Putt-Putting Along: When to Change Your Lawnmower Battery

Spring is a month away, which means equipment that’s been sitting in your garage is about to (finally) get some use.

Unless you’re dedicated to moving old-school push mowers across your yard, many folks now own a battery-powered machine. )It might be a push-style or a ride-along model). The battery is at the heart of the machine. Without its power, you aren’t going anywhere. When your putt-putting is slowing down, it’s time to see if the lawn mower battery is the problem.

Give it a Charge

Begin with the simplest task of all: charge the lawn mower battery. The charger and battery shouldn’t have any unusual disconnects or reactions during the 8-hour process, states Briggs & Stratton. After a full charge, run the mower in its normal fashion. It shouldn’t hesitate at all.

If the mower fails to activate or only runs for a short period of time, the main cause is typically the battery. Changing battery units at this point will verify your findings. The swap is usually the easiest way to fix a power problem.

Check for Corrosion

Your battery may be declining, but it’s due to neglected maintenance. Take a look at the battery terminals. If there’s a cloud of ashy residue, there’s corrosion hindering your power source. Clean the residue off with a mixture of baking soda and water. Scrub the area with a wire brush until you release the buildup.

Try the battery again. Whether the battery is on push mowers or ride-along models, cleaning the corrosion away may bring new life to the power source. It doesn’t necessarily need to be swapped out just yet. You’ll save money on batteries as a result.

Examine the Interlock

Follow these steps to see if the starter interlock is impeding your good battery’s operations:

  • Locate the interlock under the seat or within the handle. Refer to the owner’s manual if necessary.
  • Verify if the interlock’s contacts are damaged or not making connection with the starter motor.
  • Test the mower with the interlock in good condition.
  • A normal startup means the battery is good.
  • Replace the battery if there’s still no power.

Look at the Starter Relay

Follow the wire connections from the battery and into the starter motor. Along this pathway is the relay. Pitting or metal decline along the relay is possible when electricity arcs within the circuit. Replacing the damaged parts is necessary. The battery itself may still be good. Some people err on the side of caution by swapping it out anyway. A faulty battery might contribute to arcing at some point along the circuit’s wiring.

Pull out the Multimeter

When all else fails, pull out the multimeter. If it’s fully charged, it should reflect around 12.5 or 12.6 volts. Declining batteries might reflect voltages lower than 8 volts. Don’t be surprised if you see around 10 volts for a moderately used battery. It still has enough juice to power the mower.

Remember that these voltages are without loads. When the battery is under the mower’s electrical load, the voltage will always reflect a lower value than the standard numbers.

Verify the Cable Connections

Changing battery units may not be necessary if you take a close look at the battery connections. Both push-style and ride-along mowers produce a lot of vibrations. Those connections are tight on the battery, but they can shimmy off over time.

Verify that the connections are tight by wiggling them. Start with the ground connection first. Repeat with the positive side. Solid connections add up to a reliable battery until it’s legitimately drained, states Cub Cadet.

Contact Northeast Battery with any of your lawnmower questions. There are many parts that make up the perfect mower. One or more components can be the culprits – don’t let your battery be one.