Can a Lawn Mower Get Wet? A Comprehensive Guide

Riding mowers, also known as ride-on mowers or lawn tractors, are essentially motorized vehicles designed for cutting large areas of grass with ease. Although they are built to withstand various outdoor conditions, many people wonder if these machines can get wet.

This comprehensive guide will dive into the relationship between riding mowers and water. Along the way, we will discuss how these mowers work, their main components, potential malfunctions, and water-related damages.

We will also outline situations where a rider mower might come into contact with water and provide tips on protecting your mower from water and maintaining it properly.

Can a Lawn Mower Get Wet?

The short answer is yes, riding mowers can get wet. However, you should take steps to protect these machines from water because it could lead to electrical and mechanical malfunctions. In general, the engine and other components of a riding mower are designed to withstand light showers of rain or dew overnight, but they are not meant to be submerged in water or exposed to heavy rain showers for extended periods of time.

How Riding Mowers Work and Their Components

A riding mower operates using a combination of mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic systems. The main components of a riding mower include:

  1. Engine: This is the heart of the mower and provides the power necessary for operation.
  2. Transmission system: Allows the rider to control the speed and direction of the mower.
  3. Cutting deck: Houses the blades and is responsible for cutting the grass.
  4. Ignition system: Ensures the mower starts and runs smoothly.
  5. Fuel system: Stores and delivers fuel to the engine.
  6. Tires and wheels: Provide support and mobility to the mower.
  7. Steering system: Allows the operator to navigate the mower.

Each of these components is designed to function under normal outdoor conditions. However, a few situations might cause the riding mower to malfunction, such as excessive water exposure, lack of proper maintenance, and use under extreme temperatures.

The Effects of Water on Riding Mowers

While riding mowers are weatherproof, meaning they can handle a medium-sized downpour without suffering significant damages, they are not waterproof. Excessive water exposure may cause several issues, including:

  1. Fuel system problems: Water may contaminate the fuel system and lead to engine stalling or failure to start.
  2. Ignition system issues: Water can cause short-circuiting in the electrical components and make it difficult for the mower to start.
  3. Bearing and other mechanical issues: Prolonged exposure to water may cause the bearings and other moving parts to rust, which can impact the mower’s performance and lifespan.

What happen if lawn mowers get wet situations?

There are various situations where a riding mower might potentially come into contact with water, including:

  1. Rainfall: Leaving your mower outside during a downpour may expose it to water, although they are designed to handle moderate rainfall. Always try to cover the mower or store it indoors during heavy rain.
  2. Wet grass: Mowing wet grass may cause water to splash onto the various components of the mower. When possible, wait for the grass to dry before mowing.
  3. Humidity: High levels of atmospheric moisture may cause condensation on the mower’s surfaces. Store the mower in a well-ventilated area and ensure proper maintenance to minimize moisture-related issues.
  4. Power washing: Using a pressure washer indiscriminately can introduce water into the fuel system and electrical components. When cleaning a mower, take caution to avoid directly spraying water on sensitive components.

Mower Maintenance and Water Protection Tips

Taking proper care of your riding mower and protecting it from water exposure will prolong its life and ensure smooth operation. Here are some tips to achieve this:

  1. Store the mower in a covered, well-ventilated area: Keeping the mower in a dry, well-ventilated environment will protect it from humidity and water exposure.
  2. Check for rust before using:
  3. Before each use, check the mower for signs of rust or corrosion caused by water exposure. Always dry after cleaning: Whenever you clean your mower off with a hose or pressure washer, make sure to dry the components off afterward.
  4. Change the oil regularly: Change the mower’s oil according to manufacturer recommendations. This will help reduce water contamination and ensure optimal engine performance.

Related FAQs

Can I use electric lawn mower on wet grass?

If you own an electric lawnmower, which is powered by a wire, never cut the grass when it’s wet. The presence of water and electricity could create sparks and result in serious injury or electrocution if the protective casing around the wire has any small holes.

Moreover, even if you don’t have an electric mower, it’s best to avoid cutting wet grass as this might lead to uneven cuts due to its tendency to bend or be ripped out instead of being neatly trimmed.

Furthermore, most lawnmowers depend on speed rather than sharpness for cutting so it’s difficult to get a good cut with wet grass. Therefore, always wait until the grass is dry before attempting to mow your lawn.

Can a lawn mower be left in the rain?

Yes, most riding mowers can handle moderate rainfall without suffering significant damages. However, try to cover the mower or store it indoors during heavy rain.

Will rain damage a riding lawn mower?

Riding mowers are weatherproof, meaning they can handle a medium-sized downpour without suffering significant damages. However, prolonged exposure to heavy rain may cause water contamination and other issues. It is best to store the mower in a covered, well-ventilated area when not in use.


Riding mowers are designed to function in most outdoor conditions, but they may suffer damages if exposed to excessive water. Being aware of potential wet situations and taking the necessary steps to protect your mower from water exposure will help ensure its optimal performance and longevity. Regular maintenance, proper storage, and avoiding power washing are also important for keeping your mower in top condition. Following these tips will help you get the most out of your riding mower for years to come.

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