Can Lawn Mowers be Stored Outside?

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In an ideal world, you have a good sized shed to store your lawn mower and other garden equipment. But what if your shed is already crammed, or you don’t have any? Is it safe to leave your lawn mower outside? Based on my experience, it is not a simple yes or no. Rather it depends on the situation as you will see.

You can store a lawn mower outside, but put a waterproof cover to protect it from the rain and intense heat. It is not however, advisable to keep a lawn mower outdoors during winter. If you have to, raise the mower from the ground and cover completely with a tarp.

While you can store a lawn mower outdoors during cold season, its battery is a different matter. If you want to know how to store lawn mower batteries during the cold season, you can check out this guide I made.

Can Lawn Mowers be Stored Outside?

Lawn mowers are power garden tools and they are designed to be used outdoors. A bit of rain and sun is not going to cause major damage. However, intense cold and heavy rain might take its toll.

Can you leave a lawn mower in the open and not worry about it? In fair weather yes, but I recommend taking precaution because those clear skies can change anytime.

If you have a shed or garage, I suggest putting your lawn mower there after use, regardless of the weather. Regardless where you store it, make sure to clean first.

If you don’t have a shed for your mower, you have to provide protection. For the rest of this post I will show you how to do this properly under different conditions.

How to Store Lawn Mowers Outdoors

The best way to store a lawn mower outside is to put a waterproof tarp over it. I recommend the Jorohikr Lawn Mower Cover because it is not only waterproof but UV proof as well.

You can also use a canvas, eave, popup tent, overhang or some other container. Some of them are designed for lawn mowers and they are good options. But you can use any type of tarp or storage as long as it is the right size.

If you need a container, I suggest the Suncast Storage Shed. This is not for everyone, but if you have a riding lawn mower and nowhere to put it, this is a good choice.

There are many types of lawn mowers. A push lawn mower is easier to store than a riding lawn mower, but there are general steps you can take.

A tarp should be fine for short term storage, that is if you are going to use the mower again in a few days. If you are going to store it for several weeks or months, here are some suggestions:

Clean your lawn mower first. Remove stuck grass clippings, dirt, dust, etc. on the blades and the underside. Clear the nooks and crannies. Never store your lawn mower without cleaning, as dirt makes it vulnerable to corrosion.

Drain the fuel tank to prevent the gas from turning gummy. If you don’t want to empty the tank, add fuel stabilizer. But for winter storage I suggest draining the tank. If your mower has separate tanks for oil and gas, empty both.

Take the blades off and put them somewhere safe. Don’t leave the blades lying around as they could cause injury.

If you have an electric lawn mower, turn off the power and disconnect from the power source. Now if you have a gas powered model, disconnect the spark plugs.

How to Prevent Lawn Mower Rust

Some lawn mowers have anti-rust coating for protection. As added measure you can apply anti-corrosion solution to the metal parts too.

I prefer the Boshield T-9 Rust & Corrosion Protection as it works well on lawn mowers and other garden equipment. And chances are you only need to apply it on the blades.

Most of today’s lawn mowers have the metal parts hidden. The exposed areas are made of plastic which do not rust. Some manufacturers also use aluminum, which is also rust-proof.

If you have an old lawn mower with exposed metal parts, put a cover over it. For a modern lawn mower, you only need to cover the blades. But it is a good idea to cover the whole mower in case in rains. As long as your lawn mower is well maintained and not rained on, rust can be avoided.

Can Heat Damage Lawn Mowers?

Lawn mowers can handle high temperature and heat. These machines are meant to be used during sunny days after all. Even so you should take some precautions.

The worst thing that can happen is the plastic parts might warp or discolor. But it is going to take very high temperature for that to happen. If you put a cover on, that should be enough protection. The metal parts will be fine.

Gas lawn mowers will be fine. Since we are talking about storage, you don’t have to worry about the engine overheating. If the engine does feel too hot, turn it off so it can cool down for a few minutes.

Gas, electric and battery lawn mowers may be left outdoors during hot days. The heat is not going to cause any major problems.

Can Lawn Mowers be Rained On?

It is not a good idea to leave your lawn mower in the rain. Though they have built-in protection, the risk of damage is still there.

A slight drizzle is not going to damage a lawn mower. But when the rain starts to get heavy that is when problems can arise.

If you have an electric lawn mower, cover it completely. Put it in storage if possible. Never let an electric device, tool or machine get wet.

Gas lawn mowers are safer in the rain. The only real problem is if water seeps into the gas and oil tanks. If that happens the fuel gets contaminated and will be unusable. If the water spreads throughout the carburetor it’s an even bigger problem. The chances of that happening is slim though. Lawn mowers have measures to prevent this from happening.

Can Lawn Mowers be Left Outside During Winter?

Avoid leaving a lawn mower outdoors during winter. If you have to store it outside, make sure it is completely covered by a thick tarp, canvas or other material.

Lawn mowers cannot survive the winter cold without protection. The ice, snow and freezing temperature will damage the engine, possibly beyond repair.

My advise is to invest in a good cover or storage container. If your area gets long, cold winters, this will be a necessity.

How to Maintain Lawn Mowers Stored Outside

Even with a tarp, your lawn mower is more exposed to the elements. Fortunately there are steps you can take to prevent rust and other damage.

  • Clean the air filter at least every month. Replace the filter at least every 12 months.
  • If you have an electric lawn mower and shutting it down for the winter, remove the battery. Store the battery indoors.
  • Tighten all screws and bolts.
  • Do not leave your lawn mower parked on muddy ground. Place it on an elevated platform if possible.
  • Lubricate the engine as indicated in your owner’s manual.
  • When shopping for a lawn mower cover, keep the following in mind:
  • The material has to be large enough to cover the whole lawn mower.
  • The fabric has to be thick enough to prevent water, chemicals, moisture and other substances from leaking through. Your goal is to protect the fuel tanks so the gas doesn’t get contaminated.

The maintenance needed by a lawn mower varies. Obviously a riding mower requires more effort to maintain than a push mower. But if you have a tractor or zero turn, a shed or garage is a must. As for push lawn mowers, you can store them outdoors using the guidelines given here.