Winter is on its way, which means it’s time to put your Cub Cadet mower into storage. Taking a few preventative steps now will ensure your mower won’t be damaged from sitting for months and can save you from doing maintenance when you’re ready to mow next spring.
Fuel should be completely drained from walk-behind mowers. There are two ways to do this: disconnect the fuel line and put the end in a funnel that leads to a gas can or open the gas cap and tip the mower so that the gas flows into the can. Once the fuel has been drained from the tank, reconnect the fuel line if it was removed, then start the engine to burn off any fuel remaining in the carburetor.
Fuel can be left in the tank of models with fuel injected engines as long as that fuel has been treated with a stabilizer, and it can also be helpful for occasionally recharging the battery on models with carburetors. Before storage, run the engine for a few minutes with this treated fuel to ensure any untreated fuel has been pushed out of the fuel system. A full tank reduces air exposure, slowing oxidation.
The oil should be changed before storage, no matter how many hours the mower has been used since the last oil change. Even lightly used oil can be acidic, which can cause harm to internal components over long periods of exposure.
The cylinders should also be lightly lubricated. To do this, remove the spark plug or plugs from the engine. Add a half ounce (one to two tablespoons) of oil into each cylinder. On pull start engines, place a rag in front of the spark plug hole to catch any splashes and give the starter handle a couple quick pulls to circulate the oil around the cylinder surface, then reinstall the spark plug and wire. On electric start engines, reinstall the plugs, but leave the plug wires disconnected. Use the starter to turn the engine over a few revolutions to circulate the oil, then reinstall the plug wires.
Don’t be surprised if your mower smokes a little the next time you start it: that’s just the oil from the cylinder lubrication burning off.
Batteries on riding mowers should be fully charged before storage. While most manufacturers suggest putting the battery on a trickle charger, Cub Cadet recommends starting the mower every two months and run it at full throttle for 20-30 minutes. This will recharge the battery and circulate fuel through the engine. It may be cold out, but you still need to move the mower outside before starting to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust gases.
Your owner’s manual will have a detailed list of locations; be sure to check the deck spindle shafts, axles and driveshaft bearings for zerk fittings. Axle zerks are located on the inside of the wheel so they can be easy to miss. Always clean the area around the fitting to keep from pushing debris into the bearings when adding grease.
Other points of friction should be lubricated with a light oil or silicone spray including axles on push mowers and handle attachment points.
Control cables should be lubricated with a light lubricant, not a water displacer or penetrating oil. There are several options on the market including non-detergent motor oil, graphite, air tool oil and motorcycle chain lubricant. Whatever you choose, make sure it says “non-gumming” on the label.
After a thorough cleaning, all bare metal surfaces should get a light coating of oil to inhibit rust formation.
Keep your mower indoors if possible. If it needs to be stored outside, use a cover designed for your model. Covering with a tarp is not recommended: the fabric can’t breathe, which lets them collect moisture that will lead to rust.
Even if the fuel system has been drained, there may still be some residual fumes. For this reason, your mower should be stored away from ignition sources including torches, power tools, and furnaces.
On models with pneumatic tires, park the mower on cardboard to prevent direct contact with cold concrete.
Getting Parts for Your Cub Cadet Mower
Find something wrong with your mower while you were getting it ready for storage? Skip the spring rush and repair it now with parts from www.cubparts.com. We’re a certified dealer for Cub Cadet and their manufacturing partners, letting us provide parts for everything from blades to spark plugs. We ship across the U.S. and Canada.