There are a number of reasons why you might need to drain the gas from the fuel tank on your mower. The most common is when you’re winterizing your mower and preparing it for storage, as old gas that’s just left to sit in the tank can cause problems, and you might have problems starting it up again in the springtime.
The most common way is to siphon this gas off using some kind of tubing and a pump (or by blowing into the pipe yourself) to generate air pressure in the tank that forces the gas into the tubing and then gravity takes it down into your jerry can.
But if for whatever reason you don’t want to drain your tank using a siphon (maybe you don’t have one or are looking for an easier way), what other options do you have? How do you drain gas from a lawn mower without a siphon?
There are a few ways depending on the mower you have, but sometimes you can disconnect the fuel line and drain the gas that way without needing to use a siphon.
My Go-To Method for Draining Gas from a Lawn Mower without a Siphon
Most of the time if I need to drain the gas, I’ll be completely honest, I normally siphon it off. But I have seen this question come up in a few groups (how to do it without a siphon), and I have done this once or twice (once at my pop’s, he didn’t have any tubing and my lazy ass didn’t want to go to the store…), so thought I’d share.
Draining the Gas Tank on Your Mower by Disconnecting the Fuel Line
I should also say that this might be a bit fiddly on some mower models, where access to the fuel line is a bit trickier, and it may require you unscrewing a few things to get at it properly. But there are some benefits to draining your tank this way in my opinion, which I’ll explain in a minute.
You can do this with your mower on the ground, but I prefer to have it a bit higher up on a bench or something (especially if your knees give you hell like mine), so you have easy access to the gas tank. DON’T tip your mower on its side because A) you might tip it the wrong way, and B) it’s not necessary.
The first thing you’re going to want to do (actually the first thing you do any time you’re doing maintenance) is disconnect the spark plug. This makes it impossible for your mower to start up unintentionally.
Then, have a look for the fuel line that runs between the fuel tank and the carburetor. It’s a little rubber pipe, and is normally not that long on push mowers. If you can’t see it, it may be hidden behind the air filter casing (I did say you may have to remove a few screws…).
This piping will normally be secured at both ends with squeeze clamps. Before you do anything with those though, I’d recommend grabbing a container and having it ready to collect the gas. Now that you’ve got that, take some pliers, and at the end where the line connects to the carburetor, squeeze down on the clamps with your pliers and move it away from the end of the pipe and towards the middle. That way you won’t lose it.
You’ll now be able to work the end of the line off of the connection on the carburetor with your hands. Once you do so, you’ll want to cover the end with your finger to stop any gas from leaking onto the floor. With the end still covered, point it down towards your container (if it’s a real short line, you’re going to need to hold the container closer using your other hand). Now you can release your finger from the end, and gravity should do the rest.
So if you were wondering how to drain gas from a lawn mower without a siphon; that’s how!
Some Additional Benefits of Draining Your Gas without a Siphon
Some people might think having to unscrew things and mess around with pliers and squeeze clamps is too much faff compared to siphoning gas from a mower fuel tank. And that’s fair enough. But there are actually a couple of additional benefits to draining gas the way I’ve described above.
Remove Sludge/Grime from Tank
The only way to properly deep clean your tank is to remove it and give it a good going-over. But draining your tank by disconnecting the fuel line is definitely better than siphoning for getting out sludge and grime that may be sitting at the bottom. And removing this can help to improve engine performance.
It Prompts Routine Maintenance
As I’ve already said, siphoning is great if you’re feeling lazy and want a quick way to drain your tank (“yes please” is my usual response). But the truth is, when you disconnect the fuel line to drain your tank, it prompts you to do those other small maintenance tasks that you’ve been meaning to do for a while but have never gotten round to. 90% of the battle with these things is starting, right? And by disconnecting the fuel line, you’ve already started, so you may as well get the rest done too. Here are a few things you might want to take care of:
Inspect the Fuel Line
If your tube is leaking then you definitely want to replace it. But even if it just looks dried out and cracked, you might want to replace it, because even though it isn’t leaking now, it probably will be soon.
Replace the Fuel Filter
If your mower has one, check and replace the fuel filter. These get contaminated over time and need to be changed to make sure only the good stuff makes its way into the carburetor.
Remove and Clean the Float Bowl
If you’re draining your tank because your gas is old and stale, this is definitely a step that I would recommend taking, as it’s the only way to fully drain the carb. And if your gas is contaminated, you don’t want it just left sitting in there. So take a socket wrench to remove the bold and take this off, and give it a good clean before replacing.
Check Your Air Filter
Hell, why not. You’re doing everything to make sure your mower’s engine gets the right amount of clean fuel, so it’d be silly not to check it’s getting the air it needs too. Take the casing off your filter and check it’s clean. Remove any debris if it’s just a little dusty. Replace it if it’s filthy.
Draining Gas without a Siphon: Good to Do Occasionally
If you’ve learned one thing from this post, it’s that I’m a bit lazy when it comes to mower maintenance. I do it when I have to, but it’s not my favorite thing in the world. And that’s why I tend to siphon my gas off as it’s just quicker with the mower I have. But I do think that draining the gas without a siphon and taking the time to disconnect your fuel line is a good thing to do from time to time for the reasons I just explained.