Mower battery care & maintenance advice from BBL Batteries
If you’re having trouble keeping your lawn mower battery charged, it is in your best interest to understand when you need to replace it with a new one.
This is a common problem often experienced during colder weather. The battery is an often a neglected piece of equipment in terms of maintenance. If when trying to start your mower the electric start is not engaging, this is likely be a battery-related issue. It’s important to understand ‘proper’ battery storage and also how to maintain your battery. Please read below for further information.
The U.K. experiences extended periods of low temperatures in the winter months. Cold temperatures will negatively affect the properties of the battery acid if it sits unused. In fact, all batteries will perform poorly in cold weather conditions. If the temperature falls below freezing frequently enough you will need to properly store the battery to maximise battery life.
Unless you use your mower all year round, you will need to take appropriate care in storing your battery during the winter months. The battery should be stored in a dry area of the garage or storage shed, which should be fine as long as the temperature doesn’t drop below freezing. If it does then consider a space that will not.
Sulphation occurs when the molecules in the electrolyte (battery acid) become so discharged they start to build up on the positive plates inside your battery. As the sulphation build up coats the plates, you will see decreased performance. Eventually, the coated plates will be nearly or completely covered and the battery will become useless or will no longer hold a charge and will in turn not start the equipment.
Seek further advice or replace your battery…
- If the battery case is cracked or leaking
- If the battery case is bulging – often due to storing / operating at too hot a temperature, or over charging
- If the terminals are damaged in any way, or corroded
- If the electrolyte level is low –plates exposed to air will quickly sulphate
- If the battery was charged incorrectly – some older technology, non-intelligent chargers may lead to this
- If the battery no longer holds a charge – usually due to sulphation after prolonged disuse (lack of maintenance)
Battery cables and terminals
The battery cables and terminals should be kept clean from corrosion. To clean them, use a hard wire brush. Petroleum jelly is particularly effective in protecting the terminals and eyelets. A good coating should create a good barrier and help to prevent future corrosion. It’s important that when the cables are reconnected they are tight with the terminals, as this can be another common starting issue. If the cables have excessive wear or have been fully corroded, they will need to be replaced.
The greater the battery’s charge, the lower the freezing point (and vice-versa). Batteries will self-discharge due to the cold. The best method to keep your battery in fine working order and maximise its life is to use an intelligent battery charger. At the end of the season remove the battery and connect to a modern, intelligent charger which will keep your battery from sulphating and will ensure it is in optimum condition when you need it next. Always ensure the battery voltage is back up to a full charge before its use in the spring. If charging the battery on the mower, always remember to turn the ignition key to OFF position; if left turned in the ON position for an extended period of time, the battery will fully discharge.
Please contact the battery experts at you nearest BBL Branch to find out more on mower battery care and maintenance. BBL also supply a full range of premium quality mower batteries and intelligent chargers.