How to drain gas from riding lawn mower

Our team independently selects, reviews, and identifies the best products. We may earn affiliate commissions on purchases made from links on this page. Read about our links here. This post was updated on July 13, 2024

This guide will teach you how to drain gas from riding lawn mower.

Of course, you know that letting gas sit in the unit during the close season can bring endless issues including starting problems and a poor performance. 

You might also want to remove the gas when making repairs on the tank or empty bad gas/old gas deposits or even due to gas getting into oil lawn mower.

Whatever your reasons, follow these steps for the most common models including John Deere lawn mower, Honda lawn mower, Briggs and Stratton, cub cadet and more:

How to drain gas from riding lawn mower: Step by step guide

Start with the safety precautions.

Here you should:

  1. Park the riding lawnmower on level surface like your driveway and engage the parking brake appropriately.
  2. Turn your mower off and allow the engine to cool.
  3. Now take the ignition key out and proceed to disconnect the unit’s spark plug wire.

With that, your mower won’t move or accidentally ignite – either of these can be disastrous.

Let’s now go through the steps proper.

how to make a lawn mower faster

Method 1: how to drain gas from riding lawn mower with a siphon

A nice way to drain the tank from a riding mower is by siphoning it from the unit to a gas can. A plastic container makes a good alternative.


  • Depending on the model, raise the seat to gain access to the fuel tank’s cap or set the riding mower on wood blocks to get access to the underside.
  • Place the gas collection can beneath the fuel tank.
  • Remove the gas cap. Simply unscrew it.
  • Take the siphon pump and insert the tube into the tank. Check that the tube is at a good angle to permit easier flow of gas from the fuel tank.
  • Place the other tube of your siphon into the container/can. For a smoother siphoning, make sure that it reaches just enough inside the collecting container (but not to the bottom).
  • Now initiate the flow of the liquid. To do this, pump the siphon’s handle a couple of times.
  • How you progress is again dependent on your brand: For some hand siphons, you need to continue pumping/releasing until all the fluid drains into the can. For others, the siphon sustains the outflow without requiring further action- the gravity will automatically do the rest.

That’s all. An old rag can help in case you notice any residual gas in the tank. You can as well run the engine till it’s completely out of gasoline.

cub cadet zero turn steering problems

Method 2: how to drain gas from lawn mower without siphon

Some brands come with special anti-siphon barriers making it impossible to use the above process.

In this case, you will need 2 pieces of a plastic tubing/neoprene hose (preferably clear ones)- one should be shorter.

Ensure that the length is sufficient to reach the gas tank.


  • Place the receiving container under the gas tank. 

Pro-tip: Ensure that the jerry can accepting the gas is lower than the end in the tank for flawless siphoning to occur.

  • Feed the longer tube/hose deep enough into the tank such that it’s submerged substantially.

Pro-tip: You can test if the hose is well positioned for outflow by blowing it carefully to avoid inhaling the fumes. You should hear bubbles if placed properly.

  • Next, place the opposite end into the collecting container.
  • Now place the shorter hose a couple of inches into the gas tank such that the two tubes lay side-by-side.  But you should be keen as you don’t want to submerge it.
  • Having done that, now seal the opening- you can cut and use a piece of an old rag/towel here (make it wet). The idea is to prevent any air from escaping since this method relies on air pressure buildup inside the tank.
  • You’re all set at this point and you only need to blow some air into the shorter tube- still exercise caution not to breathe in the fumes.
  • Continue blowing until you see gasoline flowing- the elevated pressure will force fuel to move into the longer hose.

The gas will henceforth flow freely out of the tank until it has been completely drained.

Pro-Tip: If you want to halt the draining at any stage, just raise the container or the hose to a higher.

Remember to wipe out leftover fuel as explained earlier.

craftsman riding mower cutting uneven

How to drain gas from riding lawn mower:  frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How often do I need to drain the gas from my lawn mower?

As a rule of the thumb, you should drain the riding mower before storage, if you’re not going to use it for at least 3 months.
Having said that, old/ “bad” gas will hurt its functioning and you should flush it out at the earliest opportunity. 
Your operator manual should give other relevant guidelines for your unit.
How to change blades on zero turn mower

How do you dispose of old gas from a lawn mower?

You have several safe options but I recommend that you contact your nearest local government office for guidance.
You’re likely to be directed to an auto parts store, a recycling center, or waste disposal sites.

Wrapping it up

That’s how to drain gas from riding lawn mower if you’re unable to wait until the mower runs out of gas- the easiest, but more expensive method!

The steps may be a bit different on your specific unit so refer to the owners’ manual before everything.

As usual, be careful when working on the mower (wear protective equipment) and have some kitty litter to help quickly dry spills.

Also, consult an expert/dealer, if unsure of the above procedures.

Universal grass catcher for riding lawn mower

Leave a Comment