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Winterising your lawn mower: prepare your lawn mower for winter storage.

Winterizing a Lawn Mower

We recommend winterising your lawn mower before the cold season starts. These are the key things to do before storing it away for winter.

Light servicing before a long sleep: steps to successfully winterising a lawn mower

Once temperatures drop, sending your grass into dormancy, the lawn mower can start looking forward to a long winter break. Before that starts though, you need to winterise your lawn mower, which simply means prepping it and storing it for winter. In other words, you need to give your lawn mower the right maintenance to ensure it isn’t damaged during storage, by accumulated dirt and fuel residue on the machine for example. Just a little winterising maintenance at the end of the season means that you can be certain your lawn mower is in peak condition when you need it again, ready to assist you in the garden. And a good annual winterising routine means a long, reliable life for your mower.

We have compiled the most important tips for your winter lawn mower maintenance.

Important safety precautions:

You must disconnect the spark plug on petrol mowers before winterising or carrying out any work; for electric lawn mowers, disconnect the power cord; and for cordless lawn mowers, remove the battery.

How to winterise a petrol mower for storage

Thoroughly clean your lawn mower

Before storing your lawn mower for winter, you first need to give it an especially thorough clean after the last cut of the year. Any old grass residue adhering to the mower housing can be removed using a wooden or plastic spatula; you should also avoid leaving any grass residue in the cooling fins or the exhaust area.

The best way to clean your machine when winterising it is simply with water and a brush. If it is very dirty you could use a garden hose, but be careful – after all, you want your lawn mower ready for storage, not damaged. With that in mind, avoid aiming strong jets of water at the bearings, seals or engine parts. Remember that when you are clearing the dirt from the underside of a petrol mower’s housing – during winterising or any other time – it’s important to tip the mower back in such a way that the spark plug points upwards. If you tip the mower to the side, oil can get into the air filter or exhaust, which risks seriously damaging your machine.

View of the underside of a lawn mower that is being held upright by a person wearing gloves and using a brush to clean near the blade

Grease moving parts

Thoroughly grease and lubricate all moving parts – this is key maintenance that your lawn mower will thank you for when winter’s over!

A lawn mower has lubricant spray applied to a front wheel by a person wearing gloves

Check the cutting blade

When you prep your lawn mower for winter you should take a close look at the cutting blade. After all, you want to know it will be in good shape before you take it out of storage to tackle the first cut. It isn’t fully winterised and ready to put away if you can see any cracks or notches: you should first have the blade replaced at your preferred STIHL dealer. In any case, it is generally advisable to entirely remove the blade and sharpen it, or to have it professionally sharpened and balanced – in fact, we recommend this not only when winterising, as it should preferably be done regularly after around 25 hours of use. This ensures that you can always enjoy the best possible mowing performance.

Close-up view of a cutting edge on a lawn mower blade, with an out-of-focus background of a lawn mower on grass

Remove and inspect the spark plug

An important process in winterising is checking the spark plug. Remove it and see if it needs cleaning or changing – it should be replaced after 100 hours of use, as spark plug faults can cause the mower to run poorly. Once you’ve done that, the next maintenance step is to pour approximately 3 cubic centimetres of engine oil into the spark plug opening, then run it through the engine without the spark plug installed by pulling the starter cord a few times. Doing this keeps the engine well protected while it’s in storage.

Close-up of someone removing a spark plug from a lawn mower that has been tipped upright

Storing your lawn mower for winter

With the winterising maintenance work completed, your lawn mower is fit to get through the winter months in good condition. Now you need a suitable place to store it for the cold season: this should be a dry, dust-free space, and the lawn mower should preferably be covered up and then stored in its normal position.

A woman wearing gloves folds down the handlebar of a lawn mower inside a tidy garage, with a workbench behind

How to prepare your petrol lawn mower’s engine for winter storage

Empty the petrol tank

It’s important to ensure that the fuel tank of your lawn mower is empty before the winter break. Any remaining petrol will lose its flammability over the winter, which means you may have problems starting your mower if you leave petrol in the tank until spring. If there is only a little fuel in the tank after you’ve done the last cut, we recommend preparing to winterise it by leaving the lawn mower running in neutral until the engine stops by itself.

Check the oil level

When winterising your petrol lawn mower, it’s important to ensure the oil level is right. Your machine should always be maintained in good working order – even while it is in storage for the winter. If the oil needs changing towards the end of the season, you should do it immediately rather than putting it off until after winter. Your STIHL dealer will of course be happy to help you with the oil change, though if you prefer to change the oil yourself, please observe the operating instructions and use the recommended branded oil.

Close-up of a lawn mower dipstick that has been removed from the lawn mower and is being held over a rag to check the oil level

Winterising your cordless lawn mower and battery

Many elements of preparing a cordless lawn mower for winter storage are the same as for a combustion engine or electric lawn mower: cordless lawn mowers should also be cleaned thoroughly and the moving parts greased. But before you do any of that, remove the battery from your cordless lawn mower and mask off the contact points.

You should charge the battery to around 75%, then store it separately from the lawn mower, in a dry room at 10 to 15°C: these conditions ensure the battery remains undamaged, retains its storage capacity and is fully operational next season. If the battery in your cordless lawn mower is fixed and not removable, you need to winterise the machine as a unit – which means storing the complete lawn mower in a warm, dry place.

Summary: winterising your lawn mower

  • Thoroughly clean your lawn mower
  • Check the cutting blade
  • Store in a dry place
  • Do not leave any fuel in the tank
  • Check the oil level
  • For cordless lawn mowers: remove batteries and store them in a dry, warm place