How to Prepare Your Lawn Mower - Spring Equipment Maintenance

After a long cold winter, we are ready for spring to arrive and for grass to grow, so it's time once again for the semi-annual 'Changing of the Guard,' and this time it is from blower to mower. As you retire your snow blower to storage and begin prepping your lawn mower for the cutting season, follow these helpful tips to extend the life of your machines – both your mower and your blowe​r.

Give your mower a good checkup before the busy mowing season starts, and properly store your snow blower so it will be ready to go back to work next winter.  An Ariens and/or Gravely dealer can help service your equipment each year as you enter the season of the "Changing of the Guard."

Print this checklist to help properly store your snow blower and prep your lawn mower, ensuring that your equipment stays around for years to come.

Good Bye Blower . . .
Add Stabilizer to Remaining Gas in Snow Blower
Most engine manufacturers recommend using a fuel stabilizer or draining the fuel system before putting the machine into storage (Ariens recommends part # 04730300). Mix the gasoline according to the instructions on the stabilizer container. Fill the machine’s gas tank about full (using low ethanol gasoline) and allow the machine to run for a few minutes to make sure stabilized gasoline is in the carburetor as well as the tank. If equipped, turn the fuel valve to the off position. 
Clean the Unit and Undercarriage
Clean your snow blower: wipe off the top of the unit and check the belt(s) and idler pulleys for wear. Check all your parts, as now is a great time to replace or adjust your Sno-Thro parts. Remove the ignition key and/or the spark plug wire before working on your snow blower!
Annual Tune Up
(Optional - either now or in Fall) if you opt for a snow blower tune up before storage, go ahead and change the spark plugs, and check your tire pressure and grease fittings. Doing this at least once every year will help your unit run smoother and burn fuel efficiently.
Change the Oil
Change the oil and filter if equipped. Replace with the engine manufacturer’s recommended oil and filter type. Please refer to the engine manual that came with your unit. Some of the Ariens owner’s manuals also have these recommendations. You can also find recommendations on most engine manufacturers web sites: Briggs & Stratton, Honda, Kawasaki, Kohler, LCT, Robin/Subaru.
Storing Your Snow Blower
Let your Sno-Thro hibernate for the summer in a cool, dry place.

. . . Hello Mower
Take your Lawn Mower Out of Storage 
With another snow season successfully under your belt, it’s time to welcome the warmer weather and bring your Ariens mower back to the front of the garage where it belongs.
Drain Untreated Fuel Still Sitting in Your Mower
When a gasoline engine is stored for an extended period, it may not start easily. There are several reasons why this could happen, but the most common is that the untreated gasoline in the carburetor has evaporated away leaving a varnish-like residue that is preventing the flow of fuel. If this happens, it’s necessary to disassemble the carburetor and clean it thoroughly. Ariens Company suggests this is done by an Ariens or Gravely dealer. 
Check Tire Pressure
Check the pressure of your lawn mower’s tires and adjust as needed to the pressure listed on the tire sidewall.
Check Engine Crankcase Oil
Top it off with clean engine oil. Ariens recommends the use of high-quality automotive 10W30 motor oil in the four-cycle engine of your Ariens mower. Refer to the engine manufacturer’s manual for oil fill capacity; the capacity will almost always be less than one quart. Some Ariens lawn mowers have a Tecumseh two-cycle engine that requires mixing oil with the gas. Ariens recommends using high quality, 2-cycle oil mixed with fuel at a ratio of 50:1. (2 1/2 oz. of oil for 1 gallon of gasoline.)
Fill Engine Fuel Tank
Fill your fuel tank. Do not use gas with more than 10% ethanol (E10). Higher ethanol fuel is dangerous to use in any small engine equipment. For more information check out OPEI's Ethanol Fact Sheets.
Tighten the Bolts and Check Your Blades
After changing oil and finishing the visual inspection, check and make sure all nuts and bolts are tight on your machine. A lawn mower vibrates during use, which may cause parts to become loose over time. Tighten any loose nuts and bolts to ensure optimal operation. Check the blades, as now is a great time to replace or sharpen them. Remove the ignition key and/or the spark plug wire before working under the mower deck!
Test
Turn on your mower to make sure it’s working and ready for the summer season.