How To Jump Start a Riding Lawn Mower with a Car

Having a lush lawn is a dream of many homeowners who have a yard. It presents a nice view when you want to appreciate your yard, and having a lawnmower is essential if you want a well-maintained lawn. Unfortunately, one widespread complaint from lawnmower owners is that they cannot start their lawnmowers because of their batteries. 

It can be pretty frustrating to have already set up the tools needed and cleared your schedule for the day only to discover that the battery’s down. If you have a car, the good news is that all hope isn’t lost.

To jumpstart a riding lawn mower, you first have to find out why the battery won’t start the lawnmower, then be sure it’s safe to use a car battery to jump start it. Connect the jumper cables accordingly, and you’re set to jumpstart your riding lawnmower.

A Riding Lawn Mower

Before we dive in, it’s essential to ensure we’re talking about the same lawnmower in this article. A push lawn mower is a good option when the yard in question covers a tiny expanse of land. A large area may be too difficult or tiring to mow using a push lawnmower, and this is where using a riding lawnmower comes into play.

A riding lawnmower is defined as a lawnmower where the operator sits upon the lawnmower, unlike a push lawnmower. According to this definition, riding lawn mowers or riding mowers cover garden tractors, lawn tractors, and riding lawnmowers. The average garden tractor or lawn tractor works best for vast expanses, like football fields or golf courses, and has its cutting deck in the middle. 

a riding lawn mower

A riding lawn mower is a lawnmower that is mounted upon by the operator and has the cutting deck placed in front of the vehicle. The reason is increased maneuverability, which is much needed in homes with large yards containing trees and stones. Compared with lawn tractors, they are usually smaller, sometimes come with snow throwers, and are much cheaper than lawn tractors.

For the sake of this article, we’ll be dealing specifically with riding lawn mowers. If the descriptions given above fit your lawnmower, let’s go on.

Why the battery Won’t Start

Now that the specific lawnmower is established, several reasons could be why the battery of a riding lawn mower may not start the vehicle. You must be sure of what’s wrong with starting your engine before even attempting to jumpstart your engine.

A Low or a Dead Battery

It’s possible that the battery of a riding lawn mower is dead, or it’s low. If, while starting the lawnmower, you hear an attempt to crank the engine but to no avail, with a reduction in intensity each time, most likely the battery is low. If, while trying to start the lawnmower, all that’s heard are clicking sounds, the problem is most likely a dead battery.

One way to be sure if your battery is dead or just low is to charge the battery and try again. If, after charging the battery for an extended period, it still cannot start your engine, you most likely have a dead battery. If your battery starts the vehicle after several trials, then your battery is bad and should be changed. You may also be suspecting a faulty alternator. Make sure to confirm with an expert.

A Bad Alternator

An alternator helps your lawnmower battery charge once the engine is up and running. When your engine is running, it uses an Alternating Current (AC), and your battery dissipates energy using a Direct Current (DC). An alternator converts AC to DC so the battery can charge once the engine is up and running. 

If the alternator isn’t functioning well, you’ll be using your battery every time to start the engine without it being charged. If your riding lawn mower also has several functions, like a snow-thrower, this would be using the battery. A faulty alternator means that your battery would dissipate energy without being charged. Over time the battery loses its charge.

If you suspect a bad alternator, consider getting it changed. If, after changing the alternator, the battery doesn’t still retain charge, you probably have a bad battery that needs to be replaced.

Check Your Spark Plugs

Sometimes the problem might not be with the battery or its ability to charge; the problem could be with the spark plugs. In starting your lawnmower engine, the battery is necessary to create an electrical spark from your spark plugs. This ignites the combustion needed to start and keep the combustion engine running (a gas-powered engine runs using a combustion engine). 

If the spark plugs are faulty, it doesn’t matter if you have a good battery or even try to jumpstart your vehicle; it won’t start. 

Should A Riding Lawn Mower Be Jump Started With a Car Battery?

Do not attempt to jumpstart an electric-powered riding lawnmower! You’ll spoil the battery! If you’re using an electric-powered riding lawnmower and it won’t start, charge it and try again. If it doesn’t work after charging or refuses to charge, consult a professional and consider getting a new battery.

The battery mentioned in this article refers to the battery for a gas-powered riding lawnmower. The battery, in this case, is required to create a spark.

Consult your owner’s manual before doing anything concerning your lawnmower battery; this cannot be overemphasized. Most riding lawn mowers use a 12-Volt (12V) battery, similar to the batteries used by cars. This means it’s safe to jumpstart your riding lawnmower battery with your car battery.

Safety First

Assuming the situation doesn’t permit you to charge the battery, jumpstarting the battery of your riding lawnmower is a viable option. Do not attempt to do it if you do not know how to jumpstart a battery. Wrongly attaching the cables could potentially damage your battery and injure you. If you have to do it, make sure to follow the instructions on how to jumpstart your battery and follow the instructions to the letter.

Ensure that no part of the clamp you’re using touches the frame of your lawnmower if it’s metal. Your body doesn’t need those 12-Volts, so let’s make sure you don’t get to experience it. Also, make sure the car’s engine is switched off. The alternator of your lawnmower should be enough to charge your battery once the lawnmower is running; leaving the car engine on would incorporate the alternator of your car’s engine as well.

Double-check the voltage of your car battery with the voltage of your lawnmower. If they aren’t the same, don’t attempt to jumpstart. You can even ruin the battery of your lawnmower or the battery of your car.

How to Jumpstart a Riding Lawn Mower With a Car Battery

Once you’re sure it’s safe enough for you to jumpstart your lawnmower battery, all you need are appropriate jumper cables with clamps. Identify the positive and negative terminals on both batteries. Place one clamp of one cable to the positive terminal of your car battery, and connect the second clamp of the same cable to the positive terminal of your lawn mower battery. Repeat the same process with the second cable on the negative terminals of both batteries.

Remember to make sure the car engine is turned off and that the exposed aspect of the clamp is not in contact with the body of the riding lawnmower. Kick-start the engine, and that’s it. You should be able to disconnect your car battery from the lawnmower batter as soon as the lawnmower is up and running. 

Remove the clamps carefully. Avoid short-circuiting your battery while removing the cables.

Final Thoughts

Being unable to start your engine can be an annoying menace. Many things can cause this for riding lawnmowers, but most times, the problem is from the battery. If you’re a car user, you may have, at one point or the other, had to jumpstart your car using another car battery. You can do the same with your lawnmower battery.

Before you jumpstart your lawnmower using your car battery, it’s essential to know if your battery is the leading cause of the problem. It’s also good to try charging the battery to see if that would work. It’s equally important to know if you should jumpstart your battery or not! 

If the way forward is to jumpstart, it’s not a hassle once you have the right equipment and the skillset. Check to be sure both batteries are compatible, ensure the exposed aspect of the clamps is not in contact with any metal part of the lawnmower, and connect the cables correctly. Make sure the car engine is switched off, and start your lawnmower engine. Remove the jumper cables correctly once the lawnmower engine is up and running.

Always remember that safety comes first. Seek professional help if you’re inexperienced or feel you can’t jumpstart your riding lawnmower yourself.

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