Off-Season Lawnmower Tire Tips

Tires are an important factor in any mower winterization process. But are sometimes overlooked.

When you’re ready to roll for the first mow of the new season only to find underinflated, flat-spotted, and/or dry rotted tires, you’ll wish that you’d taken basic steps to prep your mower tires for storage.

So let’s avoid that scenario – here are off-season mower tire tips.

1. Lawn tire inflation is key

Especially if off-season means a frigid winter climate. Tires drop substantial air pressure when temperatures are below the freezing mark, so inflating to mower/tire specification, or even a few psi above is good protocol.

This way, when your tires inevitably lose air pressure due to the cold temperatures, they’ll still be just about in the right range.

2. Clean your lawn tires

Tires are durable and sturdy, but not impervious to degradation. Rubber can degrade much the same as other organic substances.

Leaving dirt, grass clippings, yard debris, fluids, grease, oil, or other foreign matter on tires can work to accelerate the degradation of the tire compound and contribute to dry rot.

Fancy tire cleaning products and shiny coatings aren’t necessary – a hose and thorough scrub and wipe down of the tires prior to storage will do the trick.

3. Park the mower so tires aren’t exposed to the elements

Keep your tires “in a clean, cool and dark location away from direct sunlight, sources of heat and ozone such as hot pipes or electric generators.” – MichelinMan.com

Park the mower away from windows that bring in direct sunlight, or a crack in the door where frigid winter air rushes in. And if your mower tires don’t get the brunt of exhaust gasses from every cold start of your vehicle in the garage, that’s favorable too.

The less exposure to all harsh elements, the better off your tires will be.

4. If possible, safely elevate the mower and get the tires off of the ground

It might sound obvious, but tires are designed to be used, i.e., regularly rolling and “exercised.”

When tires are stationary under load for long periods of time, things tend to not go so well. The most common byproduct of stationary tires is flat spotting, which is exactly as it sounds – the tire develops flat spots in the area under stationary load. So when you begin rolling on the tires again, you might experience vibration and shaking that’s associated with an out of round tire(s).

Most flat spots can be worked out with resumed use, but not always. If the flat spot is severe enough, structural tire damage might have occurred, and replacement could be necessary.

(Flat spotting is accelerated and made more severe with under-inflated tires.)

5. Next best option: Park the mower on clean cardboard and give it a roll once in a while

If the option to elevate your mower tires off of the ground isn’t there, then consider parking the mower on a piece of cardboard, or similar clean and “cushioned” surface to reduce the stress on the tires.

Every once in a while, give the mower a slight roll to transfer the weight load onto a different portion of the tires. (Do so when temperatures are above freezing, and the tires are more pliable.)

And did we mention? Whatever your storage circumstances, make sure your tires are fully inflated!

Mower tires can last for many seasons, and giving them some basic TLC before every off-season will significantly extend their service life.

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