Riding Mowers & Tractors: Dead battery

During the off-season, the battery can lose its charge. Charge the battery fully before storing your tractor for the winter. You may also need to charge the battery again before starting the tractor in the spring.

Replace the battery if it won't charge. If you charge the battery with an external charger but the battery drains when you're running the tractor, then the engine's alternator could be the problem. The alternator recharges the battery and powers the tractor while the engine runs. To check whether the alternator's charging the battery, use a multimeter to measure the DC voltage at the battery with the engine running. You should measure between 13 and 14 volts. If not, then you may need to replace the alternator.

When your mower's battery is dead and you need to mow right away, use the tips in our video to safely jump-start the mower.

riding mowers & tractors

These repairs may help solve your riding mowers & tractors problem

Replace the riding mower battery

Replace the riding mower battery

If the riding mower or lawn tractor engine doesn't make any noise when you try to start the mower, it might be time to replace the lawn tractor battery. A good indicator that the lawn tractor needs a new battery is if you charge the battery, and it loses the charge quickly.

Replace the riding mower alternator

Replace the riding mower alternator

The alternator attaches to the engine under the flywheel and generates power for the tractor while the engine is running. The alternator also recharges the battery while the engine runs. If the engine won't start because the battery drains while running the tractor, the alternator could be at fault. Check DC voltage at the battery with the engine running. You should measure between 13 and 14 volts. If not, then you may need to replace the alternator.

Symptoms common to all riding mowers & tractors

Choose a symptom to see related riding mower and lawn tractor repairs.

Main causes: worn or broken ground drive belt, bad seat switch, transaxle freewheel control engaged, transaxle failure, dirty carburetor
Main causes: dead battery, stale fuel, bad starter solenoid, ignition system problem, bad ignition interlock switch, clogged carburetor
Main causes: damaged cutting blade, worn deck pulley, damaged mandrel pulley, loose fasteners on mower deck components
Main causes: engine overfilled with oil, leaky head gasket or sump gasket, damaged carburetor seals, cracked fuel pump, broken fuel line
Main causes: punctured tire or inner tube, leaky valve stem, damaged wheel rim
Main causes: unlevel mower deck, dull or damaged cutting blades, worn mandrel pulleys, bent mower deck, engine needs tune up
Main causes: damaged tie rods, bent or worn wheel spindle, worn front axle, damaged sector gear assembly
Main causes: worn or broken blade belt, broken belt idler pulley, blade clutch cable failure, bad PTO switch, damaged mandrel pulleys
Main causes: shift lever needs adjustment, neutral control needs adjustment

Repair guides common to all riding mowers & tractors

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your riding mower or lawn tractor.

How to replace the starter motor on a riding lawn mower

If you hear the solenoid click but don’t hear the starter motor spin when you turn the key, follow these steps to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower spark plug

If the engine is hard to start or if the spark plug electrode is burnt or cracked, take 15 minutes to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower carburetor

If the engine of your lawn tractor surges or is hard to start, the carburetor could be the problem. Follow these steps to install a new one.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all riding mowers & tractors

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your riding mower or lawn tractor.

May 1, 2017

Riding lawn mower engine spins but won't start video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Troubleshoot fuel, spark and compression issues.

June 1, 2016

How to mow a lawn for healthier grass

By Erin Hynes

How often and tall you mow your lawn has a big impact on its health. Check out these 3 rules.

March 1, 2016

How to change the Smart Switch Ignition password on a lawn tractor video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

See how to unlock the factory default start code so you can set your own passcode.