Lawn mower ignition tester. How to Tell if Your Battery Is Bad in 3 Easy Steps

How to Tell if Your Battery Is Bad in 3 Easy Steps

Having battery troubles? Yeah, we hear you. Almost everyday, we receive calls and Комментарии и мнения владельцев about batteries that won’t hold a charge any more. Maybe you’ve been in that boat before. To clear up a misconception: a battery isn’t like a water bottle. You can’t use up half now, and then wait and use half later. It’s not a tank of electricity. Also, batteries don’t leak power like water can. What we’re dealing with is a lead acid battery in a plastic box that encases a delicate balance of chemicals which are ready to interact with each other to produce electricity when the load is applied.

If your battery is having trouble holding under load, then chances are it’s a chemical issue.

How to test a battery:

1) Inspect the Battery

Sometimes you can tell if your battery is bad by simply taking a good look. There are a few things to inspect:

  • Broken terminal
  • Bulge or bump in the case
  • Crack or rupture of the plastic
  • Excessive leaking
  • Discoloration

Broken or loose terminals are dangerous and can cause a short circuit. If a short did occur, there would be some indication of burning or melting. When a battery short circuits, all the power is unloaded in an instant. That produces a lot of heat, and sometimes even causes the battery to explode.

If the battery is still intact, but there is a bulge in the case, this is usually a result of being overcharged. Other signs such as physical openings in the case are often caused by mishandling. Cracks, splits, and holes will not cause a battery to stop working, but for safety reasons the battery should be labeled unsafe to use.

With wet-cell (flooded) batteries, water levels must be maintained. If they are low, usually refilling them with distilled water will help. But, if the cells within the battery have been exposed to air for a long time, it can cause a problem. When the plates within each cell are exposed to oxygen it can rapidly dry the paste that surrounds the lead plates. When the paste has dried it creates a barrier that prevents the chemical reaction within the battery. This can also cause the sulfation that has already occurred to harden leading to a sulfated battery which is the number one cause of early battery failure. We strongly recommend checking the water levels prior to charging a wet cell battery since charging a dry battery will burn it up. If your battery has plenty of fluid in the cells, but the color is dark, or brownish, this is also an indication of a bad battery. Even if one cell is brown, it is rendered useless and therefore the entire battery is, too. Time to replace your battery!

2) Take a Voltage Reading

The voltage of a battery is a good way to determine the state of charge. Here’s a handy table with the breakdown:

State of Charge Voltage
100% 12.7. 13.2
75% 12.4
50% 12.1
25% 11.7
Discharged 0. 11.6
  • Reading 0 volts, chances are the battery experienced a short circuit
  • Cannot reach higher than 10.5 volts when being charged, then the battery has a dead cell
  • Fully charged (according to the battery charger) but the voltage is 12.4 or less, the battery is sulfated

Sulfation is the natural byproduct when the battery discharges. Naturally, re-charging the battery will reverse the sulfation crystals and turn it back into electrolyte, ready to produce power again. But if a battery sat, uncharged, severely discharged, and/or drained for extended periods of time, the sulfation will increase in size and harden onto the plates. This covers the surface area of the plates, removing the chemicals needed to produce power.

Sulfation decreases the potential to reach a full charge, and it self-discharges the battery quicker than normal. Charging a sulfated battery is like trying to wash your hands while wearing gloves. At this point, charging alone will not restore the battery to a healthy condition. The majority of replacement battery purchases occur when the original battery has reached this point.

3) Load Test the Battery

Your local automotive shop is more than able to load test your battery, but it’s quite easy to do at home and all you need is a digital voltmeter. For any load test to be accurate, the battery must be fully charged and left to sit 12 hours before load testing the battery. A recently charged battery will hold a residual charge from the charger, so letting the battery sit for 12 hours will release that residual charge and give you a more accurate sense on how the battery will perform under normal circumstances. To the test.

Let’s use a motorcycle battery for an example:

  • Remove the seat and expose the battery in your bike so that you have access to the terminals. Do not disconnect the battery because you will attempt to start the bike.
  • Hold the prongs of your voltmeter to the correct terminals on the battery.
  • Now push the start button and watch what the voltage drops to. It doesn’t matter if the bike starts or not, what you’re looking for is a voltage reading.

A healthy 12 volt battery should maintain a voltage range from 9.6. 10.5 volts under the load for a good 30 seconds straight.

For starting batteries we don’t expect you to run the starter for 30 seconds, so if you see the voltage meter drop within the voltage range and it sounded like a good strong start, then you probably just had a discharged battery. However, if under the starting load the voltage drops below 9.6v, then it is most likely time to replace the battery.

For deep cycle application if the battery holds under load for a few seconds then voltage starts to steadily drop this would indicate a problem with the battery. If the voltage instantly drops to 0 volts, that is also a problem. We call this the open cell. On a new battery, this can be a result of manufacturing flaws, but it also may be caused by sulfate crystal buildup.

A common occurrence with open cell batteries is that under the intense heat of the load, one or more of the weld pieces connecting the cells together is coming loose and separating. This will cut the current, and voltage will drop. When the battery cools off, the pieces will touch, barely giving a complete connection. This gives you a false voltage reading. Batteries with open cells may read fully charged in idle, but they fail under a load test every time. Once a battery reaches this point, there is no going back. The best thing to do is recycle the thing.

How to tell if a battery is bad or good: These 3 steps will help you test and determine if your battery is truly bad or getting there. Sometimes it’s obvious if there is a failure, but other times it’s not. Flooded batteries make it possible to simply look inside the cells and determine if the battery has a physical defect. But for sealed AGM and Gel batteries, it requires testing. The only tools you really need are a battery charger and a digital voltmeter. If your battery experiences any of the symptoms described in the steps above, then maybe it’s time to replace the battery.

Look no further. We’ve got a wide selection of powersports batteries for your motorcycle, ATV, scooter, jet ski, or snowmobile. But we also carry batteries for lawn mowers, wheelchairs / mobility scooters, UPS systems, RVs, and marine applications. Whether you need a starting battery or a deep cycle battery, we have the stuff. And all of our replacement batteries come with warranties to ensure that you won’t have any of these problems with your new battery.

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Written on June 5, 2012 a 3:20 pm by Staff with Modified on December 6, 2021 a 2:56 pm How to Tell if Your Battery Is Bad in 3 Easy Steps

How to Test a Lawn Mower Starter With a Multimeter?

Maintaining your lawn mower and ensuring it’s in good working order is essential for getting the best performance out of it when you need it most. To do this, a quick test to ensure the starter motor and its associated wiring are operating correctly can be performed using nothing more than a multimeter. This blog post will take you through the steps to get your mower ready for cutting season with confidence by teaching you how to use your multimeter to check that everything is as expected. Read on to pick up some essential tips about testing the starting system for optimal performance!

How Does a Lawn Mower Starter Work?

The starter for a lawn mower is responsible for starting the engine. It does this by turning over the flywheel and sending an electrical current through to the spark plugs, which then ignite the gasoline in order to turn on the engine. In order to do this, the starter has a coil that creates an electromagnetic field when it’s energized. This magnetic field interacts with the armature of the flywheel and causes it to spin, thus starting the engine. The starter is powered by a battery connected to it through two wires, positive and negative. When you press down on the start button or pull on its cord, current flows from one wire into the other, creating a circuit and activating the starter. [1]

Safety Tips

When troubleshooting the lawn mower starter with a multimeter, safety should be your number one priority.

Make sure you are wearing gloves and safety goggles to protect your eyes and hands from any possible sparks that may occur during testing.

Additionally, make sure you shut off the power source (battery or wall outlet) before making any connections with the multimeter. When working on the lawn mower’s engine, be aware of any loose wires or components that could come in contact with hot metal parts of the engine.

Lastly, always unplugging the spark plug when testing electrical parts so as not to create an electric shock hazard. Following these safety tips can help make sure that your work remains safe and effective.

After confirming that safety measures are in place, testing the lawn mower starter using a multimeter is straightforward. [2]


Tools required for testing a lawn mower starter with a multimeter include the multimeter itself, an adjustable wrench or pliers, and insulated wire cutters. Before beginning, make sure to disconnect the spark plug and switch off the ignition system of the lawnmower.

Testing the Lawn Mower Starter

Testing the lawn starter with a multimeter is an easy and straightforward process. First, you’ll need to locate the lawn mower’s starter motor. It should be near the bottom of the engine and look like a small metal cylinder with two wires coming out of it.

Once you’ve located the starter motor, attach one of the multimeter probes to each wire. Set your multimeter to a low voltage setting, such as 2 volts or less. If there is power running through the starter motor, then your multimeter will indicate that there is a current flowing through it by showing some kind of reading on its display.

If your multimeter has no readings at all, this could mean two things: either the starter motor isn’t receiving any power or it is malfunctioning and needs to be changed. If this is the case, it’s best to take your lawn mower to a qualified mechanic who can diagnose and repair the issue.

You should also check for any loose wires which may be preventing power from reaching the starter motor. If you find any, then make sure that they are securely connected to their respective terminals on the lawn mower engine.

After testing your lawn mower starter with a multimeter, it’s important to ensure that all connections remain secure before starting up your machine. This will help prevent damage from occurring as well as ensuring maximum safety when using your lawn mower. [3]

Testing the Lawn Mower Battery

Once you have made sure that the spark plug and other connections are properly working, it is time to test the battery of your lawn mower. To make sure your battery is disconnected, switch off the engine and then unplug the negative terminal from its connection on the battery.

Then use a multimeter to measure the voltage of your battery by connecting one end of the black lead from your multimeter to the negative post of your battery and then connecting the other end of your red lead to its positive post. If you get a reading between 12 – 14 volts, then this indicates that your battery is functioning correctly; however, if you get a reading lower than 12 volts, then it may be time to replace your lawn mower’s battery. [4]

Testing the Lawn Mower Solenoid Frame

You have now successfully tested your lawn mower starter with a multimeter! By following these simple steps, you can detect any issues that may be causing problems and take the necessary actions to keep your lawn mower running smoothly. [5]

Causes of Starter Failure

There are several common causes of starter failure in a lawn mower.

One of the most common is lack of lubrication, which can cause problems such as sticking and grinding gears, or a seized motor. The brushes may also wear out due to high use, and may need to be replaced if they do not work effectively in providing power to the motor.

Corrosion on the parts can also reduce electrical conductivity and prevent them from working correctly.

Testing with a multimeter is an effective way to identify these kinds of issues before replacing any parts.

It’s important to make sure that all wires and connections are secure so that electricity is able to flow freely throughout the system.

lawn, mower, ignition, tester, tell

Replacing worn-out spark plugs or faulty wiring can also help improve the starter’s performance.

lawn, mower, ignition, tester, tell

It can be helpful to refer to the manual for your lawn mower to determine which parts need to be tested, as well as what type of multimeter should be used. By using a multimeter and following the steps outlined in the manual, you can accurately identify and diagnose any issues with your lawn mower’s starter. This way, you can make sure that your machine is running efficiently and safely all season long!

Types of Multimeters

There are several different types of multimeters, each designed for a specific purpose. An analog multimeter uses a needle to display the voltage or current being measured. Digital multimeters use an LCD screen that displays numerical values such as AC/DC voltage, current, resistance, etc. Some digital multimeters also come with additional features such as temperature probes and frequency counters. When testing a lawn mower starter with a multimeter, it’s best to use either an analog or digital type since these are able to send accurate readings faster than other models.

NO SPARK! How Do I Know If My Coil / Ignition Module Is Faulty? (DAY 23)

When using a multimeter to test a lawn mower starter, you will need to have some safety equipment on hand including safety glasses, gloves and insulated tools. Also make sure to disconnect all power sources before attempting to test any electrical systems.

Testing A Starter Solenoid Could Be Dangerous

With all of the complexity associated with lawn mowers, it is important to remember that testing a starter solenoid could be dangerous. This is because of the power and voltage involved in operating a starter solenoid. If you do not know how to use a multimeter correctly, or are unsure about your safety when working around electricity, please consult an experienced professional before attempting repairs on your own.

It is also important to wear protective gear such as goggles and gloves during any electrical repair work. Doing so will keep you safe from electric shocks or sparks while handling exposed wires and other components.

Once you have gathered the necessary materials and taken the appropriate precautions, you are now ready to begin testing your lawn mower’s starter solenoid using a multimeter.

Benefits of Testing a Lawn Mower Starter with a Multimeter

Testing a lawn mower starter with a multimeter offers several advantages.

Firstly, it provides a more accurate test result than other methods such as visual inspection or manual testing. This helps you determine the cause of any issues quickly and accurately.

Secondly, it’s easy to use, requiring few tools and little to no experience.

Lastly, it can save time and money by avoiding unnecessary repairs or replacements due to faulty parts. Testing a lawn mower starter with a multimeter is an excellent way to keep your machine running smoothly for years to come. [6]


How do you test a lawn mower starter with a multimeter?

To test a lawn mower starter with a multimeter, you will need to set your multimeter to the Ohms setting. Disconnect the cables from the starter solenoid and connect one lead of the multimeter to each terminal on the solenoid. The resistance should be close to zero ohms if the starter is working properly. If not, then there may be an issue with either the wiring or the starter itself that needs to be addressed.

What can cause my lawn mower’s starter motor not to work?

The most common cause for a lawn mower’s starter motor not working is a lack of power from its battery. Check that all connections are securely attached and that it has enough charge. Other possible causes include worn out brushes in the starter motor, corroded or broken cables, a faulty solenoid, or a faulty ignition switch. If all of these components have been checked and are working properly, then the problem may lie within the flywheel.

What should I do if my lawn mower’s starter won’t turn?

If your lawn mower’s starter won’t turn, first check that it has enough power from its battery. Also inspect the wiring and connections for any damage or corrosion. If everything appears to be in order, you may need to replace either the starter motor or the flywheel. It is also important to check for any obstructions that may be preventing the engine from turning over.

What is the difference between a starter motor and a starter solenoid?

A starter motor is responsible for turning over an engine to initiate combustion. A starter solenoid, on the other hand, is an electrical switch that sends power to the starter motor when it receives a signal from the ignition switch. The solenoid provides additional protection by preventing direct current from flowing through the battery cables when the engine is not running.

How do I know if the starter on my lawn mower is bad?

Using a multimeter, you can test the starter on your lawn mower to determine if it is in working order. To test the starter, first make sure that all power sources are turned off and disconnected from the lawn mower before testing. Once you have done this, connect the two leads of the multimeter to either side of the battery terminals on your mower and set the meter to “DC voltage”. If your reading is above 12 volts then your battery is charged and working properly.

Can you bypass a starter?

Yes, you can bypass the starter on a lawn mower. To do this, you will need to connect the two battery terminals and the solenoid terminal together with a jumper wire or an alligator clip. Once this is done, your mower should start without having to use the starter. However, it is important to note that bypassing the starter may damage other components of your mower if not done properly. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you consult a professional before attempting to bypass the starter on your lawn mower.

Can I test my lawn mower’s spark plug with a multimeter?

Yes, you can use a multimeter to test your lawn mower’s spark plug for functionality. First, disconnect the spark plug from the engine. Then, set your multimeter to measure resistance (ohms). Connect one of the meter’s test leads to each end of the spark plug and check for a reading between 5K ohms and 10K ohms. If you get any other reading, replace the spark plug as it is faulty. Make sure to install a new spark plug with correct gap distance according to your manual instructions before reconnecting it. Proper installation is important in order for your lawn mower starter to work properly. You should also inspect all wire connections connected to the ignition system such as those leading to and from the ignition switch, coil or magneto, which can cause starting problems if worn or frayed. Additionally, inspect the spark plug wires for any signs of corrosion or damage and replace them if necessary. Once you have ensured all connections are in good working order, complete an ignition system test using your multimeter. Set the meter to measure resistance (ohms) and connect one test lead to each end of the spark plug wire (or magneto) while it is disconnected from its other connection. If there is any resistance other than 0 ohms, then you know that something is wrong and should inspect the wiring further or replace it altogether.

Why is my starter not clicking?

If you are experiencing an issue with your lawn mower’s starter not clicking when the key is turned, it could be a sign of a faulty connection or bad wiring. Testing the starter with a multimeter can help to determine if there is an electrical problem. A multimeter is an electronic device used for testing and measuring electric current and voltage in a circuit. Before testing the starter, make sure that all safety precautions are followed including unplugging the power cord from its source and removing any spark plugs or fuel lines connected to the engine.


Testing the starter on a lawn mower using a multimeter is easy. After unplugging the spark plug, connecting the test leads to their respective terminals and setting the multimeter to measure resistance, you can get an accurate reading of the starter’s electrical circuit. To ensure that your measurements are accurate, always double-check your readings with other testers such as ohmmeters or continuity testers. If there is any discrepancy in results, contact a professional mechanic for further troubleshooting and repair. Taking these steps will help make sure that your lawn mower’s starter is running correctly so you can enjoy another wonderful season of cutting grass!


Lawn Mower Ignition Coil Test With Multimeter

There are many helpful uses of multimeters around your house and while many of these are typically used on your vehicle or in your home, it is also very useful for smaller engines you use including your lawnmower.

Simple Trick To Diagnose A Bad Ignition Module (Coil) On A Lawnmower, Chainsaw, Weedeater Etc.

If you have ever tried starting your lawn mower and pulled that cord over and over without any luck, it could mean many different things including a fault with fuel/oil, the induction coil, or the spark plug.

Checks before testing the ignition coil

After eliminating things like oil and gas being present and that the cord is connected to the spark plug, wait 10 minutes after you’ve tried starting it and then try starting it again as an initial troubleshooting.

If it still won’t start, before you begin testing the ignition coil, it’s important to first check the spark plug to eliminate that as an issue.

Before you start the next steps, it’s important that you wear leather work gloves to protect your hands from different parts of the engine that may be sharp or spark.

Spark plugs

Often get dirty and worn down over time. If you’ve been using the same spark plug for a while, you may want to pull it out and check for different signs of problems with your lawnmower. Removing the spark plug is easy by using a socket wrench and twisting it out.

If your spark plug has some light-brown deposits on it, it means it’s normal. If you see black carbon deposits then it’s a sign that the fuel-to-air mixture is too rich and that your carburetor has an issue. Safe to say if you know you’ve had the same spark plug for the past year in your lawn mower, it’s time to change it.

You can also use a spark plug tester (purchased in most auto stores) which you can replace the spark plug with and try to pull the cord of the lawnmower to start it.

If you see a spark appear in the tester, you know that the lawnmower is in good condition but the spark plug was faulty and it’s time to replace it. A spark plug tester is an easy way to check that.

What is an affordable multimeter to test this on?

There are many great multimeters on the market and if you’re looking for the best brand, then the Fluke brand is definitely the one to go for. The Fluke 116, Fluke 117, and Fluke 87V are some of the best on the market.

If you are looking for a good multimeter that’s a bit more affordable, then I would instead suggest the Innova 3340 which is a much better choice for DIY and homeowners.

Testing your ignition coil by using a multimeter

After you have ensured the spark plug is not an issue, it’s time to check on the ignition coil.

Make sure you continue to wear your leather gloves through this part.

Here are the steps to follow to check the ignition coil:

  • Remove the spark plug cover which is usually a rubber cord that pulls right off the spark plug easily with a little tug.
  • Remove the engine cover which is on the top of your lawn mower. Depending on the type of lawnmower you are using, there may not be a cover (in the case of a riding lawnmower, the hood may already be the cover).
  • Locate the engine’s flywheel which looks like a circular piece with multiple blades going around in a circle. Each engine is different so if you are unsure you should check your lawn mower’s user manual to determine what/where it is.
  • Remove the flywheel using a wrench and then inspect the coils. The ignition coils are situated on top of the engine beside the flywheel with two ends touching the flywheel rim. One of the coil’s terminals should be shown leading to the spark plug.
  • Now, set your multimeter to test resistance (ohms) by first placing the red lead into the socket which has this symbol: Ω. Then set your multimeter to measure ohms(Ω).If you need more information on measuring resistance, check this articlehere.
  • Touch the positive(red) probe to the metal connector inside the spark plug housing. The negative(black) probe should then be placed against the metal that extends out of the second terminal on the ignition coil.
  • Allow your multimeter to measure for a few seconds until it stops fluctuating. If the meter is showing 0, your coil is no longer working and you will need to bring it in for repairs.
  • On a working ignition coil, you should get a reading of between 0.5 and 1.3 ohms. If it’s below 0.5 it needs to be replaced as it will cause damage to your engine.

Why does the ignition coil break?

Typically, the ignition coil can go bad over time due to either long-term wear and tear or due to bad spark plug ignition cables.

If the spark plug ignition cables are getting faulty, it will have a much higher than normal resistance which causes additional voltage to be generated by the ignition coil which causes excess heat.

This, in turn, melts the coil’s wire insulation causing the wires to break requiring a new ignition coil.

lawn, mower, ignition, tester, tell

Wrap up

The things you can do with a multimeter is endless and you can find so many different benefits from using it that it’s no doubt one of the best devices to keep around the house.

I often talk about many of these tasks that you should do yourself at home not only save you time and effort, but also to save you money.

Doing the above test may have caused you up to 50 at a small engine shop which you could do yourself. Start saving time and money by learning these awesome multimeter life hacks.