Upfront: Hibernation help needed

By Steve Noe

When it comes to knowing how to properly store a lawn mower for the winter, your customers desperately need your help, according to the recently released results of an online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Briggs & Stratton Corporation.

Among the 2,039 U.S. adults who participated in the July 2015 survey and indicated that they lived in a climate that experiences a true winter season, nearly six out of every 10 (58 percent) noted that they simply park their push or ride-on lawn mowers in their garage or shed as-is during the winter. To be perfectly honest with you, I’m surprised that figure wasn’t higher.

“A few simple steps in fall can help keep your lawn mower in good working condition and make it last longer,” said Carissa Gingras, marketing director for consumer engines and service at Briggs & Stratton. “Just like car owners routinely performing oil changes and tune-ups, homeowners need to take care of their outdoor power equipment.”

Before your customers put their mowers into hibernation for the winter, I strongly encourage you to share with them the following five steps that Briggs & Stratton recommends they take to help extend the life of their mowers.

#1 Run the gas tank empty or add fuel stabilizer

There are two ways that mower owners can store their equipment. First, they can get rid of the gas completely by running the mower or draining the fuel. Second, they can add a fuel treatment and stabilizer. Gas begins to degrade and go stale only 30 days after pumping it, and stale gas can cause varnish and gumming that clog the fuel system and carburetor jets. Plus, more than 90 percent of fuel in the United States contains up to 10-percent ethanol, which attracts moisture and can cause corrosion. “We recommend mower owners get in the habit of treating their fuel every time they fill their red fuel can,” added Gingras. And according to Briggs & Stratton, it’s important to use a fuel treatment and stabilizer that does not contain additional alcohol.

#2 Change the mower’s oil

Either in the fall before storage, or during a spring tune-up, it is important to change the oil to remove any dirt and debris that can prevent the oil from lubricating and cooling the engine.

#3 Remove the battery if equipped

On riding mowers, removing the battery during the winter season can help prevent potential damage from corrosion of the battery and battery terminals.

#4 Clean the undercarriage and remove debris

After a full season of cutting, dirt and grass can build up on the blades and get stuck on the mower’s undercarriage. Cleaning it now can help ensure a quality cut and keep the mower running smoothly for the next season.

#5 Store your lawn mower in a clean, dry place

Leaving a mower outside can lead to damage caused by moisture. According to Briggs & Stratton’s recently released poll, nearly 10 percent of homeowners leave their mower outside unprotected from the elements. Storing a lawn mower in a clean, dry place will ensure it is protected from the damaging weather elements.

By incorporating these simple steps, according to Briggs & Stratton, when it’s time to take the lawn mower out of storage in the spring, those who said that they prepare their mower for storage may find it easier to start and operate their mower throughout the mowing season.

And hopefully, your customers will thank you for providing them with these helpful tips for placing their mowers in hibernation for the winter, and return the favor by rewarding you with their business in the spring.

OPE Editor Steve Noe


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