the underside of the mowing deck this is also a good time to take off the blades; inspect them and replace damaged ones if necessary. If the blades are in good condition now would be the best time to sharpen them so they'll be ready to go come spring time. Remember if your having cutting quality issues, it is often due to dull blades.
After cleaning away all of the debris from the mower and deck now is a good time to inspect the belts. If any are missing chucks, nicked, warped, frayed or are showing signs of slipping then they should be replaced. Again now would be a good time to replace so that come spring time your mower is ready to go.
You can either drain all of the fuel from your mower or use a fuel stabilizer. Using STA-BIL 22214 Fuel Stabilizer is the most common. It'll eliminate the need to drain fuel before storage. It keeps fuel fresh for up to 12 months, ensures easy start up after storage, prevents gumming and varnish build-up. Sta-Bil is especially effective for any ethanol blended fuels. Ethanol absorbs moisture which can cause internal components to rust. Read more about Ethanol blended gasoline here and what to do to prevent damage.
Now is a good time like with everything else to check and replace the fuel filter if needed to ensure the mower is ready to go in the spring. Refer to your operator's manual regarding replacement instructions for your fuel filter if so equipped.
Typically spark plugs need to be replaced every 100 hours of operation. However now is a good time to check plugs for corrosion. Replace the spark plugs if necessary before storage once again to ensure your zero turn mower is ready to go come spring time. If the plugs are in good condition or you have replaced bad ones take about an once of motor oil and pour it into the cylinder. Then crank the engine a few times to help lubricate internal components. This practice helps prevent any rust from starting during storage.
It's a good idea to replace the air filter after each mowing season. If you have a paper filter you can lightly blow away debris in the filter and possibly reuse the filter. If it is starting to fray and black it needs to be replaced. Refer to your operator's manual for specific air filter replacement instructions.
The tire pressure can greatly affect the wear of the tires and the cut quality that the mower provides. Check for dry rot, cracks, extreme thread wear and leaks before, during and after a mowing season. Now is a good to repair tires if possible or to replace them is necessary. Letting your mower's tires go flat all winter can increases chances of sidewall damage and dry rotting. Check your operator's manual for proper inflation and care instructions.
Now that you've taken care of everything above it is time to store away the mower for the winter. Always if possible store your mower indoors out of the elements. If you have to store it outside ensure to at least securely cover the machine. Leaving your mower exposed to the elements all winter will greatly increase premature wear and rusting of components. Following these simple tips and taking the time to winterize your zero turn mower will greatly increase it's lifespan. It'll also make for a much easier time getting ready for next year's mowing season.
Sta-Bil Consumer Reviews
CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.