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How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower + $100 American Express Giveaway


How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower

I always get a little excited after the last lawn mowing of the season. Granted, I have a son who does the lawn mowing for me now, but the lawn not needing to be mowed means mom doesn’t have to nag someone to do it. We don’t get snow covered lawns here in California, but with the cooler months and rain, we luckily do not have to mow throughout our winters. Although your lawn mower isn’t a vehicle, it’s maintenance and care is similar to that of a car. If you want to maintain longevity in your lawn mower, it is important to learn how to winterize it. MetLife Auto & Home and I have some tips to help you do just that.

  1. A good place to start, as with any type of vehicle maintenance is to review the owner’s manual. Each mower is slightly different, so make sure you are following safety precautions and maintenance specific to your mower’s make and model.
    2. Whenever working on any type of vehicle, ventilate the workspace. Work outdoors or open the garage door to ventilate exhaust fumes for safety.
    3. Something I never would have thought about is to disconnect the spark plug before working. This prevents accidental starts. On a riding mower, disconnect the battery.
    4. Clean it up. This is where I get the kids involved. Brush grass clippings off the surface, or use a putty knife to scrape buildup from the bottom of the mower and blades.
    5.Lubricate the mower. Use a manufacturer-recommended lubricant on moving parts such as the handle on a self-propelled mower.
    6. Change the oil. I rely on YouTtube tutorials for this kind of thing, because it is out of my realm of expertise. Run the mower several minutes to make the oil easier to drain. When you’re done, find a recycling center that properly disposes of the old oil.
    7. Clean or replace the air filter. Silly me didn’t even realize lawn mowers had air filters. When replacing a paper filter, make sure the pleats are facing out. If installing a foam filter, instead of paper, soak it in engine oil and remove the excess. This helps trap dust and dirt.
    8. Swap the spark plug. Use a socket wrench to remove the old spark plug, then thread on a new one and tighten it with the wrench. Be sure the new plug is pre-gapped. If it isn’t gapped correctly, your mower may not start.
    9. Carefully inspect the blade. Replace it if you see large gouges or cracks. You should be able to have any dull blades sharpened at a local hardware store. Just call around first.
    10. 10. Lastly, store your lawn mower in a safe dry place. Depending on what kind of weather you get where you live, you will want to make sure your mower is protected from water and snow, to avoid rusting.

Now that you mower is prepared for winter, make sure your home and auto are ready as well. With slick and icy roads that often accompany the winter months, also comes more car accidents. MetLife Auto & Home can help you make sure all of your belongings are covered. I grew up in a flood zone, with a river and some weak levees. We haven’t had much rain in the past couple of years, but it is important to be covered when and if that times comes. 

MetLife Auto & Home offers a wide range of property and liability protection, including insurance policies to cover auto, home, condo, renter’s, mobile homes, boats and recreational vehicles, personal excess liability and floods (flood is technically through the MetLife GASM  – Property & Casualty and the gov’t). 

Let’s see your photos! Tweet or upload photos of you tuning up your lawn mowers or preparing for winter, using #MasteringAuto.

Now for the $100 American Express® Gift Card Giveaway. I want to hear your great lawn care tips. The giveaway will end at 11:59pm PT on 11/15. To enter, fill out the form below.


About the author

Emily Buys


  • Attack weeds in the early spring and summer before they have a chance to develop deep root systems.

  • I use a winter fertilizer on the lawn because I live in a cool climate, and I aereate it to keep it looking good!

  • When we had a lawn, raking the leaves was very important. We made sure this was done because lawns need that lawns to “breathe,” and that they can be smothered if a thick layer of unshredded leaves is left on top of them over the winter. 🙂

  • One tip is to use a weed and feed to keep the weeds under control. And especially this time of year, keep on top of raking leaves as they fall and don’t let them sit on your grass for a long period of time or it will kill the grass.

  • I liked using good quality composted cow manure, in the fall. What I don’t recommend, that I found out the hard way, is to rototill a heaping steaming truckbed full of uncomposted horse manure! Your neighbors won’t like the stink, and you will get a good crop of weeds!!

  • I think keeping your yard free of big sticks and trash would help. My hubby does the maintenance, and I know that a regular servicing helps.

  • Stay working on it until you can no longer because of winter water. Keep leaves rakes, lawn motor oil changed, and get ready for winter weather. A good fertilizer for winter is great, will help you in the spring

  • We don’t cut the grass too short. Leaving it a tiny bit longer allows dew to collect so that it mostly waters itself.

  • We live in the south and unfortunately have to cut our grass thru the winter but at least it’s only once a week.

  • watering the lawn once a week (slow watering) instead of frequently to allow deep moisture to penetrate deeper into the soil

  • The best tip I have is to try and fertilize and keep the ground aerated every couple of years

  • We usually have someone come and do the lawn so I have no idea and nothing to do with it.

  • Starting in the Fall, rake carefully to fully aerate, give the lawn a light trim AND fertilize for the Winter to give it a healthy start in Spring. IN Summer, weed, fertitlize and water as needed. Always be a steo ahead of the process so you never have to correct a problem once it gets really bad! Above all, have your husband to as much of the work as possible! (But be sure to have hot cocoa ready for him when he’s finished! (With maybe a shot of Kahlua (?) to warm him up!

  • The DIY tricks I have to keep my lawn in great condition is take care of it by watering it, mow it, fertailize it when needed. Just following simple steps can go along way.

  • Keep the blades sharp on the mower, cut it often so you never cut off more than 1/2 to 1″ at a time and keep the leaves up off it or at least mulch them with a mulching mower often so they break down.

  • Make sure to keep in watered in the summer and put winterizer on the lawn in the fall. We make sure to keep weeds and leaves picked up.

  • We have a lawn care company apply weed & feed monthly. We cut weekly during most of the warmer months (less often when the weather is really dry and occasionally more often when we’ve had a lot of rain). My husband keeps our lawn mower in good condition and makes sure the blades are clean and sharp. Mowing with a dull blade shreds the ends of the grass and then it looks bad and loses more moisture from the end.

  • Don’t cut more than 1/3 of the length of the grass when mowing so you don’t stress the roots.

  • We treat our with bug treatment to keep down all those little pests that love to live in the grass, And we add fertilizer 3 times a year to keep the grass looking green and healty. We also add grass seeds as needed to heavily used areas in our yard to keep the grass growing.

  • we get a ton of pine needles and come october we have to rake them up, or the grass cant breathe and we get dead spots!

  • Just before the snow falls, or right after the first frost, generously sprinkle lawn fertilizer, this will help the grass roots over the winter.

  • I don’t have any great DIY lawn tips! We are really lucky to not have to rake leaves, but that means we have no trees to shade us in the summer. We just keep our grass mowed, so that’s our tip! 🙂

  • We just make sure to keep it mowed and clean up debris. Our useable lawn is well over an acre and we mow an area almost every day.

  • Don’t cut the grass too low. Make sure grass gets enough, but not too much water, and use weed and feed

  • My DIY tip is to pay someone else to mow your lawn, which is what we do LOL! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  • My husband used to wear his golf shoes when we seeded the lawn in the fall. This and/or raking/
    mower bagging leaves and grass clippings and deep watering, kept our lawn in great shape.

  • My tip is to use a DIY soil test kit to find out exactly what nutrients the soil needs before treating the lawn.

  • I am lucky I don’t have to do anything extra to have a nice looking lawn., I mow weekly and rake the dead leaves that is about it.

  • You are supposed to trim hedges down earlier in season. If you trim them in the fall, it stimulates too much growth at a time when they should be saving strength for winter.

  • I live in Southern California where we are having watering restrictions — luckily we were already only watering our lawn every other day, and we don’t cut the grass too short. We also took out about 2/3 of our back yard grass and put in a vegetable garden using some raised beds and lots and lots of mulch to keep watering and weeds down.
    (I’m in the desert where lots and lots of people have opted for rock ‘lawns’ but I just can’t go that far yet. I need at least a little bit of green around my house!)

  • I pull the weeds from my yard instead of spraying chemicals. It’s taking a while to get rid of the weeds and have a nice grassy lawn, but I don’t want to hurt my dogs or the environment with anything toxic.

  • We always seed it in the spring and keep it well hydrated. I also try to not cut my lawn too low as it makes it turn more brown.

  • My husband rakes the leaves every year and fertilizes and waters the lawn all the time.

  • My DIY tip is: Try to keep pets from “Going” in the same spots over & over! Nothing makes a lawn go “Spotty” worse than Dog waste…………. TY4 the chance, sure could use this!

  • I sit and watch it grow then I call my brother and tell him to get busy. I do know he cuts it when it’s not wet and not to short. Thank you for the giveaway.

  • When it gets really hot, I leave the grass a little longer to help protect it. In the fall before it freezes…I give it a good water!

  • My tip is to sow the best grass for your area and weather conditions. If you want your lawn to stay green during cold weather and droughts, you’ll need to find seed that fits that bill. I personally order seed online and don’t really buy the mixed bags from the big stores. One of my favorites for shady areas and banks is creeping red fescue.

  • You must put down a winter fertilizer and in the spring let the grass grow higher then normal. This blocks out the weeds.

  • I live in an apartment and I have never dealt with a lawn. I hope to own a home with a lawn someday!

  • We rake our leaves so they don’t sit on the lawn all winter


  • Make sure your rake up all leaves…there might be some twigs in your yard and you don’t want to mow over the twigs.

  • Country living allow as us to leave the leaves on the ground for Winter. It’s a natural protection for my flower beds and lawn.

  • Set water timer for early morning or evening so you don’t lose a lot of water to evaporation. Mow regularly.

  • My husband usually reseeds the lawn in the fall. He also rakes up a huge amount of leaves.

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