Caring For Your Mower Battery All Year RoundErika Bultitude
If you’re having trouble keeping your mower battery charged, it’s in your best interest to understand when you need to replace it with a new one. Maybe your battery hasn’t performed as well as expected since you have recently started using your mower again this Spring? Many battery-related problems will stem from not being stored properly during winter when the battery has little or no use. In the blog below, we explain how a mower battery should be cared for during longer periods of no use and run through some simple tips for keeping your battery healthy all year round.
If you try to start your mower, and the electric starter is not engaging, this would more than likely be a battery-related issue. This is a common problem in spring when mowers are first being used after winter. Colder temperatures can negatively affect the properties of the battery. If the temperature falls below freezing frequently enough the battery will need to be stored properly to maximise its life, which means storing it in a dry area of a garage or workshop. Anywhere is fine as long as the ambient temperature doesn’t drop below freezing.
CCA (cold cranking amps) – the amount of current a battery can provide as the stating key is turned. If you’re replacing the battery with a new one, always make sure you’re using the correct rated battery that the equipment manufacturer recommends. Contact the experts at BBL who will help you to ensure the battery you choose will be correct for your application.
Sulphation is a very common problem that can affect all batteries, especially ones that have long periods of inactivity. Sulphation occurs when the molecules in the electrolyte (battery acid) become so discharged they start to build up on the lead plates inside your battery. Once the sulphation coats the plates, you will immediately see a decrease in performance. Eventually, the coated plates will be nearly or completely covered and the battery will quit during use or will no longer hold a charge and will not start the equipment.
When should you replace your battery?
- If the battery case is cracked or leaking
- If the battery case is bulging – usually due to operating at too hot a temperature or overcharging with a non-smart charger
- If the terminals are damaged in any way, or fully corroded
- If the electrolyte level is low – internal plates exposed to air will immediately sulphate
- If the battery was charged incorrectly – most cheap charger settings will cause this
- If the battery no longer holds a charge – usually due to sulphation after prolonged disuse
Battery cables and terminals
The battery cables and terminals should be kept clean from corrosion. Applying petroleum jelly to the terminals will help create a good barrier, and help slow down any future corrosion. It’s important that when the cables are reconnected they are tight with the terminals, as this is another common non-start issue. If the cables have excessive wear or have been fully corroded, they will need to be replaced.
Batteries will self-discharge. The best method to keep your battery in fine working order and maximize its life is to use a smart charger. It is good practice to regularly check the charge level of your battery. If the charge drops below 50% (12.4V), charge it back up as soon as possible. In fact, a starting battery should be kept at full charge where possible. A battery that isn’t fully charged for extended periods of time is prone to sulphation. Please see below for further information on state of charge…
12.72v – 100% charged
12.40v – 50% charged
12.20v – Discharged
11.90v – Electrochemically Empty (Flat)
Storage When Not In Use
Whether your battery is left in place on equipment or taken off when not in use, ensure your battery is stored in a cool and dry place. Do not be tempted to bring batteries indoors in the arm as this will speed up the chemical process and reduce your battery’s overall life. If stored away from your equipment, always ensure the surface is clean and dry and does not have small sharp object on it that could pierce the bottom of the battery case. Always check you battery’s voltage every 2 – 4 months to ensure it is always above 12.40 volts (preferably fully charged) and charge if necessary, and is fully charged before it goes back into use.
For Expert Advice on your Garden Machinery batteries, please contact your local BBL Batteries. We also stock batteries for all Garden Equipment as well as smart charger which will help to keep your batteries in peak condition all year round.