Can You Leave Your Lawn Mower Outside in Winter?

The crisp air, falling leaves, and cozy nights herald the arrival of winter. As you prepare your home and garden for the colder months, you might wonder about your trusty lawn mower. Is it okay to leave it out in the elements, exposed to the harsh winter weather? This article will delve into the pros and cons of storing your lawn mower outside during winter, explore the potential risks involved, and ultimately help you determine the best course of action for your equipment.

In short, leaving your lawn mower outside in winter is generally not recommended, especially in areas with harsh winters. While there might be instances where it’s unavoidable, the risks of damage and reduced lifespan far outweigh any potential benefits.

The Harsh Reality of Winter Weather

Winter weather can be brutal on any outdoor equipment, including your lawn mower.

The Threat of Frost and Freezing Temperatures

One of the biggest dangers to your lawn mower during winter is the possibility of freezing temperatures. Water, which can accumulate in various components like the fuel tank, carburetor, and engine, can freeze and expand. This expansion can damage internal parts, leading to costly repairs or even rendering your mower unusable.

The Corrosion Factor: Snow, Ice, and Salt

Snow and ice, common winter occurrences, can also cause significant damage. Their abrasive nature can wear down metal parts, leading to corrosion. The salt used for de-icing roads can also accelerate this process, further contributing to the deterioration of your lawn mower’s components.

The Unseen Enemy: Humidity and Moisture

Even when it doesn’t snow or ice, high humidity and moisture in the air can wreak havoc. These elements create the perfect conditions for rust and corrosion, especially if your lawn mower isn’t properly protected.

The Impact of Leaving Your Lawn Mower Outside: A Case Study

To understand the potential damage, let’s examine a scenario. Imagine your lawn mower is left uncovered outside during a particularly harsh winter. Here’s a breakdown of the possible consequences:

  • Engine damage: Water in the fuel tank can freeze, potentially cracking the tank or damaging the carburetor. The engine itself can also be affected, leading to difficulties starting in the spring.
  • Corrosion: The metal parts of the mower, exposed to snow, ice, and salt, are vulnerable to corrosion. This can affect the engine, cutting deck, and other critical components.
  • Reduced lifespan: The cumulative effects of these factors can significantly shorten your lawn mower’s lifespan, requiring expensive repairs or premature replacement.

When Might It Be Acceptable to Leave Your Mower Outside?

While generally not recommended, there might be specific situations where leaving your lawn mower outside for a limited period during winter is feasible. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Climate: If you live in a region with mild winters, minimal snowfall, and above-freezing temperatures, the risk of damage might be lower. However, it’s still crucial to assess the specific conditions and take precautions.
  • Mower type: Some lawn mowers are more resistant to winter elements than others. For example, a basic push mower with less complex mechanics might withstand the winter better than a gas-powered riding mower.
  • Covering: A waterproof and weatherproof cover can provide some protection against snow, ice, and moisture. However, this might not be sufficient to prevent freezing or condensation.

The Best Solution: Storing Your Lawn Mower Inside

Storing your lawn mower inside during winter is the best way to protect it from the elements and ensure a long lifespan.

Preparing Your Lawn Mower for Indoor Storage

Before storing your lawn mower indoors, follow these steps:

  1. Clean and dry: Thoroughly clean your lawn mower, removing any dirt, grass clippings, and debris. Pay special attention to the engine and cutting deck.
  2. Empty the fuel tank: Empty the fuel tank to prevent fuel from going bad or freezing. You can add a fuel stabilizer to the remaining fuel if you need to store it for an extended period.
  3. Change the oil: Change the engine oil and filter.
  4. Sharp blades: Sharpen the blades for optimal performance in the spring.

Choosing the Right Storage Location

  • Dry and well-ventilated: The storage space should be dry, well-ventilated, and free from excessive moisture.
  • Protected from rodents: Rodents can be a nuisance, chewing on wires and other parts of your lawn mower.
  • Easy access: Make sure the storage location is easily accessible so you can retrieve your lawn mower when you need it.

Additional Tips for Winterizing Your Lawn Mower

  • Cover the mower: A heavy-duty, weatherproof cover can further protect your lawn mower from dust, moisture, and potential damage.
  • Battery care: If your lawn mower has a battery, disconnect it and store it in a cool, dry place.
  • Regular inspection: Periodically check your lawn mower during storage, especially if you live in a humid climate, to ensure everything is in good condition.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice for Your Lawn Mower

In conclusion, leaving your lawn mower outside in winter is generally not advisable due to the risks of damage and reduced lifespan. While there might be situations where it’s unavoidable, storing your lawn mower indoors offers the best protection against the harsh winter elements. By following the recommended storage procedures and winterizing tips, you can ensure that your lawn mower is ready to tackle the lawn in the spring, year after year.


Can I leave my lawnmower outside in winter?

It depends on your lawnmower and your climate. If you live in a mild climate and have a simple push mower, leaving it outside might be fine. However, if you live in a cold climate or have a gas-powered riding mower, it’s best to store it indoors.

Exposure to the elements can damage your lawnmower over time. Rain, snow, and ice can cause rust and corrosion. Extreme temperatures can also affect the engine and other components. If you’re not sure whether it’s safe to leave your lawnmower outside, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and store it indoors.

What are the risks of leaving my lawnmower outside?

Leaving your lawnmower outside in the winter can expose it to several risks, including:

  • Rust and corrosion: Moisture from rain, snow, and ice can cause rust and corrosion on metal parts.
  • Engine damage: Extreme temperatures can affect the engine oil, fuel, and other components.
  • Theft: Lawn mowers are a common target for thieves, and leaving one outside makes it easier for them to steal.
  • Damage from falling debris: Snow, ice, and branches can damage the mower if it’s left outside.

What are the benefits of storing my lawnmower indoors?

Storing your lawnmower indoors offers several benefits, including:

  • Protection from the elements: Storing your lawnmower indoors will protect it from rain, snow, ice, and extreme temperatures.
  • Extended lifespan: Protecting your lawnmower from the elements can extend its lifespan and save you money in the long run.
  • Reduced risk of theft: Storing your lawnmower indoors will make it less likely to be stolen.

How should I prepare my lawnmower for winter storage?

Before storing your lawnmower indoors, you should take a few steps to prepare it for winter. These steps include:

  • Cleaning the mower: Thoroughly clean the mower, removing any dirt, grass clippings, or debris.
  • Changing the oil: Change the engine oil and filter.
  • Adding fuel stabilizer: Add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank to prevent the fuel from going bad.
  • Emptying the gas tank: If you’re not going to use the mower for a long time, it’s a good idea to empty the gas tank.
  • Disconnecting the battery: Disconnect the battery if your lawnmower has one.

What are the best places to store my lawnmower indoors?

The best place to store your lawnmower indoors is in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area.

  • Garage: A garage is an ideal place to store your lawnmower, as it is usually dry and out of the elements.
  • Basement: A basement can also be a good place to store your lawnmower, as long as it is dry and well-ventilated.
  • Storage shed: A storage shed can be a good option if you have one.

What are some tips for protecting my lawnmower from the elements?

Here are some tips to help protect your lawnmower from the elements:

  • Cover your lawnmower: Use a tarp or lawnmower cover to protect your lawnmower from rain, snow, and debris.
  • Store your lawnmower on a level surface: This will help to prevent the fuel from leaking out of the tank.
  • Store your lawnmower away from heat sources: Heat can damage the engine and other components.

How often should I check on my lawnmower during the winter?

It’s a good idea to check on your lawnmower every few months to make sure that it’s still in good condition.

  • Check for signs of damage: Look for any signs of rust, corrosion, or damage to the mower.
  • Start the engine: Start the engine briefly to make sure that it is still running properly.
  • Check the fuel levels: Make sure that the fuel level is still adequate.

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