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Fall Mower Care

Martha Stewart Living Television

Before putting your lawn mower away for the winter season, take some time to give it a final tune-up. A few preventive measures will keep the blade, the engine, and the cables from corroding while in storage, ensuring a well-functioning mower come springtime. Learn how to properly winterize a lawn mower.

Tools and Materials
Wooden block
Socket wrench
Cement blocks
Wrench
Screwdriver
Plastic jug, to catch oil
Motor oil
Gasoline stabilizer
Pliers
Hose
Lubricant

Fall Mower Care How-To
1. Before beginning work on the mower, disconnect the spark-plug lead to disable the engine.

2. Turn the mower on its side so the blade is accessible. Hold the blade in place by setting a wooden block up against it. Using a socket wrench, detach the blade from the breaker bar. Turn the mower right side up. Examine the blade, and take it to a mower shop to have it professionally sharpened and balanced.

3. Once the blade has been serviced, reattach it: Turn the mower on its side, and scrape out all the grass and other debris that has accumulated under the deck. Reattach the blade, and turn the mower right side up.

4. Drain the mower's oil. It's important to renew the oil supply after every mowing season so the engine will run smoothly. Most mowers' drain plugs are underneath, near the blade. Place the mower up on cement blocks. Remove the plug with a wrench or screwdriver, and let the oil drain; be sure a plastic jug is in place to catch the oil (bring this oil to your local recycling center, or an auto shop can do it for you).

5. Refill the oil, and run the mower for about one minute.

6. Add gasoline stabilizer to the tank, and run the mower for a few minutes.

7. Drain the gasoline. To do this, you must disconnect the fuel hose. With pliers, squeeze the fuel-hose clamp, and slide it to the side. Remove the fuel hose, and replace it with a hose that's connected to a plastic gasoline jug. (Some gasoline may spill out from the mower during the transfer of hoses.) While the gasoline is draining, examine the fuel hose; if it's cracked or damaged, it should be replaced. If not, reconnect the fuel hose, and slide back the clamp.

8. Wipe down the mower to remove additional debris, and lubricate all moving parts, such as the wheels, their fittings, and the cables.