Winter in Waukesha and Walworth counties comes too fast
Here comes winter agian,get ready now so when spring comes your ready to mow(or call us and we will be happy to do it)winter in Waukesha,Mukwonago,Lake Geneva,EastTroy,Elkhorn,Delavan or anywhere in our great Walworth or Waukesha counties can be rough on or lawn equipment so be prepared for next year.
Its easy to winterize your tractor, lawn mower, or anything that uses a small gasoline engine. The procedure that is laid out here assumes that you will not be using the equipment again for sometime (longer than 60 days).
Lets start with a good clean-up. A little soap and water will make the job easier. If you have a pressure washer feel free to use it but, equipment manufacturers never though folks would have 1000+ PSI in their hands. Take care that you do not force dirt and water into bearings that were not designed to withstand that kind of pressure. The high pressure spray will also wash away any lubricant that it hits. After a good cleaning it would not hurt to wax the steel metal. Some small tractors cost more than the car I drive.
The next step is to inspect the deck, deck belts, hangers, and blades. If anything is broken or worn, plan to replace it during this winters downtime. If you have the deck off or tractor jacked up, remove the blades and have them sharpened. You can get the blades off by blocking the blade with a piece of wood and unscrewing the blade bolt or nut. Wearing gloves is a good idea especially when re-installing the sharpened or new blades. Its a good idea to replace deck belts that have any signs of wear. That way your guaranteed to get through the next cutting season without any downtime for a belt that you knew would not make it.
If you have removed the deck, now is a good time to lubed the tractor. Use your owners manual. Most owners manuals will point out where, and what kind of lube should be applied.
Lets stop here an change the oil. Check the oil level. If its ok, start the engine and allow it to warm up a little. This will make the oil easier to change and will also stir up the dirt that maybe in the oil pan so that it will come out with the used oil. Stop the engine and drain the oil. Don’t forget to replace the drain plug before refilling. If your engine is equipped with a oil filter, change it now. Refill with the proper oil for your engine.
Now for the engine.
Start by changing the fuel filter. Clamp off the fuel line between the tank and the fuel filter. Remove the filter by loosing the clamps that hold it and pulling it out of the hose. Be careful to catch any gasoline that may spill. Always replace the hose that is between the filter and the carburetor. Notice that the filter usually has barbs on it. These barbs tear the inside of the hose when the filter is removed. A piece of hose could enter the carb and cause real problems.
Remove the air filter and precleaner. Clean or replace them as necessary. Reinstall the Air Cleaner.
Next, lets prepare the gasoline itself. I have often read that gasoline is only good for 90 days. There are 2 problems with this. The first one is its 90 days from date of manufacture not from when you bought it. The second is that gasoline is volatile in air, meaning that it evaporates quickly. Gasoline should be stored no more than 30 days without treatment and should be stored in a proper container . But what about the gasoline in you tank. The same 2 problems occur there also. So we must prepare the fuel system to sit out the winter without damage. There are 2 schools of thought here. One is to drain all the gas leaving the fuel system dry for the winter. The problem with this is that water can collect in the system because of condensation. The water will cause as much or more damage then the gas will. But leaving the fuel system full will cause just as much trouble due to stale gas and the solids that collect at the point of evaporation. The latest thinking for storage is to fill the tank with gas that has been treated with stabilizer. The stabilizer keeps the gas fresh and helps prevent the build up of deposits. The full tank keeps the condensation from happening. Note that after you fill the tank with stabilized fuel you must run the engine for about 10 minutes so that the treated fuel enters the carb.
We are almost done. Park the tractor where its going to sleep away the winter because after the next two steps we don’t want to start it again. This is a good place to stop if you will be using the tractor to push snow or something else. Now, remove the spark plug. Put a teaspoon of engine oil into the spark plug hole. Replace the spark plug with a new one(s). Crank the engine over a few times to spread the oil inside the cylinder(s). And if its possible on your engine turn the engine over by hand until you feel the compression stroke. This closes the valves and prevents moisture from getting into the engine.
The last step. Remove the battery from the unit and store it in a warm spot. If you have a battery charger it would be good to charge the battery before storing it.
It is very important to do these things,it will save you alot of time and money,if you are unable to do this stuff your self there are alot of places that will do it for you for a fee,but believe me have it done you will save money in the long run.There are so many places to have it done at,when we are doing lawn care in waukesha im always within 5 mins of someone that can help .but even if we are doing lawn care in Mukwonago or lawn care in Lake Geneva you can always find a place.