Riding lawnmowers, also known as lawn tractors, need a battery to turn over the engine and power other components, such as headlights and electric clutches. So, how long does a lawn mower battery last?
A lawn mower battery can last between 3 to 5 years under good care. Extended periods of no use and extreme temperatures can cause a lawn mower battery to die. Replacement should be done when the capacity drops to 70%.
Although rated 12 volts, a riding lawn mower battery is usually smaller than the standard size. It is usually located under the seat or the hood. Lawn tractors have a charging system that works like alternators in automobiles.
However, after long storage, especially during winter, a lawn mower battery will lose its charge, and you will have to recharge it before starting your mower in spring. Alternatively, you may jumpstart the lawn mower battery with a car.
How long does a riding lawn mower battery last?
It takes about 3 to 5 years for a riding lawnmower battery to start deteriorating. Its capacity will keep declining, and the battery won’t be useful when it goes below 50%. The only option is to replace it.
An extended period of no use and extreme temperatures can reduce a battery’s shell life. Most lawn mower batteries die after the longer winter period. If you jumpstart or charge the battery but your riding lawn mower won’t start, then it’s likely the battery is completely dead.
Before you think of replacing the mower’s battery, ensure everything else is working. Check if there is fresh fuel in the tank, the spark plug is in good condition, and the air filters are not dirty or clogged.
Why does a lawn mower battery keep dying?
A lawn mower may keep dying as a result of the following:
1. Extreme temperatures
Extremely cold or hot temperatures are the main reason lead acid batteries die. Cold weather slows down important chemical reactions in the battery. Studies have shown that at 32°F, a car’s battery loses about 35% of its strength. And at 0°F, it loses up to 60% of its strength.
Hot weather is also a great threat to your lead acid battery. A battery loses most of its important liquids in high temperatures through evaporation. Hot temperature also accelerates the rate of corrosion. This means your lawn mower battery is not safe in hot summer conditions.
2. Poor battery maintenance
Like your lawn mower engine, the battery needs great care and maintenance to remain in good condition. When you tune up your lawn mower, remember to check your battery. Ensure it has enough water, the terminals are clean, and no liquid or gas is leaking from the battery.
Over time you will notice a powdery substance on the battery terminals. This corrosion forms when cables are loosely connected on the terminals or when leaking gases from the battery react with the terminals.
The deposits interfere with charging and the starter motor’s ability to draw current from the battery.
Proper battery maintenance involves cleaning its terminals with a solution of baking soda. You need to tighten loose cables on the battery terminals and fix any damage causing internal gases to escape and react with the terminals.
3. Components left on
Headlights and other accessories left on can drain the battery overnight. Most people forget to completely turn off everything before shutting off the engine. Double-check everything or disconnect battery cables when parking your lawn mower after use.
4. A problem with the charging system
An alternator and a voltage regulator are part of the battery charging system in a riding mower. If one of the parts fails, your battery will not be properly charged. You will have a problem starting the lawn mower or using some features.
5. Overcharging a battery
Using the wrong charger can lead to battery overcharging. This weakens the battery’s ability to store charge and creates a risk of permanent damage to the battery or personal injuries from boiling toxic fumes or battery explosion.
How to ensure that your battery lasts longer
The following are helpful tips for elongating your battery’s life.
- Keep the battery casing and terminals clean. Use a solution of baking soda and a wire brush to scrub off any corrosion on the terminals, and wipe the casing with a soapy solution.
- Ensure that your battery is getting charged as required. The terminals must be clean, and the charging system must be working.
- Disconnect and remove the battery when storing your lawn mower for longer.
- Use an external charger to recharge the battery after winter before connecting it back to your lawn mower in spring.
- Replace the battery after its shell life has ended. There is nothing that can revive a battery that has completely died.
A battery is an important part of a riding lawn mower. Under good care, the battery can last for three to five years. Keeping the battery clean, charging appropriately, and storing it a cool dry makes it last longer.