Can you store a lawnmower vertically?




Can you store a lawnmower vertically

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Can you store a lawnmower vertically?

The benefits of storing a mower Vertically.

Have you ever looked at your mower and thought about all the space wasted? Wouldn’t it be great if you could store it vertically or even hang it on the wall? Did you know that vertical storing reduces the storage footprint of your lawn mower by up to 70%?

Now that saves a lot of storage space and gives you a bit more room for the car.

It would also mean you could pack it out of the way for the winter if you don’t mow all year round. 

Now I must admit after 30 years in the industry I could see no reason why you couldn’t store a lawnmower upright when I was asked. I have done it myself a few times over the years. I was surprised when I searched on Google and the first two results said No. 

I had to disagree.

Talking to the experts

Just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything I rang a few small engine technicians at the repair shops I have used for years. They confirmed my thoughts. 

Then I rang the grandaddy of engines, Briggs and Stratton, and asked them directly. I told them I was thinking about building a rack for at least half a dozen petrol-powered lawnmowers with Briggs engines. I even told them that some of my engines were up to ten years old. They said that there would be no issues storing the mowers like that.

In fact, Briggs and Stratton even manufacture a mower designed to do this called the Mow N’ Stow

Can you store a lawn mower vertically? 

The short answer is Yes, as long as the spark plug is facing the sky allowing the oil to drain into the sump. Also, make sure that the machine is level and not leaning to the left or right. This can cause the oil to flood the air filter or the muffler. Read the owner’s manual or ring the manufacturer if you are unsure. 

However, I must also point out that most petrol mowers are not designed designed for vertical storage. There are some exceptions such as the Toro Smartstow lawn mower. However, this is a design issue only, nothing more. Any mower can be stored this way but they won’t have the handy stands on the handlebars. 

wpm smartstow folding

You can also buy vertical cases for lawn mower storage which is a good idea if you want to save space. 

Importance of proper lawnmower storage

If you store your mower correctly then this will help prevent issues such as rust, corrosion, and water getting into the engine. 

Pros and cons of vertical lawnmower storage

There are some good arguments on both sides and I will go through them below. 

Advantages if you store your lawn mower vertically. 

Space-saving: The most obvious advantage if your mower is stored upright is the space saved. This would allow you to tuck it away when you winterize your mower and not have to work around it all of the time. 

Easy Access: You can put the mower in a place like a corner that is easy to get to when you need it. This will allow you to optimize your storage space. 

Reduced Risk of Fuel Leaks: A gas-powered lawnmower can develop leaks from the carburetor or fuel tank as they are designed to work in the horizontal position. Storing them vertically reduces the chances of this happening. 

Prevents Oil Leaks: It is the same with oil leaks, These usually occur around the sump when the mower sitting on the floor. When the mower is vertical the sump plug is less likely to leak. 

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Disadvantages of storing a lawnmower vertically.

Now we have looked at the pros and perhaps saved your floor from fuel and oil stains we will move on to the cons. 

Please note that the first couple of items on this are things that go wrong if your push mower is not designed to be stored upright . Always consult the user’s manual first or contact the manufacturer first if you are in doubt.  

Oil and Fuel Leaks: If your lawnmower is not designed to be stored vertically it could result in issues with the seals and gaskets. This could cause the oil to pool in the wrong place in the engine which could lead to issues with lubrication and lead to engine damage or reduced performance. 

Hard to start: Some carburetors like to be kept in a horizontal position. If the carburetor gets gummed up due to vertical storage it could cause fuel-related issues such as running roughly or being hard to start. 

 Unstable: A mower stored in the vertical position is not as stable as a mower sitting firmly on all four wheels. It could be accidentally knocked over a lot more easily. 

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Tips for storing a lawnmower vertically

These are the steps that you should take to prepare your lawn mower for storage for a few months or more. 

Make sure the mower is clean. 

I would hose or pressure-wash both the undercarriage and the exterior of the mower and remove all the dirt. Dirt and grime can cause corrosion and deterioration while the machine is in storage. 

Clean the Air Filter:

Check the air filter and give it a bit of a clean. If it’s a paper filter tap it or use a blower to get the dust off. If it’s a foam filter then give it a light wash in soapy water using a few drops of dishwashing liquid and squeeze it dry. Then leave it in the sun or an airing cupboard overnight. 

Change the Oil:

Remove the old oil and replace it with fresh oil. When you go to replace the oil run the machine for a few minutes first to soften the oil. Then tip the machine on its side or remove the sump plug. I have got more details instructions here if you need them. How Much Oil to Put in a Lawn Mower?

If your mower has a history of oil leaks do not store it upright – This will end badly. You need to have good seals and no leaks.

Stabilize the Fuel:

Always use a stabilizer with gas-powered lawn mowers. This will stop the fuel from deteriorating during storage. The stabilizer comes with instructions on the ratio you need to use. 

Run the engine for a couple of minutes to help the stabilized fuel circulate through the engine. 

Tighten the petrol cap and do not store the mower with a full tank of gas – You would think that gas caps on mowers are airtight but they are not. They have breathers built in otherwise you would get a vacuum with no oxygen in the petrol tank which will stall the mower.

This is a handy thing to try when a mower stops for no apparent reason. Sometimes simply unscrewing the petrol cap and putting it back on will dispel a vacuum and the mower will start again. 

Disconnect the Spark Plug:

As an extra step for the sake of safety disconnect the spark plug. Do not remove it if storing vertically as that will allow dirt and dust to get inside the engine. 

Remove the Battery (if applicable):

If you are storing an electric lawn mower then remove the battery. Keep the battery in a cool, dry place and charge it again before use.

Be careful when folding the handles. 

Watch out when folding the handles up. It is really easy to catch the throttle cable as it runs down the handle. If you damage the cable you will need to replace it. 

Securely Store Vertical Mowers (if applicable):

Make sure that the mower is secure. You do not want it tipping over and getting damaged. 

Store in a Dry Location:

Always store it indoors somewhere dry like a garage or a shed. If you are concerned about moisture then you could consider using a waterproof cover or a tarp

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Conclusion – Can you store a lawnmower vertically?

In conclusion, storing a lawnmower vertically can be a solution, for maximizing storage space, when not in use. Here are the main points discussed in the article;

Summary of key points

1. Space-saving Benefits; Storing the lawnmower upright can reduce its storage footprint by up to 70% creating space in your garage or shed.

2. Expert Opinions; Conversations with engine technicians including those from Briggs and Stratton indicate that storing lawnmowers vertically with the spark plug facing is generally feasible.

Pros of Vertical Storage;

Space saving; You can easily store the lawnmower away during winter without it taking up space. Convenient Access; Placing the mower in a position optimizes storage and allows for easy access.
Reduced Risk of Leaks; Upright storage minimizes the chances of fuel and oil leaks, which improves long-term performance.

Cons of Vertical Storage;

Oil and Fuel Leaks; Improper vertical storage may lead to issues with seals and gaskets resulting in oil pooling and potential engine damage.
 Starting Difficulties; Some carburetors may experience difficulties due to vertical storage leading to fuel-related problems.
 Stability Concerns; Storing the lawnmower vertically makes it less stable and increases the risk of accidental tipping.

Overall while there are advantages to storing a lawnmower such as saving space and reducing leaks risks it is important to consider potential downsides, like starting difficulties or stability concerns. Based on the advantages of storing a lawnmower in terms of saving space and minimizing risks it is indeed a viable option.

However, it is essential to follow maintenance guidelines consult the user manual, and ensure that the lawnmower is specifically designed for storage. Taking recommended steps, like cleaning changing the oil, and stabilizing the fuel will contribute to a space-efficient storage solution.

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This does not mean you can flip your mower on its side. 

A word of warning here. Just because you can tilt a mower upwards for storage (or even for cleaning underneath) you can NOT flip the mower on its side.

If you try this with a four-stroke mower you are going to cause some problems. When you look at a standard lawnmower engine it normally has the air filter on one side and the muffler on the other. This is where it can go wrong.

If you flip a four-stroke mower on the air filter side then gravity will cause the oil to overflow into the air filter. Then when you try to start the mower it will not start because it cannot draw in any air. If you are working all day in the rain a wet air filter can present the same symptom. 

If you were to flip the machine the other way, then the oil would run into the muffler. Your machine may start but it will run terbiley and smoke like crazy until all the excess oil has burnt off. A really bad idea. Why Your Lawn Mower Blows Blue Smoke :How to fix it.

Mowing on a steep angle. 

You can even run into this problem if you try to mow a lawn that is too steep with a four-stroke. Your average mower will cut on an angle of up to 20 degrees. This is only if you are cutting sideways. If you are cutting by pushing the mower vertically up and down the hill (not recommended btw) then you wouldn’t have that problem. Just to give you an idea of a 20-degree angle I have included an example below. 

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How about two-stroke mowers, can you store them vertically too? 

Two-stroke engines are different as they do not have an oil reservoir they rely on the operator using a mix of oil and petrol when fueling up. This means you do not get the same issues you get with standard four-stroke. 

There would be no issues with storing a two-stroke mower vertically except perhaps getting it to balance.

Most of the really small engines like blowers, string trimmers, and hedge cutters are all two-stroke engines. A lot of lawn care operators throw these machines around a lot. I have traveled with blowers that were upside down in a vehicle and as long as the fuel cap is not loose I have never had a problem. 

I even have half a dozen string trimmers and a pole hedge trimmer that hang vertically in my garage sometimes for months on end and it has not affected the machines in any way. 

Can you flip a two-stroke mower?

No issues are flipping a two-stroke mower. You simply roll it onto its side. Because the oil is in the fuel it does not create any issues. Having said that do remember to disconnect the spark plug before doing this.

Mowing on a steep angle with a two-stroke.

As long as it is safe to mow then a two-stroke will do the job. When I was working on the coast I had one lawn that was so steep it was dangerous. The owner had lost a toe mowing the lawn so he had given up. I used a two-stroke Flymo with a rope and pulled it up and down the bank. The machine ran fine but I found it exhausting.

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