How To Charge a Lawn Mower Battery
Lawn mowers are essential pieces of equipment for many homeowners and renters. Still, unless you live in a tropical or subtropical climate, you likely park your mower for months at a time. When you do, you risk a dead battery. After all, while lawn mower batteries are effective at holding a charge, they drain over time. With a lawn mower battery charger and a bit of planning, you can be certain your mower is ready to go when the grass starts to grow.
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When To Charge Your Mower’s Battery
You may drive your mower for months without ever having to charge it. Still, there are some common times when you should hook your battery to a charger to ensure it has full juice. Here are some instances when you may need to charge your riding mower:
- Before starting the mower for the first time early in the spring
- Before storing your mower for the cold winter months
- Before mowing if the battery is unexpectedly dead for some reason
Said another way, you likely do not need to charge your mower’s battery routinely. Instead, you probably only need to connect the charger when your battery is unresponsive, or you are planning for startup or storage.
The Problem With Older Battery Chargers
Before you charge your lawn tractor’s battery, you should understand just how far battery chargers have come. In the past, chargers often lacked the ability to stop overcharging. The consequence of an overcharged battery is the release of toxic gasses from the power source.
That is no longer a concern. Today’s battery chargers have built-in systems to prevent overcharging. As such, you can likely hook up your battery charger and forget about it. When you return, even after a number of hours, you should not have to worry about noxious gases harming either you or the natural environment.
Features of Modern Battery Chargers
As mentioned, if you invest in a modern lawn tractor battery charger, you likely do not have to worry about many of the health hazards that are common with older chargers. Also, depending on the model you select, you can choose a variety of innovative features, including the following:
- Multiple mode settings, including slow charge, fast charge and jumpstart
- Hookup failsafe to prevent improper connections
- Integrated charging timer
- Automatic shutoff
- Clamps for multiple types of connections
- Float modes for optimal charging
- Controlled amp rates
You should note, however, that not all chargers on the market today come with all the above features. If you are looking to extend the life of your lawn tractor’s battery, though, investing in a charger that has many of these options probably makes sense.
How to Charge a Lawn Mower Battery
Before you charge your mower’s battery, you must be certain you are using the correct charger. Most lawn tractors made after 1980 have a 12-volt battery. If your mower does, be sure you connect a 12-volt charger. Note, though, some chargers allow you to toggle between 12-volt and 6-volt settings. If that is the case, be sure you opt for the setting that matches your battery’s voltage.
Additionally, you want to use a charger with an output of 10 amps or fewer to charge your lawn tractor’s battery. If you use one with a greater output, you risk damaging your mower’s battery.
If you are wondering how to charge a lawn mower battery, you should know that you do not need to remove your mower’s battery before charging it. Instead, leave your battery in place and follow these eight steps:
1. Safety First
Put on protective clothing, including gloves, and safety glasses.
2. Disconnect the Charger
Unplug the battery charger from the electrical outlet.
3. Find the Battery
Access the mower’s battery. On most lawn tractors, the battery lives beneath the seat. If you are having trouble locating your mower’s battery, consult its operator’s manual.
4. Connect the Positive Side First
Connect the red positive charging cable to the red positive battery terminal.
5. Connect the Negative Side Second
Connect the black negative charging cable to the black negative battery terminal.
6. Match Voltage Between the Mower and Charger
Toggle the charger’s voltage setting to match your mower’s battery’s voltage. Again, for most mowers made after 1980, the 12-vote option is the correct setting.
7. Plug in the Charger
Plug the battery charger into an electrical outlet.
Wait until the battery has a full charge before disconnecting the charger.
If you are using a 10-amp charger, your mower’s battery should charge in approximately one hour. Of course, connecting the battery to a lawn mower battery charger that has fewer amps may extend charging time.