How to Tip a Lawn Mower: The Right Way?

The crisp scent of freshly cut grass, the gentle hum of the engine, and the satisfying feeling of a perfectly manicured lawn – these are the joys of owning a lawnmower. But what about the less glamorous task of storing your trusty machine for the off-season? Tipping a lawnmower might seem straightforward, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. This guide will walk you through the proper technique for tipping your lawnmower, explaining why it’s necessary, and helping you avoid common mistakes that can damage your equipment.

In a nutshell, tipping a lawn mower is crucial for draining the fuel system and preventing potential damage from fuel sitting stagnant for extended periods. This article will detail the correct way to tip your lawn mower, covering essential safety precautions, different tipping methods, and a step-by-step guide for a smooth and damage-free experience.

Why Tip a Lawn Mower?

Tipping your lawn mower is essential for several reasons:

  • Preventing Fuel Degradation: Gasoline breaks down over time, becoming less efficient and potentially causing damage to your engine. Tipping the mower allows the fuel to drain from the carburetor and fuel lines, preventing this degradation.
  • Avoiding Engine Damage: Fuel left in the carburetor and fuel lines can gum up the engine during long periods of inactivity. Tipping helps remove this fuel, preventing the engine from becoming sluggish or even seizing up.
  • Ensuring Proper Storage: Keeping your lawnmower upright during storage can lead to fuel leaking from the tank and potential damage to the engine. Tipping allows for a more secure and efficient storage process.

Choosing the Right Tipping Method

There are two main ways to tip a lawn mower:

1. Tipping on its Side:

This is the most common method, and it’s usually the safest option for most lawnmowers. To tip your mower on its side, you will need a clear, level space and a helper to assist you.

Safety First:

  • Wear protective gear: Gloves and safety glasses are essential to protect your hands and eyes.
  • Choose a clear, level space: Avoid tipping your mower on uneven surfaces or close to obstacles.
  • Have a helper: A second person can help you stabilize the mower during the tipping process.

Tipping Steps:

  1. Prepare the mower: Remove the spark plug wire to prevent accidental starts.
  2. Position the mower: Place the mower on its side with the engine facing upward. Ensure the mower is securely balanced and won’t roll.
  3. Tilt the mower: Gently tilt the mower until the fuel spills out.
  4. Drain the fuel: Allow the fuel to drain completely.
  5. Return the mower upright: Carefully return the mower to its upright position.

2. Tipping on its Handle:

This method is often used for smaller, lightweight mowers.

Safety Precautions:

  • Inspect the handle: Ensure the handle is strong and secure.
  • Choose a sturdy surface: Tip the mower on a hard surface to prevent it from slipping.
  • Be cautious: This method requires more stability, so be careful not to lose your grip.

Tipping Steps:

  1. Remove the spark plug wire: This prevents accidental starts.
  2. Lift the handle: Gently lift the handle of the mower while keeping the wheels on the ground.
  3. Tilt the mower: Tilt the mower until the fuel spills out.
  4. Drain the fuel: Allow the fuel to drain completely.
  5. Return the mower upright: Carefully return the mower to its upright position.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Tipping a Lawn Mower:

  • Not removing the spark plug wire: This can result in the engine starting accidentally while the mower is tilted.
  • Tipping on an uneven surface: This can cause the mower to become unbalanced and potentially fall, causing damage.
  • Tipping too quickly: This can cause fuel to splash out of the tank, making a mess and potentially damaging the mower.
  • Not draining all the fuel: Leaving even a small amount of fuel in the carburetor can lead to engine problems.

Tips for a Smooth Tipping Experience:

  • Clean the mower before tipping: This will make it easier to see the fuel drain and prevent dirt from clogging the fuel lines.
  • Use a fuel stabilizer: If you’re storing the mower for an extended period, adding fuel stabilizer to the gas tank will prevent it from breaking down.
  • Store the mower in a dry, well-ventilated place: This will help prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Consider professional maintenance: If you’re uncomfortable tipping the mower yourself, you can take it to a professional for maintenance and storage.


Tipping your lawn mower is a crucial part of proper maintenance and storage. By following the safety precautions and tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your mower is properly drained and ready for the next season. Remember, a little extra care now can save you from bigger problems later. So, tip your lawn mower the right way and enjoy a healthy and well-maintained machine for years to come.


1. Why do I need to tip my lawnmower?

Tipping your lawnmower is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it allows you to access the underside of the mower deck for cleaning and maintenance. This includes removing grass clippings, debris, and potentially harmful objects like stones or twigs that can damage the mower’s blades or other components. Secondly, tipping the mower allows for easy access to the spark plug, air filter, and other maintenance points that are located underneath. Neglecting these tasks can lead to performance issues and shorten the lifespan of your mower.

2. How do I safely tip my lawnmower?

Tipping your lawnmower safely is paramount to prevent accidents and injuries. Always engage the parking brake before tipping to ensure it remains stable. Next, find a firm and level surface to prevent the mower from rolling. Use the handle as a lever, gently lifting the mower while maintaining a stable grip. Avoid lifting too high or quickly, as this can strain your back or cause the mower to fall unexpectedly. If the mower is too heavy for you to handle alone, seek assistance.

3. What if my lawnmower doesn’t have a tipping handle?

If your lawnmower lacks a designated tipping handle, you can still safely tip it. The key is to find a sturdy point on the mower’s frame or chassis that provides a secure grip. Use your weight and leverage to lift the mower gently. Be cautious of any sharp edges or moving parts and use gloves to protect your hands.

4. Is it okay to tip a self-propelled lawnmower?

Tipping a self-propelled lawnmower is generally safe, but requires extra caution. Ensure the engine is off and the parking brake is engaged. Lift the mower using a designated tipping handle, if available, or a sturdy part of the frame. Avoid lifting it too high or too quickly, as this could damage the self-propulsion mechanism.

5. Should I tip my lawnmower after every use?

While not mandatory, tipping your lawnmower after each use can significantly improve its longevity. It allows you to clear out any accumulated grass clippings and debris that can clog the underside of the deck and cause performance issues. It also gives you a chance to inspect for any potential problems, such as loose parts or damage.

6. Can I tip my lawnmower on its side?

Tipping your lawnmower on its side is generally not recommended. It can cause fuel to leak from the carburetor and potentially damage the engine. Additionally, it can strain the engine components and lead to uneven wear. Always tip the mower with the engine facing upwards to avoid these issues.

7. What if my lawnmower is too heavy to tip?

If your lawnmower is too heavy to tip, there are other ways to access the underside for cleaning and maintenance. You can use a broom or a shop vacuum to remove loose debris from the deck without tipping. If you need to access specific components, consider using a small mirror or a flashlight to inspect them without having to tip the mower.

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