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How to Store Your Riding Lawn Mower in the Winter

Winter's coming ready or not and so is the snow. Dropping temperatures and color-changing leaves usher in the colder months of the year. Save yourself some time and frustration next Spring by taking the time to do some basic maintenance now. This article will tell you how to prepare your Cub Cadet riding lawn mower for off season storage. Depending on your model, the instructions listed below may vary slightly. Always be sure to check your Operator's Manual for detailed instructions.

Step 1 - Pre-Prep

  • Be sure the mower is on a flat, level surface. Turn the engine off and make sure it is cool.
  • Make sure you have the required tools to complete the steps. Most Winterization procedures listed below can be completed with a basic mechanic’s tool kit, but some steps are much easier when utilizing the Arnold Siphon Pump, Blade Sharpening Kit, and Blade Removal Kit, found in the links in this article.

Step 2 - Disconnect and Remove Battery 

  • Remove the red positive (+) cable and then the black negative (-) cable from the battery. Make sure the wrench does not come in contact with any metal.
  • Remove the battery from the lawn mower and store it in a warm, ventilated dry place.

Step 3 - Check and Replace Spark Plugs

  • Remove the spark plug and check for any wear or damage. Replace worn or damaged spark plugs.
  • The spark plug will show the correct part number if not, check your operator's manual to ensure you order the correct part.

Step 4 - Change the Oil

  • Change the oil and replace the filter.
  • Clean the oil fill and drain area of any debris.
  • Remove the dip stick from the oil fill tube. Then using the Arnold Siphon Pump, place the black tube into the dip stick hole on the engine, and the orange tube into the oil pan.
  • Prime the pump by pumping the handle three to four times. Once the liquid begins to flow, it will continue without further pumping.
  • Remove the Arnold Siphon Pump.
  • Remove the oil filter. Using new oil, lubricate the gasket of the new filter, then install the filter.
  • Add new oil as instructed in your operator's manual.
  • Replace the dip stick. Wait several minutes, then use the dip stick to check oil level.

Step 5 - Replace and Clean the Air Filter

  • Replace the air filter.
  • Remove the air cleaner cover from the mower. Then, remove the paper and foam elements.
  • Wash the foam element in mild detergent and water and allow it to dry completely.
  • Apply a few drops of clean engine oil to the foam element and squeeze out all excess oil.
  • Replace the new paper element and the foam element into the air cleaner cover.

Step 6 - Replace the Blades and Clean the Mowing Deck

  • Clean the undercarriage of dirt, grass clippings, and any other objects that may have become lodged there.
  • Inspect your blades for wear or damage, make sure you protect your hands by wearing gloves. Use the Arnold Blade Removal Tool to hold the blades in place.
  • Next loosen the bolt securing the cutting blade to the spindle with a socket. Remove the blades.
  • Assemble the new blades and blade adapters on the engine spindle and tighten the bolts to the proper torque as indicated in your operator's manual.
  • Replace damaged blades if your blade only needs sharpening, use the Arnold Lawn Mower Blade Sharpener and Balancer Kit.
  • Remove the Arnold Blade Removal Tool.

Step 7 - Check the Mower for Broken, Worn or Missing Parts

  • Check the mower for any broken or worn parts including belt covers, belts, discharge chute, deck wheels and tires. Replace any of these worn or broken parts with the right replacement parts as noted in your operator's manual.

Step 8 - Prepare the Fuel Tank for Storage

  • Finally, add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank to prevent fuel from spoiling while the mower is not in use. Fuel Additives