For the winter I have generally just disconnect the battery on my lawn trac tor and leave the tractor in the garage. In the spring I usually have to j ump the lawn tractor anyway to get it started - not necessarily because the battery is dead, but because starting it the first time in the spring is a bear and usually takes a lot of cranking (and the tractor battery runs dow n before I can get the tractor started). However, once I've started it and got her running for a while, I can start it from the battery without too m uch trouble for the rest of the season.
This spring, I jumped it and it started right up. I let it run for a while , but then when I went to turn on the blades, it sputtered and died. I had to jump it again, but this time started the blades with it still connected to the car battery - no problem. After disconnecting, I tried starting an d stopping the blades a few times with no trouble, but then after sitting a couple of minutes, again the engine died when I tried to start the blades.
Finally, I jumped it, started the blades and then mowed for about an hour - figuring this would both charge the battery and loosen up any tightness in the blades. Afterwards, same problem - and I also couldn't start the engi ne from off.
I'm thinking "new battery time". I just measured the voltage (tractor off) and got 12.2. It's a 12 volt battery, but I'm not sure if that's a decent voltage or not - that was after a few unsuccessful cranks by the way. I s wear I've never had a problem starting the blades once I got the tractor is running, so I'm wondering if the problem is something else (or if there ar e multiple problems). Like maybe the blades are sticking and things need t o be greased and the extra oomph required to start the blades is too much f or the battery - just like it can kill your engine if you go too quickly th rough grass that's too high. Or maybe the battery's not charging properly while the tractor's running. Is there a good way to diagnose the problem o r should I just get a new battery and worry about it later if that doesn't solve things?
The only reason I'm asking now instead of just figuring it's the battery i s that it seems to me that in the past when the battery had died, once I ju mp-started the mower, I had no problems turning the blades on/off - it was only starting the tractor that was a problem.