Riding mower battery dead. 5 Reasons a Lawn Mower Battery KEEPS DYING & Draining

Can a Riding Lawnmower Run Without a Battery?

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One of the most significant benefits of a riding lawnmower is not having to use your energy to propel the mower. What happens when that power is no longer available? You may find yourself having some battery issues on your riding lawnmower. If you notice your battery is not working or not charging, you may wonder if a battery is even needed. When it comes to a riding lawnmower, you will need some sort of battery to make the machine work. Not only are riding lawnmowers much more substantial than a standard push mower, but they also have different features that need a battery to run. Most riding lawnmowers come with some sort of charging ability to keep your lawnmower ready to go. As with most electronics, you may find yourself having trouble with the battery or even the charging element. Let’s talk about why your lawnmower needs a batter, how a battery system works, and issues you may run into.

Can a Riding Lawnmower Run Without a Battery?

Unlike traditional lawnmowers, riding lawnmowers have a number of benefits for the rider. These can range from something as simple as headlights to something more advanced such as multiple cutting decks with different functions. Considering all of the aspects that these types of mowers feature, it is difficult to use your riding lawnmower without a battery. Many of the features on a lawnmower are impossible to use without the assistance of a battery. The good news is that most riding lawnmowers come with a charging system so that you can always make sure the battery is fully charged prior to using your lawnmower again. Your mowers battery is often found beneath your lawnmower’s seat and simply needs to be connected to a charger. Depending on your lawnmower, this may take a few hours or an entire day. You need to make sure your battery and the charger for your battery are of similar voltage. Since you are relying on the battery to run your lawnmower, there is a chance that either your battery or your charging system may run into problems. Your battery itself can become damaged over time, or one of the wires you use to connect the two may stop working. By regularly testing your lawnmower battery, you can make sure that your lawnmower never has the chance to stop working right before a job. To keep your lawnmower battery in excellent condition, make sure you are staying on top of regular maintenance on your lawnmower. Regular maintenance can include frequent charging of the battery, keeping your machine clean, and proper battery tests if you suspect a problem. Additionally, if you plan to store your mower during colder months, take the time to prepare your mower for storage and use a float charger to keep your battery charged.

How Can I Make Sure My Battery Works?

If you have not used your lawnmower in quite a while or it has been stored, you may want to check your battery before trying to turn on your lawnmower. Although some lawnmower batteries can last up to five years if cared for, most usually fall into disrepair. The good news is that you can quickly check your lawnmower battery prior to trying to turn your machine on. The easiest way is to try and make sure your battery works is to keep it charged. Regular and consistent charging is going to keep it in the best shape it can be in, and with frequent charging, you should never find your lawnmower dead. You can use a multimeter to check the voltage of your battery. These are great tools to have around since they are relatively inexpensive. If you find out that your lawnmower battery is dead, you can try to jump your lawnmower using a car battery. For this, you want to make sure your lawnmower battery is a 12 volt. You can then park your lawnmower and your car near each other and connect the batteries using jumper cables. If your battery is still not charging, it may be time to replace your battery. Something else to consider is the working condition of your alternator. The alternator is attached to the engine and essentially helps charge the battery while the mower is in use. If you notice that your mower is not staying charged, it may be time to check out your alternator. If you pick up a multimeter for your battery, this can also be used to check the status of your lawnmower’s alternator.

Your Charging System Could be the Problem

If you test your battery and alternator but still have issues, there could easily be something wrong with your charging system. Your alternator could have a loose belt, or there could be something wrong with the wires for your charging system. If there are any frayed or broken areas on your cords, it is time to replace the cables for safety reasons and to make your charging system effective.

4 Tips to Keep Your Riding Lawnmower in Great Condition

Make it part of your routine to ensure that your lawnmower battery is charging. You can do this by using a tester or keeping your mower connected to its battery supply. If you have not used your lawnmower in a decent amount of time, it is necessary to check both the battery attached to your lawnmower as well as the charging system itself.

As with anything that you use outside, it can get dirty with regular use. Make cleaning your battery and charging system part of the regular maintenance you perform on your riding lawnmower. You can do this by checking your battery before using or ensuring that you are taking the time to charge your battery after each use. If you notice any corroded areas on your battery, try to clean them off before charging or jumping your battery.

If you stored your lawnmower during the colder months or for other reasons, you might find that your battery has significantly drained during that time. A float charger can sense when your battery is draining and will help keep it charged. Since they are not consistently charging, they are perfect for storage.

Your mower’s alternator plays a significant role in how your battery operates while the mower is running. If you have had your mower for an extended period of time, there is a chance that your battery or your alternator has had enough. You can find replacements at almost any garden center in your area. Make sure you are using the correct voltage.

Are Batteries Necessary for Riding Lawnmowers?

Unfortunately, most riding lawnmowers need a battery in order to function correctly. Your lawnmower has many attributes that will not function unless your battery is in working condition. Even though it may not be that important to have your headlights running while you are mowing, you may risk damaging other areas of your lawnmower by attempting to use a battery that is not adequately charged.

Keeping your battery in the best working condition is a great way to make sure that you always have a reliable battery to run your riding lawnmower. Ensuring that you are storing your mower correctly and keeping it as clean as possible, your lawnmower battery should run up to five years.

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Reasons a Lawn Mower Battery KEEPS DYING Draining

You finally find time to mow your lawn and then you find your lawn mower battery is dead. It’s frustrating when you have to go through extra steps to get your mower started by charging or replacing the battery.

In my line of work at a lawn mower repair facility, I often get asked, “What keeps draining my lawn mower battery?” so I’m going to try to help you out if you are running into the same problem.

Your lawn mower battery can keep dying and draining from loose battery cables; dirty or loose wiring connections; a faulty charging system; a bad battery; or leaving the ignition key in the on position.

Before you run out and replace your lawn mower battery, read on to see what may be causing your battery to keep dying.

Always disconnect the negative cable (black) from the battery before making any repairs to the electrical system.

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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.

This is Why a Lawn Mower Battery Keeps Dying and Draining

Loose Cables

The first thing you should do is check the battery and cables to see if the cables are loose, not only loose on the battery but loose elsewhere as well.

This means you need to look at the battery first and then follow the red cable (positive cable) down from the battery to the solenoid. Continue to follow it down to the starter.

Learn more about solenoids and testing them with our article “How to Tell Your Lawn Mower Solenoid is Bad“.

Corroded Connections

While you are looking for a loose wire, you need to inspect the connections to make sure they are in good shape. If you find the connections are green or white with a lot of corrosion around it, that can be your problem.

You will need to remove the corroded connection. Before you can do this, you need to disconnect the battery cable.

To disconnect the battery cable, you will need to remove the negative cable from the battery to break the electric circuit.

If you don’t break the circuit and accidentally hit the frame or other metal with your wrench while removing the battery, the battery may arc the wrench and throw sparks which could potentially blow up the battery.

Because of this, you need to always wear safety glasses and gloves when working with your battery. Once the negative cable is removed you can safely remove the positive cable (red) with no worries.

Note: A good way to remember which cable to remove first is to remember the positive cable is the last one off and the first one on.

With the cables removed from the battery, you can take off the rest of the cables that may need to be cleaned or replaced. Cables and connections can be cleaned with a baking soda and water solution.

Mix 4 cups of water with about six rounded tablespoons of baking soda to make a paste. Spread this paste on any corrosion you find. The paste will begin to foam while it cleans the cables.

This can get pretty messy so you may want to rinse the solution off of the cables outdoors. Rinse the paste areas with water.

A wire brush can be used to speed things up. Another solution that works to remove corrosion is cola soda.

Faulty Lawn Mower Charging System

Now that you have your cables taken care of, look into the charging system on the lawn mower. There are not that many charging systems on the market today.

Depending on how big your lawn mower may be, you may have an external alternator like the ones on our vehicle or you may have an internal one under the flywheel. Most lawn mowers will have an internal alternator.

You will need a volt-ohms meter to test the charging system. First, you will need to turn on the meter to make sure it is registered to read 12 volts. Touch the leads to the battery with the engine off.

This is called reading battery voltage. The meter should read between 12.4 volts and 12.8 volts. Some batteries will read higher depending on the rate of charge and the condition of the battery.

Write down the number registered on your volt-ohms meter. Then set the parking brake and start the engine. Now touch the leads to the battery with red on positive and black on negative (-).

Run your mower at about 3/4 throttle and check the meter reading. This reading should register between 13.2 volts to 13.9 volts or higher. When this reading is higher than the initial reading taken while the engine is off then your alternator is charging the battery.

If the reading from the last test doesn’t change from the reading of the first test then you have an issue with your charging system. The cause may be a bad regulator or a bad stator/alternator.

You will have to perform another test or take your lawn mower to a repair shop to determine what part has failed. Some systems are 15 amp while others are 20 amp. The size depends on the manufacturer and engine specifications.

If your cables are not dirty, you can perform the test above on your battery using a volt-ohms meter at any time. Performing this test may also identify a bad connection as well.

Ignition Key is Left On

Leaving your ignition switch on when you get off your mower won’t affect your battery much unless you have an oil light on the dash or leave your 12-volt accessory cord plugged into your port if you have one installed on your lawn mower.

If you do leave the key on and your battery is dead when you go to use your lawn mower, there are a couple of ways to charge your battery. Using a battery charger, hook up the charger to the battery the same way you hook up your volt meter.

The red cable attaches to the positive terminal and the black cable is attached to the negative (-) terminal. This battery charger from Amazon works well.

Charge Your Lawn Mower Battery – Method One :

    Disconnect the battery cables from the battery. Remember: Positive cable (Red ) is the last one off and thefirst one on. Now, if the battery has removable caps check the water level.

If it has 10.1 volts your battery is going to need to sit on a charger for a while. The lower the voltage reading, the longer your battery will need to sit on the charger.

I like to put a very low battery on what is called a “slow bake”. Some battery chargers have different switches on them such as 6 amps, 4 amps, or 2 amps.

Charge Your Lawn Mower Battery – Method Two :

If the reading on your battery isn’t too low and you need to use your mower, place the battery on a charger up to 6 amps for about a half hour to get the battery to about 12 volts.

Once the battery reads 12 volts, remove the charger and start the lawn mower. Keep the throttle up to 3/4 to full throttle and the battery should charge while the mower is running.

Once you are done mowing, check the battery reading to make sure you are in good shape for your next mowing.

Bad Battery

If you find your battery will not charge above 12 volts when you have had it on a charger for at least an hour or two you will need to replace your battery.

Remove the battery from the mower and bring it to an automotive store or lawn and garden store to replace it.

Most stores will charge you a battery core fee if you don’t return an old battery at the time of purchasing a new one. The core charge is usually between 15 and 25.

Most batteries are fully charged when you get them, but you may have to charge the battery if it has been sitting on the shelf for quite a while.

You can place the battery on a battery charger to fully charge it before placing it in your mower or you can jump-start it.

Jump Start a Lawn Mower Battery

Jump-start a lawn mower battery by using a good battery like the one in your car. The battery in a car is 12 volts and the battery in most mowers is 12 volts. Confirm both batteries are 12 volts before attempting to jump-start the mower.

Pull the car up next to the lawn mower and shut off the engine.

Grab your jumper cables and hook up the red positive cables first to the positive terminal on the mower and then to the positive terminal on the car battery.

Then take the black negative (-) cable and place it on the car battery’s negative terminal. Connect the black mower side cable to the frame of the mower.

Set the brake on the lawn mower and start the lawn mower. Let the mower run for a few minutes. Remove the cables and you should be good to run your lawn mower.

Don’t start the car’s engine. The car’s battery will provide enough power to start the mower. Once the mower starts, allow the mower to run for a few minutes.

Remove the cables in the opposite order you installed them. The mower’s alternator will keep the battery charged.

Once again, you can check the condition of the battery with a volt meter to see how the battery is charging. Read this article on jump-starting a mower with a car battery.

Most Batteries Are Good for At Least 3 Years

If you are changing your battery out more often than 3 years, you may have a problem with your battery connections or battery. Most batteries will last at least three years if you properly take care of them.

Keep the battery cables clean and make sure the cables stay tight and the battery is securely held down on the machine. Most batteries fail because of vibration so make sure your battery is sitting securely in the battery tray and isn’t bouncing around the tray while you mow.

The plates in the battery will not take much of a pounding The plates can start to break up inside deteriorating the battery.

Lawn Mower Battery Size

When you are looking at purchasing a new battery you should consider purchasing a battery with at least 300 cold cranking amps (cca) if your deck is run with an electric clutch.

The more cold cranking amps, the stronger the battery. If you don’t have an electric clutch you can get away with using a smaller battery like 250 cca, but bigger is better.

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How to Charge Your Lawn Mower Battery, Power Tools and

Behind every healthy lawn is a healthy lawn mower battery.

Actually, every house project relies on batteries. The drill you used to hang the TV runs on a battery. So does your cordless sander. Batteries take your tools farther than any cord, as long as they’re healthy.

Here’s how to get more life out of your batteries.

Why you should charge your lawn mower battery before spring

You can get years more out of your lawn mower battery, if you follow two simple steps:

Your riding lawn mower comes with the same essential parts a car has. It has an internal combustion chamber, an alternator, a 12-volt lead-acid battery, etc. A riding lawn mower with an especially small engine may have a 6-volt battery. The lawn mower‘s alternator keeps its battery charged. A few hours of mowing recharges it the same way hours of highway driving can keep your car battery mostly charged.

You might not mow the lawn in winter.

That means your lawn mower battery may be totally drained.

Lead-acid batteries drain themselves when they’re not used. That’s bad news. They need to stay charged or they’ll lose the ability to hold electricity. You can try to charge them if that happens. Still, they may be too weak to start an engine.

How much longer will your lawn mower battery last?

Let’s check! Bring your lawn garden battery to any Interstate Batteries ® location for a battery test. Let’s see how many summers your battery has left.

Lithium-ion batteries drain themselves, too, when they’re not in use, just not as quickly. Keeping your rechargeable lawn mower fully charged for months isn’t healthy for the lithium-ion battery inside. Letting it drain to zero percent damages it, too.

Whether your lawn mower uses a lithium-ion battery or a lead-acid battery, charge it in January or February. Charging your lawn mower battery keeps it healthy for years.

  • Leave the battery in the mower. You don’t have to uninstall the battery to charge it.
  • Clean the terminals. Use baking soda and a dry cloth.
  • Check the voltage and amp settings. Your battery’s label will say if it’s lithium-ion or if it contains lead. You’ll also see if it’s 12 volts or 6 volts. Set the charging amps to less than 2 amps if the charger has the settings for it. Charge slowly to protect the battery.
  • Follow the charger’s instructions. The manual gives you any other steps your charger needs.
  • Last-minute safety check. Take off jewelry. Put on gloves and safety glasses. Make sure there’s decent airflow around you.

steps to charge your lawn mower battery

A trickle charger makes it easy to keep your lawn mower battery ready. It charges lead-acid batteries for days at a time to protect the battery’s lifespan. You could leave your lead-acid lawn mower battery on the charger all winter long if it has a float setting. The charger will top off its charge for months and keep it from losing power while it sits on the shelf.

A Smart charger will recharge a lawn mower battery in hours. Adjust the voltage and amp settings if you’re charging a 6-volt lawn mower battery instead of a 12-volt one.

Want to protect your lead-acid lawn mower battery? Keep it 100 percent charged.

Want to protect your lithium-ion lawn mower battery? Leave it 70 percent to 80 percent charged while in storage. Being fully charged or totally depleted hurts lithium-ion batteries. Check the manual for charging instructions.

Zero Turn Battery Always Draining

Need mower power? Start with Interstate ®

We’re the reason the grass is greener. Pick up an Interstate lawn garden battery to power up your lawn mower, clipper or tree trimmer.

The nice part is you can just recharge your lithium-ion lawn mower if it doesn’t start. You’ll never need to jump-start a riding lawn mower with a lithium-ion battery.

Now, you can jump a lawn mower if it has a lead-acid battery. Here’s how.

How you can safely jump-start your lawn mower battery with your car

You can jump your lawn mower with your car. It’s the same steps as a regular jump-start — with three big differences.

  • Turn off the car before connecting cables to your lawn mower. The car’s alternator generates too many amps and can damage the mower’s parts, including the battery. Never jump-start a lawn mower battery from a running car. Don’t even leave the key in the ignition.
  • Protect the positive cable from touching anything but the battery terminals in the car and mower. The positive cable is usually the red one. You’ll connect it first to the mower, then the car. Otherwise you could damage your car battery.
  • Run the mower for at least two hours after disconnecting the cables. John Deere, Ryobi, Cub Cadet — all gas-powered riding lawn mowers have an alternator. Mowing will charge their starting battery.

Jump-starting should be the last resort. Wait if you can. Connect your lawn mower’s battery to a charger. Then do a different home project with your other power tools.

Time to talk about your other power tools.

Tips to make your power tool battery last longer

Take care of your power tool batteries, and your tools will be ready any time you need them.

Lawn & Garden Battery Not Charging. Voltage Regulator. Fast & Easy Fix!

riding, mower, battery, dead, reasons

Power tools run on three different types of batteries:

  • Nickel cadmium or NiCd batteries
  • Nickel-metal hydride or NiMH batteries
  • Lithium-based, including lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries

Now, each battery type needs different care. It’s easy to assume one tip for one battery type will work for all batteries. The truth is each battery type needs something different.

Attention! This is not a drill!

Is your cordless drill turning into a screwdriver? Don’t toss your power tool. Let’s rebuild its battery instead. Available at select Interstate All Battery Center ® locations, we put the power back in your power tools.

You might be reaching for a screwdriver sooner than you expect if you give your cordless drill the wrong kind of TLC.

The right way to care for your NiCd battery

A NiCd battery needs to be run hard. Charge it up and drain it to zero percent every month or two. Then store your NiCd battery when it’s fully drained.

NiCd batteries are one of the few types that like being stored on empty. They also drain themselves quickly when they’re not in use. Don’t bother recharging it if you only used it for two minutes.

Fast charging doesn’t stress a NiCd battery. So put it on the charger right before you run your leaf blower or cordless sander. Then use every bit of energy before putting it back.

Sitting on a charger can damage a NiCd battery. Its insides can crystalize and resist turning back into electricity. That might be why your NiCd battery doesn’t last as long as it used to. A pulse charger can heal your NiCd batteries if you’ve kept it charged too long. You might not get the battery back to perfect health, though.

Instead, keep fast-charging your NiCd battery and draining it to zero.

Exercising it protects the material and gives your cordless power tool batteries a much longer lifespan.

The right way to care for your NiMH battery

A NiMH battery needs to stay out of the heat, to charge with its original charger and to be drained to zero percent every few months.

If you’re using your power drill for a few hours every day, a NiMH battery is perfect. NiMH batteries are handy for power tools. They weigh less, carry more power and last longer between charges than a NiCd battery.

They don’t do well in storage. NiMH batteries will drain themselves. It’s not as quick as a NiCd battery. All the same, you’ll want to use your NiMH-powered drill every other day to get the most life from the battery.

Recharging NiMH batteries uses a special algorithm. Don’t use a NiCd charger on a NiMH battery. It can hurt the battery’s lifespan if not overcharge it. Keep the charger that came with the power tool. You can replace it, but make sure it’s specifically made for NiMH batteries.

Mow power to your lawn mower and weed whacker battery

You just jumped your riding lawn mower? Might be time for a new battery. Go for lawn garden batteries and power tool rebuilds, available at select Interstate All Battery Center ® locations.

NiMH batteries struggle with heat. That’s a problem because a NiMH battery will heat up as it runs power or charges. Be gentle with it. Take it off the charger early if the case feels warm. Also, let it cool down before you recharge after it charges.

You can expect a long, full life out of your NiMH battery by keeping it in use and near its original charger.

The right way to care for your Li-ion battery

Lithium-ion batteries weigh the least and offer the longest life overall, but they’re sensitive to getting dropped, overheated or overcharged. How you protect your phone battery would work on your lithium-ion power drill:

  • Keep it away from heat.
  • Don’t leave it on the charger.
  • Don’t let it ever run down to zero percent.

Store a li-ion battery at 80 percent power, not 100 percent. This battery type doesn’t drain itself that quickly. It’ll hold charge for weeks.

The way to take care of your lithium-ion battery is to charge it before it drops to 20 percent. Keep it charged between 40 percent and 80 percent. You can top it up to 100 percent before you sand the deck or trim the hedges. Just don’t leave it fully charged.

Staying at 100 percent corrodes the active materials, which means the battery can’t hold as much electricity as before. The same happens if it ever drains to zero, but faster. Check the power level while you work. Stop and recharge it if you’re close to 25 percent left.

Take care of your lithium-ion battery, and it’ll keep powering on.

Leaving your power tools on the charger does not help the battery.

Trying to charge a battery that’s already full can damage it. Most battery chargers will stop charging if the battery is full.

The built-in protection means it should be safe to leave it on the charger, right? Not quite.

Only lead-acid batteries like to stay fully charged. The other battery types need exercise. They’ll drain themselves, even if sitting on a shelf. That’s okay, depending on the battery type. All battery types need exercise. Leaving them on the charger robs batteries of that exercise.

A battery on the charger will go through short run-and-recharge cycles. It’ll drain to 99 percent, recharge, drain again and recharge again. Those short cycles hurt most batteries. Instead, your power tool batteries need to keep the electrons flowing.

Consider it another good reason to do those house projects today.

Revive your power tools.

All rechargeable batteries wear down. But you don’t have to throw out your favorite tool! Rebuild its battery at select Interstate All Battery Center ® locations.

How To Jump Start A Lawn Mower Battery – Detailed Steps

Grasping how to jump-start a lawn mower battery well, you will no longer worry about the battery running out or failing. You don’t need any special equipment or training to do it. The process is simple and takes only a few minutes to complete.

riding, mower, battery, dead, reasons

How To Jump Start A Lawn Mower Battery?

There are several different ways to jump start a riding mower. Still, the most effective way involves using a jump pack or the car’s engine as the “battery jump starter”.

With A Portable Jump-Starter

This jump-starter is so-called a portable power jump pack. When this power starter runs along with the jump-started batteries, connect the mower’s positive terminal to the red clip and the battery’s negative terminal (or the mower’s metal frame) to the black clip.

Afterwards, switch off the power pack and then turn on the mower. Once the mower starts, unplug the power pack, remove all the built-in cables, and begin with the black clip.

  • Hook up a trickle charger to the lawnmower batteries if you don’t use them at once.
  • Have the batteries fully charged every one to two months if you have no trickle battery charger available.
  • Check out and clean the battery occasionally to avoid corrosion or cracks in the casing. Don’t try using a bad battery or đead battery. Let them go.
  • Replenish batteries’ water level with distilled water. This way is advisable for a wet battery.
  • Prevent your batteries from failing prematurely by tracking the top harmful reasons.
  • Use the correct battery charger. Incorrect charging may lead to the worst cases: battery damage or battery explosion.
  • Stick to the safety precautions to treat your current battery well and dispose of a bad battery precisely.
  • Follow the manual and protocols to grasp the battery maintenance, charge time, battery label, battery details, safe jumper cables installation, and battery discharges, to name a few. It’s nothing but handy to help users reach the product’s peak performance levels.


There you have it – a well-rounded guide on jump start lawn mower battery. If you find yourself stuck with a dead wet battery, you will soon figure out a jump is more crucial than ever. Jumping a lawn mower isn’t as tricky as other car engine types, yet still, be a life-saver to know.

The process is pretty simple once you have all the right equipment. Stick to the instructions, and you can get back to work sooner rather than later! Hopefully, what we unveiled will help your batteries touch peak performance levels.

How to Test a Lawnmower Battery: a Step-by-Step Guide

Most gasoline walk behind lawnmowers don’t need batteries to start and operate, but riding lawnmowers, on the other hand, require a battery to start them up and run different electric-powered accessories such as headlights, etc. While lawnmower batteries typically last up to 3 years, you might end up with a weak or dead battery if you do not maintain them properly. So if your riding lawn mower or lawn tractor is having difficulties when starting or doesn’t start at all, then there is something wrong with the starting system or the battery charging system, and a good place to start troubleshooting is by testing the battery to see if it is functioning well or not.

How to test a lawnmower battery? Here is how you can do it.

You can use a device called a multimeter to test if your lawnmower battery has gone bad or not. Connect the multimeter to the battery, and if the multimeter shows less than 12 volts, it is time to replace the battery. A healthy battery should show 12 volts or more. If your battery has damage such as cracks, bumps, leaks, or broken terminals, you should also replace it.

If you have been using the same battery in your lawnmower for more than 3 to 5 years then it normally has reached the end of its useful lifespan as well.

If the battery is new and you are experiencing starting issues or if the battery is discharging too quickly then you can test it by following some simple steps explained in this article so keep reading.

Testing a Lawn Mower Battery

There are two ways you can test a lawnmower battery and you can use either one of these methods or a combination of both for testing your lawnmower’s battery. These two battery testing methods are:

riding, mower, battery, dead, reasons
  • Multimeter testing of the battery
  • Visual inspection of the battery

You can perform both of these tests when trying to determine if your lawnmower’s battery is the reason behind the starting issues or not.

Testing a Lawnmower Battery using a Multimeter (Step by Step)

  • Step 1: Locate the battery: Before you start the testing process, you have to locate your lawnmower battery. The best way to do this is by checking the user manual of your lawnmower to find out the exact location of the battery. Usually, riding mowers have the battery secured under the seat, and to access the battery, you have to remove the seat. Or another common place where your riding lawnmower’s battery might be located is inside the hood or engine cover of your mower, behind the engine, and you can easily access it by opening the hood of your mower.
  • Step 2: Turn the switch: Turn the ignition switch to an on position and switch on the lights of your riding lawnmower without starting the engine up. Doing this will get rid of any surface charge that the battery might hold, and you will get a more accurate reading just by leaving the lights of the mower on for one minute before connecting the multimeter.

Note: If your lawnmower’s headlight is dim when turned on without starting the engine, then it means the battery is already low on charge, and you can connect the multimeter without doing this step.

  • Step 3: Set the multimeter: Set the multimeter to a 12-volt setting since most of the riding lawnmower batteries are 12-volt batteries. But it is a good idea to check the user manual and the battery label to make sure the battery of your lawnmower is a 12-volt battery since some mowers might have a 6-volt battery instead of a 12volts. In the case of a 6-volt battery, you will have to set the multimeter to the 6-volt setting before connecting it to the battery.

4) The low water level in the battery: Flooded batteries are still used in many lawnmowers. These types of batteries require you to maintain a certain level of water by regularly adding distilled water to them. There is a water level indicator on the side of the battery, and if you gently move the battery, you can clearly see if the water levels are at the recommended level or not. If the water levels have been low for a long time, it causes an increase in the acid concentration and reduces the ability of the battery to charge itself and hold the charge for normal periods. If you notice that the water level is lower than normal or worse, the battery is completely dry. You will have to refill the battery with distilled water and allow it to trickle charge by connecting it with a battery charger for up to 8 hours. If the battery is not charging after adding water and charging, it might be permanently damaged due to being used with a low water level and replacement.

5) Testing the battery under load: The most effective way to test the health of your lawnmower battery is by testing it under a load to see if the battery can maintain its voltage when a load is applied to it. Normally a mechanic will use a battery load tester to apply a load to the battery to see how it performs under load. Still, you can do a simple load test yourself using the headlights of the lawnmower as a load to check the battery’s health. To perform this simple visual load test, you will need to follow the following steps:

  • Step 1. Turn the ignition key to “on” position without firing up the engine of the lawnmower to allow the headlights of the mower to be turned on.

Note: It is best to do this test at night to be able to see if the headlights dim significantly or not clearly. You can also ask someone to start the engine of the mower while you stand in front of the mower to make sure that you notice any change in the brightness of the headlights.

  • Step 2. Now turn the lawnmower’s engine on and notice any change in the brightness of the headlights. It is normal for the headlights to dim momentarily when you start the engine since the starter uses a significant amount of current to start up the engine. But if the headlights dim or completely turn off, then it is an indicator that the lawnmower battery is weak and it doesn’t have enough current.

Note: If you notice that the lawnmower’s engine is not starting when the headlights are turned on then it is also an indicator that the battery of your mower doesn’t have enough power to handle the load of the headlights and the starter at the same time which is also a sign of a weak battery.

How to charge a lawnmower battery?

It is not uncommon for the lawnmower battery to go dead if the lawnmower hasn’t been used for more than a few weeks but luckily, most of the time, simply charging a dead battery brings it right back to life. Or, if you are going to store your mower for the winter season, then it is a good idea to connect the battery to a Smart charger which will keep it charged and healthy throughout the winter and prevent it from going bad while it stays unused while the mower is stored. Either way, you will have to charge your lawnmower battery at some point, and here is how you can do it the proper way:

  • Step 1: Find a suitable charger: You will require a good quality Smart charger in order to charge a dead battery or to store the battery during winters. The reason why a modern 12-volt Smart charger is a better choice is that it can automatically detect the state of the battery whether it is dead or requires a trickle charge and adjusts its voltage according to the condition of the battery. With an old battery charger, you run the risk of overcharging and damaging the battery because unlike modern Smart chargers these older chargers don’t automatically stop charging when the battery is full. With a fully automatic Smart battery charger, you can leave the battery connected for as long as you want because it will automatically charge the battery when needed and stop charging when it is full.
  • Step 2. Remove the battery’s connections: You can charge the battery of your lawnmower while it is installed inside the lawnmower if you have a socket near the lawnmower to plug in the battery charger. But if you don’t have a socket nearby you will have to remove the battery and connect it with a charger where the socket is available. In order to remove the battery, you will have to remove the battery terminals using a small wrench and you should always remove the negative terminal first and then remove the positive one. After you have removed both terminals from the battery undo the strap that holds the battery in place and you can use the built-in handles to lift and remove the battery.
  • Step 3: Clean the terminals: Ensure that the battery’s terminal posts are clean before you connect the battery charger to the battery. If you notice debris or corrosion on the terminal, you can use baking soda and distilled water to clean the terminals and remove corrosion. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to one tablespoon of water and mix the baking soda properly with water until it becomes thick. Now get some of this mixture on a cloth and rub it on the terminals of the battery and leave it on for a few minutes so that all the corrosion and dirt can be loosened up. Wipe off any loose dirt and corrosion and use small amounts of clean distilled water to rinse off both of the terminals.

Note: Make sure you apply the baking soda cleaning agent to only the terminals and avoid getting it on other parts of the battery to prevent the baking soda from getting into the battery.

  • Step 4: Connect the charger cables: Now you are ready to connect the battery charger to the battery but first, make sure that the battery charger is unplugged from the power socket before you connect the battery to it. When connecting the battery charger to the battery you have to connect the positive cable of the charger to the positive terminal first and then connect the negative cable to the negative terminal.
  • Step 5: Power the charger: Now plug the battery charger into the power outlet. The Smart charger will confirm that the connection is good, and it will automatically start charging the battery. Once the battery is full it will be indicated as full. If you connect the battery to the charger for winter storage, make sure you leave the battery in a dry place.

How to jump-start a lawnmower battery?

If your lawnmower battery has died far away from any power socket or if the battery charger is not available the best way to get the lawnmower going is by jumpstarting it so that you can ride it back to the shed. In order to jump-start a lawnmower, you will need a car with a fully charged 12-volt battery and jumper cables.

  • Step 1: Gain access to the battery: Access the battery of your lawnmower by removing the seat or the lawnmower’s hood to access the dead battery. You will have to connect one end of the positive jumper cable indicated by red color to the car battery’s positive terminal and then connect the other end to the positive terminal of a dead battery. Similarly, you will first have to connect one end of the negative jumper cable to the negative terminal of the car battery and then connect the other end of the negative jumper cable to the lawnmower frame. Make sure you don’t attach the negative terminal to any painted part of the body of the lawnmower, and the negative jumper cable is attached to the frame of the mower in the area away from the fuel tank.

Note: It is important to connect the positive terminals of both batteries first before connecting the negative terminals to avoid causing any damage to the electronic components of the lawnmower and the vehicle.

  • Step 2. Once you have connected the jumper cables using the method explained above start the lawnmower engine and it should start without a problem. Make sure that the car is turned off when you are starting the lawnmower engine while the battery of the car is connected to the lawnmower.

Note: Keep the blades of the lawnmower in off position to allow the engine of the lawnmower to turn on using as little current as possible. Also, make sure that that the headlights of the lawnmower are turned off before you jump start it.

  • Step 3. When you have the lawnmower running, remove the jumper cables in the exact opposite order to when you connected them. For example, remove the negative jumper cable from the negative terminal of the lawnmower frame first, and then remove the negative jumper cable from the negative terminal of the car battery. Similarly, you will have to remove the positive jumper cable from the positive terminal of the mower battery first and then from the car battery’s positive terminal.
  • Step 4. Close the hood of the lawnmower and the car, and if you had to remove the seat of your lawnmower to access the battery, fasten it in place before riding the mower.

Keep in mind that you can only jump-start a 12-volt mower battery because the car battery will always be a 12 volt one. So if you have a 6-volt battery in your lawnmower, you cannot jump-start it, and your only option is to connect it to the battery charger to charge it. Therefore it is important to make sure your lawnmower has a 12-volt battery and if you are unsure, refer to the user manual of your lawnmower to confirm this. Once you have jump-started the lawnmower, ride it to your garage, where you can connect the battery to a battery charger because a battery that has been dead will require a full charge before it can be used again.

You can also use a portable jump-starting power bank to jump-start your lawnmower’s dead battery if you don’t have a car available. When connecting the portable jump starter to the battery, connect the positive cable of the portable jump starter to the positive terminal before connecting the negative cable to the negative one. Then turn on the portable jump starter and turn on the mower engine as well before removing the cables of the jump starter in the opposite order to when you put them on.

Final Remarks

It is a good idea to test a lawnmower’s battery at the start of every mowing season to ensure that it is in good shape so that you don’t run into any battery-related issues. If a lawnmower battery is discharging quickly and dying even after connecting it to the battery charger multiple times, then it means it has lost its ability to hold the charge, and it is best to get a brand new battery for your lawnmower. When getting the new lawnmower battery, make sure that it will fit your lawnmower’s battery mount, and its specifications match the recommended specifications provided in your lawnmower’s manual. Keeping an eye on your lawnmower battery’s condition saves you a lot of trouble from a weak or dead battery.