How do you start a lawn mower after the winter [or after sitting for years!] (2023)

Winter is over and if you're like me you're looking forward to starting your lawn mower again!

There are a few things you should do before starting your lawn mower after it has been sitting for a while, which I will cover in this article.

Before you start reading how to start your lawnmower after winter -charge your battery. It's likely to flatten out after a few months (or years!), giving you a head start on the first step.

I also give you some great tips to make the whole process a little bit easier - read on!


  1. Step 1. Charge the battery
  2. Step 2. Fresh gas
  3. Step 3. Drain the carburetor
  4. Does your gas look cloudy?
  5. Step 4. Wait to wash
  6. Step 5. Check the oil

Step 1. Charge the battery

The first thing to do is charge the battery. A battery charger is the easiest way, but if you don't have one you can start later.

By the way, if your battery looks like this:

How do you start a lawn mower after the winter [or after sitting for years!] (1)


It needs to be cleaned first - boiling water is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to get rid of corrosion. Make sure your terminals are nice and clean.

Another tip if you're going to park your lawn mower for a while isdisconnect the battery.

I have acircuit breakeron my battery because it kept draining because a current was being drawn somewhere. Cable ties are notoriously hard to find, so a circuit breaker is a great solution - or yank one of the cables.

Step 2. Fresh gas

How do you start a lawn mower after the winter [or after sitting for years!] (2)

Second, you need to make sure your lawn mower is getting fresh gas.

The easiest way to tell if the gas is good is to smell it. Not much, mind you - it will go to your head.

Just sniff. If the gas smells bad, yuck, or funny, it has to go.

If the gasoline smells good, get fresh fuel and fill up.

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Step 3. Drain the carburetor

This step is highly recommended but optional.

For example, the drain plug can be very difficult to access on some lawn mowers, so it may not be practical for you to perform this step.

If youhe canDrain the carburetor - madness!

Time to take your lawn mower outside. This is tricky business, so you really want to make sure you take your mower to an area where a little bit of gasoline on the ground can be cleaned up or won't cause problems.

There is a drain plug at the bottom of the bowl that allows you to drain the old gas. Take it out and drain until you smell a pleasant smell of fresh gas escaping.

Most lawn mowers have gravity gas, so the gas will go through on its own. It can also drain your entire gas tank, so put the screw back in when the fresh gas comes through!

Some lawn mowers, like mine, have a fuel pump. You can still drain the carburetor on a fuel-pump mower, but if you want to pump in more gas to release it, you'll have to wind up the mower.

(Video) How To Start A Mower That's Been Sitting

Be careful though...

While it's nice to let off the gas, you don't want to burn the starter by cranking it over 1,000 times!!!

Does your gas look cloudy?

Yes? That sucks!

You may have a little trouble if the gas coming out is cloudy. Chances are your carburetor is blocked and you need to clean it out before your lawnmower will work properly (or at all).

I mean, yeah, maybe you're lucky.

Sometimes, even when it's dark, you can still get the clippers working, especially if you use them regularly. If the gas is dark and you only use it once or twice and then park it again for a long time, your carburetor will become clogged with dirt.

If you use the mower a lot there is a small chance it will be fine with some fresh gas.

But it probably gets worse when the gas is dark, and you need to clean the carburetor.

I have some great tips for cleaning carburetors easily - they can save you a lot of time and money!

So you've drained the carburetor until good, clean fuel comes out. I hope you put the screw back down the drain too.

Now it's time to wash it off or wait a bit.

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Step 4. Wait to wash

Do not try to start the lawn mower immediately. I mean it's covered in that gas you just dumped.

if you reallyTerTo use your mower now, at least hose it down gently and move the mower away from where you released the gas so you don't sit in a puddle of gas.

Bevery nice with the hose, you don't want to get all your electrical components wet. If it gets wet, the cutter will not turn on. Just wash it gently.

Step 5. Check the oil

The last thing to check before starting your post-winter mower is the oil.

Check that it is ok and that it is filled to the correct level.


We've got good fuel, good oil - we're ready to mow the lawn!

How to start your lawn mower after years of sitting

If it's been more than just a winter - the steps to starting your lawn mower are very similar to the steps above except the carburetor is likelyclogged.


There's a very good chance you'll need to clean the carburetor before anything else, but that's usually the worst part.

I used to pull a lot of small motors from the dump to fix them. Most often, the only thing missing was a clogged carburetor.

I ended up getting so fed up with cleaning carburetors that I stopped buying them!

Tips for cleaning carburetors

How do you start a lawn mower after the winter [or after sitting for years!] (3)

If you are on a farm orhomesteadand you have all the equipment that is used for part of the year - like generators and lawn mowers - buy a can or two of thesespray melody.

I haveJohnson Evinrude OMC Engine Tuner it is atQuicksilver Powertune(Mercury) - It's the same thing and they both work really, really well.

  1. Quicksilver Power Tune Motorinnenreiniger
  2. How do you start a lawn mower after the winter [or after sitting for years!] (4)


    Quicksilver Power Tune helps remove harmful junk that builds up in your engine. It also helps improve airflow and overall engine performance. It is perfect for 4 and 2 stroke petrol injection engines.


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    16.02.2023 04h37 |

    (Video) Start a lawn mower that has been sitting over the winter ( with gas in it) #Fix #Tip
  3. Johnson Evinrude Engine Tuner
  4. How do you start a lawn mower after the winter [or after sitting for years!] (5)

    This engine tuner removes paint, gum and carbon deposits. This will help keep your pistons, rings, ports and valves clean. It's also easy to apply - spray the engine's air intake for a noticeable improvement. Works for 4 and 2 stroke engines.


    We can earn a commission when you make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

    16.02.2023 03:04 GMT

This stuff is a real lifesaver when you need it!

We had a big storm the other day that knocked out the power. My daughter and I went outside to start the generator and of course it didn't work as it had been sitting for months.

I took the bowl off the carb and sprayed it with spray. Then I sprayed it into the carburetor and tried to get some of it into the jets.

I let it soak while my daughter was patient. She's 8 years old, so it didn't take long.

It worked!

We started it and it died and kept running all night.

Buy some - it could save your bacon one evening when you really want your generator running, or the day you really need your snow blower and can't go to the store because your driveway is 8ft -Mountain of snow is blocked!

I actually had this other idea….

It hasn't been fully tested yet, but I think there's a good chance it will work.

  1. Begin by draining the carburetor.
  2. Take a long hose with a small funnel on top.
  3. Fill the carburetor with spray until it comes out of the drain plug.
  4. If you see the spray tuning coming loose, put the screw back in (don't waste it, it's not cheap!)
  5. Fill the carburetor with this stuff until it comes out at the top.

Now have a beer and wait. And wait. It will take ages and patience. About 24 hours.

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Spray tuning comes out as a foam, so you have to wait for it to become a liquid so it can get into the carburetor.

It takes a lot of patience to fill a hose, I can assure you.

If that doesn't work and it still doesn't work, you will need to remove the carburetor, disassemble it and soak all the individual parts in spray for 24 hours.

I usually take all the nozzles and bits and pieces and put them in the bowl. Then I fill the bowl with the spray and let it soak. You can of course use a different bowl.

Once machined, all jets and brass parts take on a bright, buttery golden color. After they are wet, I like to clean the parts with themCleaner for electrical contacts,carburetor cleaner, orbrake cleaner. If you don't have that, you can flush them with gasoline.

  1. CRC QD electronics cleaner
  2. How do you start a lawn mower after the winter [or after sitting for years!] (6)

    $13.24 ($1.20/ounce)

    Here's our favorite precision cleaner for handling dirty plugs, sockets, and relay switches. It is an ideal petroleum distillate for cleaning connectors and helping prevent contact failures. Perfect for cleaning electronic devices. It's also plastic safe.


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    15.02.2023 18h32 |

  3. Gumout Carb und Choke Cleaner
  4. How do you start a lawn mower after the winter [or after sitting for years!] (7)

    $ 11,59

    Gumout is excellent for overcoming rough idle, hard starts, engine stalls or unacceptable exhaust emissions. Gumout removes hard deposits, varnish, dirt and gum from your carburetors. Helps improve fuel economy and performance!


    We can earn a commission when you make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

    15.02.2023 16h32 |

  5. CRC BRAKLEEN Bremsenteileiniger
  6. How do you start a lawn mower after the winter [or after sitting for years!] (8)

    (Video) How to start a mower that has been sitting for a long time!

    $ 13,07

    Here's an easy way to quickly remove grease, brake fluid, brake dust, dirt, oil, and other contaminants from your brakes. Helps to clean liners, brake calipers, clutch discs, pads and brake parts.


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    15.02.2023 13h52 |

In addition, it is better to blow compressed air into all the holes in the carburetor. Make sure everything comes out first so you don't blow little bits all over the place.

It's really annoying when that happens!

Try to do this on a clean bench so it doesn't get mixed up with other stuff when things get rolling. Maybe even a clean floor in case you drop something...

But if you have the time to let it go, this would be a super easy way to clean your carburetor and anyone can do it!


We know that most settlers and farmers have a lot of tasks in winter!

Between shoveling snow, blowing snow, shoveling ice and freezing weather? Your hands are full!

That's why lawn mowers, trimmers and garden tools are so easily neglected in winter.

We understand!

We hope our guide will help you overcome lawnmower stalls, engine failures and slow starts.

Even though you haven't used your mower over the winter? A little care can go a long way!

Also, don't be afraid to ask if you have any other questions about starting your mower after it's been idling all winter.

Or - if you haveSmart tips for starting a lawnmower engine when it won't start- Please share!

We love hearing from you - and we want to help.

Thank you for reading.

Have a great day!

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  • How do you start a lawn mower after the winter [or after sitting for years!] (9)

    Dan Mager

    Dan is our qualified diesel installer and auto mechanic. He has been repairing machines for over 30 years and has a real passion for old things - he loves reviving things others have given up. He fixes anything with a clamp and fence wire, and has handled everything from tractors, trucks, farm equipment, bulldozers and giant mining machines to outboard motors. He suffers from OCD - but that makes him a damn good mechanic!

    (Video) Starting A Small Engine After It's Been Sitting For 3 Years

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Why won t my lawn mower start after sitting for the winter? ›

There could be a number of reasons why your push or riding lawn mower won't start after sitting all winter. A dirty carburetor is one of the most common causes for a lawn mower not being able to start after sitting unused for months or years at a time.

How long can a lawn mower sit? ›

This decreases the life of your lawnmower and costs you more money over time to replace parts or even the whole machine. How long can gas sit in a lawn mower? Depending on the gasoline formula it can degrade in as little of 30 days. Properly treated gasoline can stay good for up to a year.

What happens if you leave gas in lawn mower over winter? ›

Simply leaving fuel in the tank all winter can wreak havoc on your mower's engine. Water from condensation can combine with ethanol in the gas, causing clogs, corrosion, and other problems throughout the fuel system. Come springtime, you could be in for a professional carburetor cleaning to the tune of $75 to $100.

What is the most common reason a lawn mower won't start? ›

It's a common problem to have, but there's often a quick and easy fix if you can diagnose the problem. Some of the most common reasons a lawn mower won't start include low fuel, spark plug issues, a clogged carburetor, a broken clutch, or broken gears.

What's the easiest way to start a lawn mower? ›

Stand behind the lawn mower. Use one hand to hold the engine stop lever in the operating position. Use the other hand to hold the recoil starter handle. Slowly pull the recoil starter handle until resistance is felt, then pull quickly to start the push mower engine.

How do you start a stale gas lawn mower? ›

If your mower won't start because you've been using old gasoline, then you'll have to remove the built-up residue that is choking out the engine. Any gasoline still in the tank should be siphoned out, as attempting to use the same gas again after fixing the mower will cause the problems to return.

How do you clean a lawn mower tank that has been sitting? ›

Clean the Tank and the Carburetor: A canister of carburetor cleaner can be used to clean the tank. The cleaner should be sprayed into the outtake hole of the gas tank fuel line. The interior of the tank should also be thoroughly sprayed. Rinse the Tank: Never make use of water to rinse the tank.

How long do you let a flooded lawn mower sit? ›

An engine that's getting gas and not starting probably has a flooded carburetor or cylinder soaked with gasoline. Often your nose can make the diagnosis: Flooded engines reek of unburned fuel. Park the mower on level ground, and wait about 15 minutes for the gas to evaporate.


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