How to Empty Fuel from Your Lawn Mower?

The smell of freshly cut grass, the warm sun on your back, and the satisfying hum of your lawnmower – these are the hallmarks of a perfect summer afternoon. However, what happens when the season ends, and your trusty mower needs to be stored away for the winter? You can’t just leave the fuel in the tank, as it can cause problems like gumming up the engine or even causing a fire.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps for safely and effectively emptying fuel from your lawn mower. We’ll cover the different methods, the importance of safety precautions, and tips for long-term storage to ensure your mower is ready for action next spring.

In a nutshell, you can empty fuel from your lawnmower by draining it directly from the tank, using a siphon, or running the engine until it’s consumed. However, each method comes with its own set of considerations and advantages, which we’ll delve into below.

The Importance of Emptying Fuel Before Storage

Fuel left in your lawnmower’s tank over the winter can degrade and form a sticky residue called varnish. This varnish can clog the carburetor and fuel lines, preventing the engine from starting properly when you’re ready to use it again in the spring.

Additionally, leaving fuel in the tank can create a fire hazard. Gasoline is highly flammable, and storing a mower with fuel in it increases the risk of accidental spills or leaks that could ignite.

Methods for Emptying Fuel from Your Lawn Mower

Here are the most common methods for removing fuel from your lawnmower:

1. Draining the Fuel Tank Directly

What You’ll Need:

  • A container to collect the fuel (e.g., a gas can or a glass jar)
  • A funnel (optional, but recommended)
  • Gloves (for safety)
  • Eye protection (goggles or safety glasses)


  1. Safety First: Wear gloves and eye protection to avoid skin or eye contact with gasoline.
  2. Locate the Fuel Tank: Find the fuel tank on your mower, usually located near the engine.
  3. Turn Off the Fuel Valve: If your mower has a fuel valve, turn it to the “off” position.
  4. Open the Tank Cap: Unscrew the tank cap carefully.
  5. Drain the Fuel: Gently pour the fuel into the container you prepared.
  6. Secure the Tank: Once the tank is empty, tighten the tank cap securely.


  • Simple and Straightforward: This method is easy to understand and perform.
  • Minimal Equipment Needed: You only need a container to catch the fuel.


  • Fuel Spills: There’s a risk of spilling fuel if you’re not careful, especially if the tank is full.
  • Not Suitable for Small Amounts: It’s difficult to drain small amounts of fuel this way.

2. Using a Siphon

What You’ll Need:

  • A siphon pump
  • A container to collect the fuel
  • A funnel (optional, but recommended)
  • Gloves (for safety)
  • Eye protection (goggles or safety glasses)


  1. Safety First: Wear gloves and eye protection to avoid contact with gasoline.
  2. Prepare the Siphon: Connect the siphon pump to the container you prepared for the fuel.
  3. Prime the Siphon: Fill the siphon tube with fuel by sucking on the end of the hose or using a bulb pump.
  4. Insert the Siphon: Carefully insert the siphon hose into the fuel tank.
  5. Start Siphoning: Remove the end of the hose from your mouth (if you used it to prime) or release the pump, allowing the fuel to flow into the container.
  6. Secure the Tank: Once the tank is empty, remove the siphon and tighten the tank cap securely.


  • Clean and Efficient: It’s a relatively clean method, with minimal risk of spills.
  • Suitable for Small Amounts: You can easily siphon out small amounts of fuel.


  • Can Be Messy: If not used carefully, the siphon can spill fuel.
  • Requires Additional Equipment: You need a siphon pump.

3. Running the Engine Until Fuel Is Consumed

What You’ll Need:

  • A large, open space (for safety)
  • Someone to help you (optional)


  1. Safety First: Choose a well-ventilated area away from any flammable materials.
  2. Start the Engine: Start the mower engine and allow it to run until the fuel tank is empty.
  3. Monitor the Engine: Keep an eye on the engine and make sure it’s running smoothly.
  4. Stop the Engine: Once the engine stops, you know the tank is empty.


  • No Additional Equipment Needed: You only need the mower itself.
  • Eliminates Waste: All the fuel is consumed, minimizing waste.


  • Time-Consuming: It can take a while to use up all the fuel.
  • Emissions: Running the engine releases fumes and contributes to air pollution.

Tips for Long-Term Storage of Your Lawn Mower

Once you’ve emptied the fuel, it’s important to follow these steps to properly store your lawn mower for the winter:

  • Clean the Mower: Clean any dirt, debris, and grass clippings from the mower.
  • Add Stabilizer: If you’re not completely emptying the tank, add fuel stabilizer to prevent fuel from degrading.
  • Change the Oil: Change the oil and filter to ensure fresh oil for the next season.
  • Clean the Air Filter: Remove and clean the air filter to prevent dirt from clogging it.
  • Sharpen the Blades: Sharpen the blades to ensure a clean cut for the next season.
  • Store in a Dry Place: Store your mower in a dry, well-ventilated location, preferably covered.
  • Disconnect the Battery: Disconnect the battery to prevent corrosion and prolong its life.

Conclusion: Keeping Your Lawn Mower Ready for Action

Emptying the fuel from your lawn mower is an essential maintenance step for extending its life and ensuring its readiness for the next season. By choosing the right method for your needs, taking necessary precautions, and following these tips for long-term storage, you can keep your mower in peak condition and ready to tackle your lawn care tasks year after year.


1. Why do I need to empty the fuel from my lawn mower?

It is essential to empty the fuel from your lawn mower for several reasons. Firstly, gasoline degrades over time, and old gasoline can clog your carburetor and fuel lines, leading to engine problems. Secondly, storing gasoline in your mower’s tank for extended periods can create a fire hazard, especially in hot weather. Finally, emptying the fuel before winter storage helps prevent condensation from forming in the tank and carburetor, which can damage your engine.

Therefore, regularly emptying the fuel tank, especially before long-term storage, is crucial for maintaining your lawn mower’s performance and safety. It helps prevent costly repairs and ensures your mower is ready for use when you need it.

2. What are the safety precautions I need to take before emptying the fuel?

Before emptying the fuel from your lawn mower, it is important to prioritize safety. First, ensure the engine is cool and has been shut off for at least 15 minutes. Next, move the mower to a well-ventilated area away from any open flames or sparks. Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself from spills. Finally, have a fire extinguisher readily available in case of an emergency.

Following these safety measures will minimize the risk of fire or injury during the fuel-emptying process. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when dealing with flammable liquids.

3. What tools do I need to empty the fuel?

To empty the fuel from your lawn mower, you will need a few simple tools. First, a fuel-safe container with a tight-fitting lid is essential for safely storing the drained fuel. Second, a siphon pump or a turkey baster can be used to transfer the fuel from the tank to the container. Finally, a rag or paper towels will be useful for cleaning up any spills.

Having these tools readily available will make the fuel-emptying process more efficient and safe. It’s important to remember to choose a container specifically designed for storing fuel to prevent leaks or accidents.

4. How do I safely drain the fuel from the tank?

To safely drain the fuel from your lawn mower tank, start by positioning the mower on a level surface and tilting it slightly forward. This will ensure that the fuel flows out of the tank more easily. Next, carefully remove the gas cap and place it in a safe location. Then, insert the siphon pump or turkey baster into the tank and gently draw out the fuel.

As you drain the fuel, be mindful of the surroundings and ensure the container is stable. If you encounter any difficulty, stop and consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions.

5. What should I do with the drained fuel?

Once you have drained the fuel from your lawn mower, it’s important to dispose of it properly. Do not pour the gasoline down the drain or into the ground, as it is a hazardous substance that can contaminate the environment. Instead, consider taking it to a local recycling center or gas station that accepts used fuel.

Many communities have designated drop-off points for hazardous waste, including used gasoline. Alternatively, you can use the gasoline in a gasoline-powered tool, such as a generator or pressure washer, until it’s fully consumed.

6. What should I do if I accidentally spill fuel?

In the event of a fuel spill, it’s essential to act quickly and safely. First, immediately stop any potential ignition sources, such as open flames or electrical equipment. Next, use a non-flammable absorbent material, such as sand or kitty litter, to contain the spill and prevent it from spreading.

Once the spill is contained, dispose of the absorbent material and any contaminated items properly. If the spill is significant, contact your local emergency services for assistance in cleaning up the area and preventing further environmental damage.

7. How can I prevent fuel from going bad in my lawn mower?

To prevent fuel from going bad in your lawn mower, you can take several steps. First, use fresh gasoline, preferably with a fuel stabilizer added. Second, ensure the fuel tank is tightly sealed after every use to prevent air and moisture from entering. Finally, consider using a fuel stabilizer to help prevent the fuel from degrading over time.

By following these simple steps, you can extend the life of your gasoline and ensure your lawn mower is always ready to go. Regularly checking and maintaining your fuel system will help prevent potential problems and keep your mower running smoothly.

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