Finally, winter has faded away, and it’s time to drag the mower out again. Now, this can be a game of roulette; will it start or won’t it? It all depends on how winterized your lawnmower. You might have to spend a lot of time trying and restoring it to its original state after hibernation if you push the mower into a corner without thinking. What can be done to get your mower working again after hibernation? Let’s take a look.
These are the main reasons people struggle to get their mowers running after winter.
To winterize a lawnmower, it will need to be serviced completely. You can also take preventative steps to make sure your mower stays safe in the winter. So, if you forgot to winterize your mower, you’ll have to carry out some servicing and hope that no permanent damage has been caused. Here are the items you’re going to need to address.
- Service the Battery
- Degraded gasoline needs to be removed
- Change the oil in the engine
- Carburetor Cleaning
- Replace the fuel filter
- Replace the filter
- Replace the Spark Plug
- Clean the Lawn Mower
Step by step: How to Start a Lawn Mower After Winter (Step By Step)
If your lawn mower won’t start after sitting over winter, then you’ll need to grab your tools and some parts. Once you have everything you need, you can bring your lawn mower into your work area, or even better, up on a lawn mower lift if you have one (here’s how to make a lawn mower lift table).
Service the Battery
If your battery was left unconnected during winter, it could be dead. If your battery was exposed to the elements, you could develop terminal corrosion. Grabbing a charger and attaching it to your battery isn’t a good idea with corrosion present as you can easily send too much current to the battery and destroy it. So, you’ll need to remove the battery and service it. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
- Take out the Battery
- Check the Battery
- Clean the Connectors & Terminals
- Charge the battery
- You can test the Volts & Amps
- Reinstall the battery, or replace it
Degraded gasoline needs to be removed
A lawn mower that hasn’t been treated with gasoline during winter will have difficulty starting up the first day. Untreated gasoline can lead to problems. “go bad”If left for more than 30 days, it will deteriorate. Bad gas becomes less volatile and forms fuel gel. If untreated gasoline was left in your mower over the winter, then you’ll need to remove it and get some fresh gasoline. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to remove the bad gas.
- Siphon/Pump Old Petroleum from a Fuel Tank
- Disconnect the Fuel Line from the Carburetor
- Remove fuel from the Fuel System other than the fuel tank
- Reassemble Fuel System
- Fresh Fuel
Change the oil in the engine
Leaving new engine oil in a lawn mower over the winter isn’t a problem, however old, used oil can be. Imagine all the dirt and muck that old dirt oil has left behind. When oil is left for a long period, this muck settles in the bottom of the engine’s sump and forms a sludge. This sludge can be hard to remove and could cause a problem with your next oil change.
Even if you have winterized your lawnmower properly, you still need to change your oil every season. Oil that has been stored for a while will eventually go bad due to the dirt in the sump. Here’s what you’ll need to do to remove the old oil and sludge.
- Remove the Sump Plug, and drain the Oil
- Install the Sump Plug. Fill it with new oil
- The Lawn Mower must be used until it heats up.
- Allow Mowers to Cool
- Check Oil for Cleanliness
- Repeat oil changes
If you did happen to leave gasoline in the mower over winter and didn’t treat it, then the carburetor is going to need to be thoroughly cleaned. A carburetor can be blocked by gasoline gum. The float can also get stuck and block the jets. These are the steps to take.
- Remove the Air Filter & Housing
- Eliminate Throttle Linkage in Carburetor
- Make sure you have the fuel line
- You should get rid of the Carburetor Fuel Cup
- Clean the fuel float
- Clean and Remove Fuel Jets
- Clean the Carburetor from Inside and Outside
- Inspect Carburetor for Damage & Corrosion
- Replace the Carburetor & Associated Parts.
Replace the fuel filter
It is important that you replace the fuel filter on your mower. A dirty fuel filter can decrease the fuel flow to your engine and make it more difficult to start. If the mower has been using untreated gasoline for a long period of time, it could be clogged or gummed up. Here’s what you’ll need to do to replace it.
- Switch OFF Fuel
- Spring Clips on Fuel Lines Holdings
- The old fuel filter should be removed
- Install the new fuel filters
- Install the Spring Clips
- Fuel ON
Replace the filter
The air filter serves two purposes. The first is to ensure clean, fresh air enters the engine. The second is to regulate the amount of air entering the engine. An air filter that is not working properly could cause the engine to start at the beginning of the season. This can reduce the engine’s air flow. It could have dried depending on the type of lawnmower filter.
So, if you didn’t already replace the air filter before putting your mower away for winter, you’ll need to do so now. Here are the steps to replace the air filter.
- Remove the Air filter cover
- Clean the housing of the air filter
- Install a Pre-Air Filter
- Install a new air filter
- Reinstall the air filter cover
Replace the spark plug and check the Ignition Cord
Spark plugs are delicate at the best of times, so leaving an old one in your mower over the winter isn’t a good idea. Air that passes through the carburetor or air filter will cause spark plugs to corrode. Spark plugs can be affected even by the smallest amount of corrosion due to the gap between the ground electrodes and the center electrode. It is best to replace your plug immediately. Here’s what you can do.
- Get the Ignition Cable
- The Old Spark Plug should be taken out
- Install the New Spark Plug
- Reattach the Ignition Cable
When you’re changing the spark plug, it’s always a good idea to check the ignition cable that attaches to the spark plug. These can become corroded and affect the spark plug’s sparking. It only takes a few minutes of attention to make the difference. Here’s what you should do.
- Examine the Inside Ignition Cable
- Spray with WD-40
- File/Sand connection surface
- Attach the Spark Plug and the Ignition Cord
Clean the Lawn Mower
Although you may not believe that a mower can cause problems, if there is any debris left over from last season’s mower cutting season, it could be blocking the mower. A blockage in the mower deck could prevent the blade from spinning and stop the engine turning.
So if you’re having issues starting your lawn mower after winter, it may not necessarily be a problem with the engine. Here’s what you can do to clear any potential blockages preventing your lawn mower from starting.
- Lift the Cutting Deck/Tilt The Lawn Mower
- Remove the spark plug/ignition wire
- Get rid of all the lawn debris that has accumulated on your cutting deck
- You can spin the blades for free
How to Start a Cordless/Battery Mower Immediately After Winter
The power source for electric mowers differs from gasoline mowers. You can use either a cord, or a battery to power it. However, this doesn’t mean they are immune from problems caused by not winterizing your lawn mower correctly. Here are the things to check when starting your battery/corded lawn mower at the start of the season if your lawn mower won’t start after sitting over winter.
Charging the Batteries
You must ensure that your battery-powered mowers remain fully charged. Even if your mower’s batteries are fully charged, they could still discharge if they are left in the mower for a longer time. It is better to charge them again by putting them in the charger.
Checking the Cable/Cord
Your cord was probably kept warm during winter. However, it’s not uncommon for a left-out cord to become damaged over the long winter months. Inspect the cable for any damage or problems. You can inspect the cable with a multimeter if you are familiar.
Checking the Terminals
Both corded mowers (ones with a detachable cord) and battery mowers have points that allow for the electrical connection to be made. These points are called terminals. If you leave your electric mower outside for too many hours, corrosion can occur. The terminal may become unreliable. You can inspect the connection to determine if any issues are present. You may need to remove corrosion with a small file or sandpaper.
Checking the Motor Spins
Electromotors are susceptible to corrosion and rust. If your mower was left out, then it’s possible the motor has seized due to rust and corrosion.
The motor can be turned by the blade. Just make sure it’s not connected, and no batteries are installed. The blade should turn smoothly with very little resistance. If you feel any discomfort, don’t use the mower. First, replace the motor.
If your mower’s motor is not working properly, it can cause it to quickly burn out and start a fire.
Checking the Brushes
An electrical motor should feel no resistance other than the pull from the magnets or brushes. The brushes can become faulty by transferring electricity to the motor.
When the lawn mower is used, the brushes wear down first. The brushes then pop out to be used as safety devices on some electric mowers. But they can seize with corrosion if the lawn mower wasn’t winterized correctly and the damp air gets to them.
The mower’s cover can be removed to expose the motor and brushes. This is where you can inspect the brush and replace it.
Checking the connection
The last thing you should check if your lawnmower is having trouble starting after winter. Inside the mower, you’ll find connections from the power source, the cord, or the batteries to the motor. These connections, like the brushes, can become corrosive over winter and prevent power from reaching to the motor.
To check the connections, you can also remove the cover. To restore the connection, you can use a little bit sandpaper or a metal filing.
Now, I’m certainly no electrician or expert when it comes to electric lawn mowers, but I do understand the problems caused by not winterizing your lawn mower. So if you are like me, not an expert electrician, I’d recommend having a trained professional repair your electric mower.