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Why Do Lawn Mowers Have Headlights Anyway (Riding and Push Mowers)?

why lawn tractors have headlights

Why Do Lawn Mowers Have Headlights?

We’ve all been in that situation of watching the late local news and then going out to mow the lawn, right? Yeah, not exactly but that begs the question of why do lawn mowers have headlights anyways? Mowing isn’t exactly a fashionable nighttime event.

Not only would mowing your lawn at night be dangerous (ruts, rocks, bumps, critters), but it also wouldn’t exactly endear you to your neighbors who are trying to wind down for the evening. Back to the dangerous part though, nighttime dew forming on your grass makes it very slippery, and compounding that with the safety risks of lower visibility is a recipe for disaster. Plus, the wet grass is also going to clog your mower deck much faster.

(Not saying there wouldn’t be some benefits to evening cutting however. The cooler weather helps the roots retain moisture and gives the blades a whole night to recover before heat and UV rays come back to wreak havoc the next day).

Back to the original question though, what’s up with these mower headlights?

Do Mowers Really Have Headlights?

Headlights are standard on all modern tractor and zero turn lawn mowers. Tractor mowers have front facing lights, but some zero turn models have front facing as well as side running lights because of the fast rotations those units make.

Lawn mower headlights don’t run all the time, they are there just in case they are needed. Most manufacturers have a knob or switch to turn the lights on and off, while others provide access through an extra option on the ignition switch. A lot of riding lawn mower headlights run on AC current as they are connected to the alternator, therefore they won’t drain the battery if left on.

As for push mowers, headlights aren’t necessarily always a factory option. That also seems kind of weird that they aren’t standard, considering even a vacuum cleaner has lights. That being said, homeowners adding aftermarket lighting to a push (or riding) mower is a very common project.

Additional lights for a riding mower can be wired into the battery, but you don’t need to be that elaborate on a push mower. Something as simple as solar lights taped to the deck or even flashlights fastened with a bungee cord will provide the light you need.

Why are the Headlights There?

You could always illuminate your mowers so that neighbors would mistake them for a landed UFO, but we still haven’t touched on why you would want to? Ultimately the best answer is, why not?

We all know that mowing after dark in residential areas probably violates local noise ordinances, but what about in the country when there are no neighbors for miles around? When farmers are busy in the fields all day long, sometimes the night is the only time to get the lawn mowed. The same goes for properties such as golf courses that are crowded with people during the day and the only time available to cut is after hours.

Sure it seems dangerous to cut grass at night, but isn’t it just as big of a risk to mow during the day in climates that reach 100+ degrees in the afternoon? Headlights are useful for early morning and early evening mowing when the temperatures are more manageable, but the visibility not as good. 

Another thing to consider is that just because a lawn mower has a headlight doesn’t necessarily mean you’re always going to be out cutting your grass at 10 PM. We’ve all pushed it a bit to get in just a few more swipes of the lawn after dusk, especially when the job is almost done. That’s especially true later in the season when the days get shorter – or even when dark clouds and inclement weather starts rolling in and decreases visibility.

Headlights are also useful for storage and transport situations. Some extra light never hurts when pulling into an unlit shed at night, or loading up a trailer early in the morning. There are also non-mowing situations where having a headlight is a nice just-in-case feature, such as being in a parade or when hauling a trailer full of wood to the bonfire.

Why Do Lawnmowers Have Headlights Summary?

The old saying “better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it” is the best way to describe why lawn mowers have headlights. Mower manufacturers have no idea how each and every consumer is going to use their product, so why not add as many features as possible to appease the widest variety of utilizations?

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