Riding Lawn Mower Repair: Replacing A Riding Lawn Mower Battery

Tips on how to replace batteries for riding lawn mowers.

Because a battery only requires a minimal amount of maintenance and a periodic cleaning, it is often overlooked at other times. But, the battery in your riding lawn mower is a necessity. As long as it does its job and cranks the engine over, you probably don't give it much thought. Until one day when you turn the key, and you either hear a "click - click", a low whine, or no sound at all.

If the battery is dead because the key was left on inadvertently, for example, or maybe because the cables are corroded, you can easily hook up cables and give it a jump start back to life. If, however, the battery won't take a charge or it is damaged, then you will need to replace it with a new one.

There are not too many things that can go wrong with a battery, other than just wearing out. Sometimes, the hard plastic casing that holds the parts of the battery in your riding lawn mower together can develop a leak. Once it leaks, the acid can seep out, and the only solution is to replace the battery. In order to replace the battery in your riding lawn mower, you will first need to locate it. It's probably in a rectangular metal box holder with a tie down strap or a holding bar over it. Remove the tie down strap or unscrew or unbolt the holding bar and move it aside.

Next, make sure that the key in your riding lawn mower is switched to the "off" position. Also, make sure the lights and any other electrical devices are off. Then, check the positive and the negative terminals on the battery. If they are badly corroded, the ends of the terminals might well be stuck onto the terminal ends. To remedy this, you can scrape the corrosion off of the terminals and the cable ends by using a stiff wire brush. If that doesn't work, you will need to mix up some baking soda with just enough tap water to make a paste. Use an old toothbrush and dip it into the paste, then scrub the corrosion off of the battery terminals and the cable ends. Rinse, then wipe off the debris with an old rag.

The next step to replace the battery in your riding lawn mower is to use an adjustable wrench to loosen the negative (marked with a minus - sign on it) cable clamp. You can tell which battery clamp is the negative side by the red color of its connected wire too. Carefully slide the clamp up and off of the battery terminal, then move it out of your way. Then, remove the positive (marked with a + sign on it) cable clamp in the same manner. You can tell which battery clamp is the positive side by the black color of its connected wire. Also, the positive battery terminal is always larger than the negative battery terminal.

Grab the existing battery firmly, then pull it up and out of its metal box holder. Then, place the new battery into the holder. Place the cable clamps over the terminals, then tighten them up again with an adjustable wrench. Make sure that you place the negative cable end on the negative side of the battery, and vice versa! In order to avoid a corrosion problem on the terminals and the ends, you can purchase a product that will protect them. This protectant comes in an aerosol can; it's red in color and it sprays out like paint. Allow the protectant to dry thoroughly before you proceed on to the next step.

Finally, replace the tie down strap or the holding bar, and retighten it too. Avoid allowing the battery in your riding lawn mower to just sit in the holder without being secured down. The reason for this is because the battery can bounce around and possibly hit a metal part. This can either short the battery out, cause sparks and a fire, or, it can damage the battery casing.

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