There’s a really good chance that you’re a lot like me. We mow the lawn for the last time and stick the riding mower in the garage or shop and there it sits all winter long.
I know for me it’s usually because I don’t know it’s going to be the last time I mow the yard. I mean, what if we have a warm spell and the grass takes off again and grows?
Well, the problem is, people like us pull the lawn mower out the following spring or summer, and are surprised when the battery does not start the mower. It’s dead!
Fact is, It’s important to take good care of the lawn mower battery if you want to have it work when you take it out in the spring.
Related: How To Jump A Lawnmower
Storing your lawn mower battery properly will help it last longer through the winter and ensure that it’s ready to go when you need it in the spring.
If you just leave it in the lawn mower, you will drain out the power and can risk it getting wet and ruined. When you check the battery and remove it from the lawn mower before properly storing it for the winter, it will last you for longer without dying.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the steps you can take to properly store your lawn mower battery for the winter to help it last longer without getting ruined.
How To Store a Lawn Mower Battery For Winter
Before you put the lawn mower away for the winter, it is a good idea to work on the battery and make sure that it is not going to get ruined during the cold months. Luckily the process is pretty easy, but make sure that you do it right away. To store your lawn mower battery for the winter, use the following steps:
Remove the Battery From The Lawn Mower
First, we need to take the battery out of the mower. I typically don’t like to keep the battery sitting inside the lawn mower, hooked up to the cables over the winter.
By keeping the battery in the mower, you run the risk of potentially ruining or at least having it drain completely dead.
You need to remove the battery and store it properly, usually off the ground, to ensure that it will last and hold the charge better. You can put the battery back into the mower when you need it in the spring.
You can easily reach the battery to remove it by opening up the hood of the mower. Often times the batter is visible and easily accessible. If not, use a screwdriver or a wrench to remove any of the panels, shrouds, or covers away from the battery.
Disconnect the wire from the negative terminal first. This wire is the black one which correlates with the (-) symbol on the battery. Use a wrench to loosen the nut or the bolt that’s holding the cable onto the battery terminal. Take caution so the cable is not able to touch the metal.
When that is done, it is time to use the same steps to disconnect the red or the positive cable. Undo the nuts or bolts that are securing the battery down or you can clamp and move the hold-down out of the way here.
Now reach into the battery compartment and lift out the battery. Some lawn mower batteries will have a lifting strap. If you can find this, grasp it with one hand while using the other hand to lift up the battery from the mower. Set the battery onto a workbench or a sturdy table.
Clean the Battery
Before you put the lawn mower battery away for the winter, it’s important to clean the dirt and grime off the battery.
A solution of ¼ cup of baking soda dissolved into 6 quarts of water is a good solution to start with.
Soak a cloth with the solution and wipe down all the outside parts of the battery. You can also use a soft bristle brush that is soaked in the solution to help scrub the top of the battery.
While you do this, make sure you don’t get any of the solution inside the battery. Allow the battery to stand for at least five minutes to help neutralize the acid residue. You can then wet another clean cloth with plain clean water and wipe down the outside of the battery completely. Wipe it down well.
Check Battery Fluid Levels
Once the battery has some time to dry it’s time to check the fluid level of the battery, which is a mixture of sulfuric acid and distilled water.
Do this by taking the battery caps off and look into the reservoir. You should notice that the fluid is fully covering the internal battery plates.
If the fluid levels need to be brought up a little, simply add a small amount of distilled water. Never use the tap water.
If you have a sealed battery, then you don’t need to worry about checking battery fluid levels. Sealed batteries do not have any removable caps so you will not be able to check these fluid levels.
Charge The Battery
Now we need to bring out a12V battery charger and charge the lawn mower battery. Connect the charger to the battery by adding the clip of the positive cable over to the positive post of the battery. (Positive cables and terminals are red. You should be able to distinguish this with the word “pos” or the plus sign.
Then go ahead and connect the negative cable to the other terminal. Again, these are the black wires and the negative terminal has the (-).
Plug in your charger and allow it to fully charge the battery overnight. If your charger comes with an amp meter, note the position of the meter’s needle when the charging gets started. You’ll find that the battery is fully charged when you see the needle drops to about half the initial rate.
For example, if the initial charging rate is at 12 amps, the battery is going to be fully charged when the needle gets to 6 amps. You can then disconnect the battery from the charger.
Store the Battery in a Dry Location
Now that the lawn mower battery is clean and fully charged, its time to store it for the winter months.
Find a dry location that is up off of the floor. If you can, place the battery in a plastic tote, even though its’ not necessary, I still like to believe the battery stores better this way.
Place the battery or the plastic tote up on the shelf, which will be it’s new home for the winter.
Checking Your Lawn Mower Battery in the Spring
The steps above will help you to get the battery ready for a long winter. But what about when it’s time to take it out and put it to work in the spring?
Chances are that you will need to put the charger back on it just to top it off. This isn’t always the case, but I’ve found that there’s some degree of power drainage during the winter.
If you find that the battery is completely drained, then it might be time to just buy a new battery for your lawn mower.
Once charged, give the battery a once over. If you see any dirt, grime or rust on the terminals, clean them off. This should be fairly simple since the battery has already been cleaned before you stored it.
If you need to, you can use the same baking soda regimen that we talked about before to help get it cleaned up and nice and neat before you put it back into the lawn mower.
Finally, it’s time to put the battery back into the lawn mower. Be sure that you attach the positive wire (red with +) to the positive terminal and the black wire to the negative terminal.
Tighten the clamps well to ensure optimum contact, and that’s it! Time to get to work!