As we head into the colder months of the year, it might not be useful or convenient to have your summer equipment out of the garage. Tools like the lawnmower and trimmer can be put into hibernation until the first warm, spring day.
While it might be tempting to push everything into a corner and cover it with a tarp until you need them again, storing them in an organized fashion will help make the transition from season-to-season that much easier.
Here are a few ways to get your warm-weather yard equipment ready for winter storage.
It is important to drain the oil out of a mower before you put it away for the winter. Residual oil can coagulate inside of the machine and can make your mower run poorly next year. Look for a stopper on the bottom of your mower. Pull it out to drain the oil into a container.
Pro tip: Put a piece of duct tape on the oil cap so when spring comes you will remember to fill the mower with oil before starting the engine.
Additionally, let the mower run until you have used all of the gas that is in the tank. Old gas can do serious damage to an engine that requires costly repairs. The same goes for the weed-eater/edger and other gas-powered tools.
Alternatively, you can pour an additive into the tank that will allow that gas to keep for about six months. If you have some unused, unleaded gas in the tank, funnel it into something else and add fresh gas to your tank in the spring.
It’s also important to inspect the spark plugs before stowing these tools away. These get dirty with use, and it is easier to clean and replace them now instead of rushing out next spring when you want to use the machine. A wire brush will clean most dirty plugs, but if they’re a real mess, just replace them for a couple of bucks.
Equipment like rakes, trimmers, and other motorless tools require less TLC, but still need a bit of attention. Lubricate moving parts inside equipment like hedge trimmers (see manufacturer’s instructions) before putting them away, and don’t forget to give them a good cleaning.
Not only are you ensuring that your equipment will last longer, but you’re also ensuring that your transition winter to spring will be a smooth one.