Dropping temperatures and color-changing leaves usher in the colder months of the year. Taking some time now to do some basic maintenance can help save you time and frustration at the start of the next mowing season. This article will tell you how to prepare your Troy-Bilt riding lawn mower for off season storage. Depending on your model, the instructions listed below may vary slightly. Always be sure to check your Operator's Manual for detailed instructions.
Step 1 - Pre-Prep *Be sure the mower is on a flat, level surface. Turn the engine off and make sure it is cool. *Gather the necessary tools needed to complete the steps. Most Winterization procedures listed below can be completed with a basic mechanic’s tool kit.
Step 2 - Check and Replace Spark Plugs *Replace worn or damaged spark plugs. *Check your old spark plugs or your operator's manual for the correct part number.
Step3 - Change Oil *Change the oil and replace the filter. *Clean the oil fill and drain area of any debris. *Remove the dip stick from the oil fill tube. Remove the oil drain plug or use the oil drain valve and let the oil drain into the a oil pan. *Remove the oil filter. Using new oil, lubricate the gasket of the new filter, then install the filter. *Add new oil as instructed in your operator's manual. *Replace the dip stick. Start engine and let run for 30 sec then use the dip stick to check oil level.
Step 4 - Replace and Clean the Air Filter *Remove the air cleaner cover from the mower. Then, remove the paper and foam elements. *Wash the foam element in mild detergent and water and allow it to dry completely. *Apply a few drops of clean engine oil to the foam element and squeeze out all excess oil. *Replace the new paper element and the foam element into the air cleaner cover.
Step 5 - Replace the Blades and Clean the Mowing Deck *Clean and scrape the under side of the deck of dirt, grass clippings, and any other objects that may have become lodged there. *Wearing gloves for protection, inspect your blades for wear or damage. Use a Blade Removal Tool to hold the blades in place. *Then, using a socket, loosen the bolt securing the cutting blade to the spindle. Remove the blades. *Install new blades or sharpened blades and tighten the bolts to the proper torque as indicated in your operator's manual.
Step 6 - Check the Mower for Broken, Worn or Missing Parts Check the mower for any broken or worn parts including belt covers, belts, discharge chute, deck wheels and tires. Replace any of these worn or broken parts with the right OEM replacement parts as noted in your operator's manual.
Step 7 - Prepare the Fuel Tank for Storage Finally, add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank to prevent fuel from spoiling while the mower is not in use.
**If your fuel is more than 30 days old the fuel stabilizer may not work.
Step 8 - Disconnect and Remove Battery *Remove the black negative (-) cable and then the red positive (+) cable from the battery. Do not allow the wrench to come in contact with any metal. *Remove the battery from the lawn mower and store it in a warm, ventilated dry place.
Your trusty lawnmower has performed all summer long, and now it's time to show your outdoor power equipment a little bit of love. Before the cold winter months settle in, follow this quick at-home guide for end of season fall mower maintenance to keep your gear in tip-top shape for next year.
End of Season Fall Mower Maintenance
Clean the Tank
Add a fuel stabilizer and let your mower's motor run until all of the gas has been used up. Adding a stabilizer before emptying out the fuel tank will assist in clearing out your lines, and preventing the carburetor from gumming up while not in use.
Service your Air Filter
Make sure you follow the directions listed in your owner's manual for this step. When your mower is experiencing starting problems, a clogged air filter is usually the cause.
Removing your mower blades ahead of the winter season will remind you to sharpen and clean before starting a new season of cutting, and provide you ample time to seek new parts if old blades are in need of replacement.
Empty the Oil
If you operate a 4-cycle engine, don't forget to drain and change your oil. Over winter, you can leave the mower without new oil -- but remember to add more next spring!
Tend to the Mower Deck
Fall is especially hard on lawn mowers. Leaves and other debris can become trapped under the mower deck, and cause other problems for your outdoor power equipment. Using caution, use a plastic putty knife or similar tool to remove any debris from the mower's deck.
Touch Up and Replace
The end of the season is a great time to take stock in what needs cleaning up, extra maintenance, and replacement on your lawn mower. Check your equipment for rusted or chipped paint surfaces, lubricate moving parts, and inspect all parts for proper function. If you find parts that need replacing, P&P Small Engines is here to help.