Newbie mistake - Ran lawnmower tractor battery dry... Question about impact


Old 06-21-16, 07:34 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: US
Posts: 370
Newbie mistake - Ran lawnmower tractor battery dry... Question about impact

Hi all,

I hadn't checked my tractor battery for awhile and I wound up running it dry.
Battery is only 2 years old and I couldn't figure out why it wasn't holding a charge between mowing. By trickle charging the last couple of times, I could get it started until last night.
It wouldn't start at all and I suddenly realized I hadn't checked the water level in the battery for a year. After refilling, and it took about 12 oz. of distilled water to fill the 6 cells - it started after only few minutes charging.

My question - Have I shortened the life of the battery significantly by either running it while battery plates not fully covered in electrolyte or have I shortened the battery life by trying to charge it while the plates were exposed.

I'm not sure about the answer to either scenario but it would seem that by not being in electrolyte the battery itself wouldn't be negatively affected lifespan- wise
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Old 06-21-16, 08:11 AM
Join Date: May 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 3,138
Pretty much anything you do "wrong" to a battery will shorten its life to some degree. Fortunately, it is not a very expensive mistake.
Old 06-21-16, 08:17 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Iowa!!!!!
Posts: 3,728
The best thing to do is to fill the electrolyte to its proper level, fully charge the battery and go ahead and run it normally. It may be OK for another year or it may be dead now.

At two years you are at the normal life span of a Lawn/Garden battery now, so you've done OK on the longevity end. When a battery is at low charge the deposits on the cell plates accelerate and short and corrode the plates. If you want to extend the life of a battery you can put a little epsom salt in each cell. That helps fight the deposits on a lead acid battery.
Old 06-23-16, 07:43 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: US
Posts: 370
Reply & Thanks

Thanks Paul & marbobj

I mowed last night but did have to quick charge the battery to get it to start; I had gotten rained out the night before after less than an hour mowing - but it did start right up after just a few minutes charge... I'll check tonight to see if the charge held enough to start the tractor after mowing for two hours last night.

Good tip about Epsom salts to extend battery life - I never heard of it but will give it a try - assuming I didn't fry the battery.

2-3 years for battery life does seem short although I have to agree with you. But I remember getting 5 years out of the original OEM battery that came with the tractor. I've never gotten that much life out of any of the replacements I've had to put in.


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