will a lawnmower run with a dead battery

Can a Riding Lawn Mower Run Without A Battery?

A riding lawn mower is a great tool for larger gardens but since these are typically more substantial than a push mower, they operate in a different way. One component of the riding mower is the battery, but is this essential and what happens if it dies? Will a lawn mower run with a dead battery? Let’s find out.

There are a lot of things on a riding lawn mower that need a battery to work. For example, your mower may have headlights to make it easier to see in low light and these will not operate on the fuel system.

If you want your riding mower to keep running, it is imperative that the battery remains charged at all times.

Much like other rechargeable batteries, the lawn mower battery charging system is easy and quick to use. Typically, the lawn mower battery will be located under the seat of the mower, however, this may vary in some models. But your user manual will tell you where to find the battery. It is then merely a matter of plugging it into a power source and allowing the juice to flow.

The length of time that it takes to charge your battery will depend on the model. There are some ride on lawn mowers that will charge in just a few hours, whereas others could take up to a day.

How Long Does A Lawn Mower Battery Last?

When you invest in a riding lawn mower, you are going to want a piece of equipment that is going to stand the test of time. After all, these are now cheap machines and the maintenance is significant.

One of the first things that new owners wonder is how long a lawn mower battery lasts and the good news is that, provided you look after it, your riding mower battery should see you through at least three years.

But one of the most common mistakes that homeowners make is not taking good care of their battery. If this is the case, you may store your mower away for the winter without removing the battery or trickle charging it, only to find that it has completely given up. This can be true even of brand new batteries.

Symptoms Of A Bad Lawn Mower Battery

There are a lot of things to think about when operating a riding mower. Many people think that the fuel system is the only important factor but if the battery isn’t functioning correctly, this could mean that further damage ensues. In some cases the starter just needs to be replaced.

But quite often you may find yourself scratching your head and asking yourself what keeps draining my lawn mower battery?

If your lawn mower battery is dead then you should charge it to make sure that the mower operates to its best. If you think that there is an issue with the battery, it is best to give it a decent charge of at least eight hours. But even when you keep your battery charged you may notice problems that indicate a replacement is needed.

Wiring Issues

One of the most common problems when it comes to a riding lawn mower battery is that the connections are loose. If you have looked at how to charge a lawn mower battery and this hasn’t improved its performance, there could be a chance that the wiring is loose.

Fortunately, this is a relatively easy problem to solve. Any electrical system relies heavily on strong connections and tightening any loose wires could be the answer to your problem.


If you hear a clicking sound when you pull the start cord or turn the key, this could signal a problem with the battery. However, this is often overlooked and many people begin investigating other systems within the mower to try and solve the problem.

In this case, the problem is that, as the motor tries to take power from the battery, not enough juice is being delivered, and this makes it struggle. Once this problem begins, there isn’t a lot you can do other than replace the battery. When you do this, be sure to perform regular maintenance to avoid the issue happening again in the future. We will discuss how to maintain your battery later in this article.

Low Voltage

A riding mower typically needs to run at 12 volts, once the battery gets much lower than this, it is time to replace it. You can measure the voltage using a multimeter and if this reads any lower than 11.5 volts, you will need to switch up the battery.

Water Level

Riding mowers often rely on a water reservoir for the battery and in some cases, this can run low. If it is not full then the battery cannot perform optimally. Simply refilling this is often enough to solve your problems.

How To Keep The Battery In Good Condition

One of the most important things in terms of lawn mower battery condition is to ensure that you perform regular maintenance. Of course, nothing lasts forever, but there are ways that you can keep your battery in better condition for longer.

Many people will ask how long does a lawn mower battery last and the answer to this question will vary depending on how well you take care of it. It is important to regularly test the function of your battery. While this may not prolong its life, it will certainly prevent you from having a nasty surprise in the middle of a mow.

Aside from this, there are many other things you can do to keep your battery in tip top condition.

  • Always make sure that the mower and battery system are clean. Since your lawn mower will be used outside, it is inevitable that dirt and debris will build up on all parts, including the battery. Before each charge, take a look at the battery and remove any corrosion or dirt before plugging it in.
  • Batteries will deplete over time if they are not kept charged. For this reason it is important to make sure that your battery is charged regularly. If you will not be using the battery for some time, for example, over the winter months, then you can use a battery float. This remains connected to the battery and will sense when the charge is running low, giving it a boost.
  • Over time, parts of the lawn mower will decrease in quality and may need replacing. In order to make sure that the battery remains in good condition, it is important to keep and eye on the lawn mower alternator. If this needs replacing, you should make sure to find one with the right voltage.

How To Jumpstart A Lawn Mower

If your lawn mower battery is dead then there isn’t much you can do other than charge it, right? The good news is that it is possible to use the power from another battery to get it doing but the question is, how to jump start a lawn mower in the first place?

  • You will first need to expose the battery so remove any covers before you start.
  • Now take the positive jumper cable and attach one end to the positive post of the battery that you will be drawing power from. The positive cable will be marked with either a plus sign or the word ‘pos’ as well as having red markings.
  • Next, connect the other end of this cable to the positive post of the lawn mower battery.
  • You will not need to connect the negative cable which is marked with black and will have a minus sign or the word ‘neg’ on it. It is vital that you always connect this after the positive cable and not the other way around.
  • Connect one end to the negative post on the good battery but connect the other end to a metal part of the engine. At this point, there may be a small spark but this is nothing to worry about and totally normal.
  • Next, you should start the mower engine. When it has successfully fired up, you can begin removing the cables and this should be done in the reverse order.


So, will a lawn mower run with a dead battery? You may be able to operate the lawn mower to a degree since the battery is responsible for features such as the headlights. However, running your lawn mower with an insufficiently charged battery could serve to damage other parts leading to costly maintenance. It is important to keep your battery in good condition to prolong its life.

Andrew Fisher

Andrew Fisher

Andrew is a dedicated father of three who really takes pride in his lawn and garden. You'll find Andrew behind the scenes of almost everything Edge Your Lawn produces. When he's not helping readers find all the information they need, he's in his backyard working on his lawn and garden landscaping. This year he hopes to build an outdoor deck and sort out his veg patches.

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