Properly storing your lawn mower is crucial for protecting your investment and ensuring peak performance when it’s time to cut the grass. An outdoor shed or garage are ideal places for secure, weatherproof storage. Here’s a comprehensive guide on the best practices for storing your walk-behind or riding lawn mower.
Should you store your lawn mower outdoors or indoors?
The main options for storing a lawn mower are in an outdoor shed, garage, or basement/storage area inside your home. Here are the pros and cons of outdoor vs. indoor storage:
- Convenient access when it’s time to mow.
- Keeps fuel smells and engine exhaust outside.
- Provides ample ventilation.
- Exposes mower to weather elements like rain, snow, etc.
- Higher risk of theft compared to indoor storage.
- May require a separate lock or shed padlock.
- Keeps mower protected from rain, snow, dirt, etc.
- Less chance of theft.
- No need to maintain exterior shed/structure.
- Fuel vapors can accumulate indoors.
- Takes up interior floor space.
- Less convenient access for mowing.
Preparing your lawn mower for storage
Proper preparation before storage is key to keeping your mower protected and ensuring it starts up easily next season. Here are important tips for winterizing and storing your gas or electric mower:
Gas mower storage
- Change the oil – Old oil can condense moisture during storage.
- Check/replace air filter – A clean filter prevents buildup.
- Drain the gas tank – Stale gas can gum up the carburetor.
- Use fuel stabilizer – Add to gas to prevent oxidation.
- Disconnect/remove the spark plug – Prevents accidental starting.
- Lubricate moving parts – Prevent rust on cables, wheels, etc.
- Clean the mower deck – Remove grass clippings, debris, etc.
Electric mower storage
- Wipe down exterior – Remove dirt, grass, moisture, etc.
- Check/replace worn parts – Belts, blades, etc.
- Disconnect the battery – Prevent battery drain.
- Store battery properly – Avoid freezing temps and fully recharge.
- Lubricate moving parts – Cables, wheels, etc. to prevent rust.
- Clean underside of deck – Remove grass buildup.
Where to store your lawn mower
Once prepped for storage, you need an appropriate place to keep your mower protected during the offseason. Here are some good options:
An outdoor shed is a classic choice for mower storage. Look for a shed with:
- Good ventilation to prevent moisture buildup.
- Waterproof roof in case of snow/rain.
- Lockable doors to prevent theft.
- Covered vent openings to block pests.
Place the mower on blocks or wood to prevent flat tires. Cover with a tarp to keep off dust.
A garage can also work well for storing a mower, provided there is enough space. Tips for garage storage:
- Place away from car exhaust fumes.
- Protect from dirt and moisture.
- Disable automatic garage door to avoid accidental starting.
- Cover if storing long-term.
Basement or storage room
Storing a mower inside your home takes up living space but keeps it very protected. Considerations for indoor storage:
- Choose an area with minimal humidity.
- Protect floors from oil drips or tire marks.
- Ensure good ventilation for fuel vapors.
- Keep away from heat sources like water heaters or furnaces.
A portable ramp or lift may be needed to move the mower in and out.
Protecting your mower from weather and pests
Outdoor storage exposes your lawn mower to the elements year-round. Here are some tips to help protect it:
Rain and snow
- Park mower on wood blocks to prevent moisture damage to tires.
- Cover with a tarp, secured tightly to keep off precipitation.
- Place absorbent materials under the mower to soak up drips.
Sunlight and heat
- Store mower in the shade when possible.
- Cover with a light-colored tarp to reflect sunlight.
- Keep mower away from areas that collect and radiate heat.
- Seal any openings in the storage area larger than 1/4 inch.
- Place mothballs or baited traps around the perimeter.
- Inspect regularly for signs of nests or damage from rodents.
Safety tips for mower storage
Proper storage keeps your mower protected, but safety should also be a priority. Follow these guidelines to avoid accidents or injury:
- Remove the spark plug before storing to prevent accidental starting.
- Allow the engine to fully cool before storage to prevent fire hazards.
- Drain all fuel from the tank or add fuel stabilizer to prevent stale gas.
- Cover sharp blades with protective sheaths before storage.
- Use jack stands when storing long-term to prevent flat spots on tires.
Prep when removing from storage
Once spring rolls around, you’ll need to get your mower ready for the mowing season again. Here are some tips for prepping after storage:
- Check engine oil and fluids – Top up as needed.
- Fully charge the battery (if electric start).
- Add fresh gas to the tank (if gas model).
- Lubricate any moving parts.
- Inspect blades and replace if damaged.
- Perform any needed spark plug, air filter, or belt replacements.
- Start and test operate to ensure everything is functioning.
Signs your mower storage needs improvement
If you crack open the shed next spring to find your mower rusted, corroded, or infested with pests, it’s a sign you need to improve how you store it. Here are some common indicators:
- Flat tires – Needs jack stands or blocks to prevent flat spots.
- Rusty deck/blades – Needs better protection from moisture.
- Tangled or cracked cables – Needs lubrication and protection.
- Cobwebs/pest nests – Openings need to be sealed.
- Mildew/mold – Improper ventilation and excess humidity.
How do I best clean my lawn mower before storage?
Thoroughly clean the mower deck using a scraper, brush, garden hose and cleaning solutions as needed. Remove all grass clippings, dirt and debris. Clean the engine using compressed air or a blower. Wipe down any exposed metal parts with a cloth and all-purpose cleaner.
Should I empty the gas before storing my mower?
Yes, it’s highly recommended to drain all the gasoline from the fuel tank and carburetor before storage. Stale gasoline that sits for extended periods can clog carburetors and result in engine damage. Alternatively, you can add fuel stabilizer to keep the gas fresh.
Where is the best place to store lawn mower batteries?
It’s best to store mower batteries indoors in a cool, dry place away from extreme temperatures. Maintain a full charge. Do not leave batteries outside exposed to moisture, rain or snow. Place on a wood pallet or shelf, not directly on a concrete floor.
Should I cover my lawn mower during storage?
Yes, covering your mower is recommended to protect it from dust, dirt, moisture and pests during storage. Use a fitted waterproof cover or tarp and secure it tightly. Ensure ventilation to prevent condensation and moisture buildup.
How do I keep mice out of my stored lawn mower?
To deter mice, seal any openings larger than 1/4 inch, use traps and mothballs around the perimeter, and avoid storing any materials mice may be attracted to like paper or fabrics. Inspect regularly for signs of nesting and damage.
Properly storing your lawn mower is crucial for protecting your investment and engine health. The key steps include prepping the mower by draining gas, lubricating parts, and disconnecting the battery. Choose a storage area that is weatherproof and secure, whether that’s an outdoor shed, garage or basement. Take measures to protect from pests, moisture, sun damage and dust. Following these guidelines will ensure your mower starts up quickly and performs reliably when it’s time to cut the grass again.