Can Lawn Mowers Get Wet?

Can Lawn Mowers Get Wet

You just finished mowing your lawn using your shiny new riding lawn mower for the first time – and you couldn’t love it more.

It’s comfortable, runs quietly, and is highly fuel-efficient. Most importantly, it cuts grass evenly, leaving behind a healthy, high-quality lawn.

Now it’s time to store it. But you’re wondering whether you can leave it outside. Can it get wet? Can the condensation damage it? We’ve compiled this guide to answer all your questions.

Can Lawn Mowers Get Wet?

Yes, lawnmowers can get wet. However, you should avoid getting the engine wet. If the engine gets wet, it could short-circuit and cause damage. So keep the engine dry if it starts to rain while you’re mowing your lawn. However, the other parts of the lawnmower, such as the blades and chassis, can handle getting wet. Regular exposure to water is expected when mowing a lawn.

The biggest problem with wet lawnmowers is an electrical malfunction. Although most mowing equipment systems are diesel or gas lawnmowers, they depend on electrical ignition systems comprising motors, cables, etc.

Short-circuiting due to water exposure can cause starting issues in a gas lawn mower. Or it may damage the electrical wiring system.

The other potential issue is when water mixes with the fuel or various mower fluids, like the engine oil. Again, this can cause lawnmower malfunction and potential engine damage.

Why Do Lawn Mowers Get Wet?

Lawnmowers mainly get wet due to rain. For instance, many people leave the mower outside uncovered for long periods.

Unfortunately, doing so exposes the equipment to weather elements, including rain, snow, and hail storms.

Three other reasons why loan mowers can become wet are;

  1. Natural condensation: When outdoor temperatures drop below the dew point, moisture in the air condenses, forming liquid water. This happens almost every night, even in hot summers. The condensation can wet your lawnmower.
  2. If you mow wet grass: Suppose you bring out the mower and begin mowing immediately after heavy (or light) rain. Cutting wet grass will make the lawn mower wet.
  3. Cracks and dents in the mower: Cracks and tears in the lawn mower body and fluid systems increase the risk of water problems. For instance, the cracks can trap moisture that eventually condenses to form water.
  4. Other causes: A lawn mower can also become wet due to leaving fuel in the tank for a long time without a fuel stabilizer.

What Parts of the Mower Can Get Wet?

Nearly every part of the lawn mower can become wet, from the housing to the deck and the handles.

However, five parts cause the biggest issues when exposed to wet or damp conditions for prolonged periods;

  • The spark plug
  • Air filter
  • Carburetor
  • Fuel lines
  • Transmission system

Can Water Damage the Mower?

Yes. Unfortunately, water can damage the lawn mower. Rusting on the mower housing or body is the most visible sign of water damage.

However, it’s often the least of your worries because it happens long after water damage to other parts of the mower.

The following is a summary of how water or moisture can damage the five main mower parts listed above;

  • Water in the mower spark plug: The spark plug is an electrical component that can short-circuit when subjected to water or moist conditions. 
  • Water in mower air filter: If the air filter is soaked, air cannot seamlessly reach the combustion system. Therefore, the engine may not work. Additionally, water-soaking damages filter fibers, rendering the filter useless.
  • Water in mower carburetor:  The carburetor is a sensitive part of the engine where the air mixes with fuel. Therefore, your engine may be totaled if significant amounts of water enter the carburetor.
  • Water in the fuel lines: Water in the fuel lines is almost as bad as in the engine. It causes rust, affecting the combustion system. It can also damage injection pumps if the water expands too quickly.
  • Water in the transmission system: The transmission system is highly sensitive and quickly deteriorates when exposed to wet conditions. For instance, contamination of the friction plates can render mower gears useless.

Signs of a Wet Lawn Mower

The worst part about wet lawnmowers is that it’s not easy to tell there’s water inside your lawn mower.

You may sometimes notice water droplets on the body and wet soil around the mower.

You must take these signs seriously too. However, the biggest issue is water entering the internal mower components. Verifying the problem takes some skill.

The following are a couple of signs to watch out for.

  • The lawn mower won’t start: A non-responsive engine is one of the most common signs of a wet lawn mower. It often happens if the spark plug is wet. Wet spark plugs cannot ignite. So, the engine won’t start, no matter how many times you try.
  • Sudden stops/stalling: The spark plug is safe if the engine roars and the mower starts. However, it’s often a short reprieve as the engine may stall in a few minutes. Then it may start and stall again. It’s one of the most obvious signs of water in the engine. Here’s how to solve the mower engine starting and then stalling.
  • Low power/acceleration: Water that gets into the fuel tank or lines biodegrades the fuel, reducing the amount of power extracted from every liter. Therefore, you may experience a weak transmission resulting in low power output. As a result, the lawn mower may produce rough cuts, as if you have dull mower blades.

How to Fix a Lawn Mower that Has Been Rained On

Suppose your lawn mower was rained on or accidentally submerged in water, perhaps a pool or open drainage system.

The following steps can help restore mower function and prevent severe damage;

  • Start the engine and allow it to run for several minutes: We recommend letting it run for at least ten minutes. The heat generated by the engine will dry the internal components, averting rust and potential damages.
  • Leave the mower in the sun: After running the engine, you can do this as a complementary procedure. Or you can avoid the initial step. The water and moisture will dry up on a hot day.
  • Dry the deck and handle and store the mower: Suppose the two processes work and the mower resumes function. In that case, the next step is to wipe the mower deck and handle with a dry rag and store the mower in a safe, dry place.

Lawn Mower Left in the Rain and Won’t Start, What Now?

As we’ve seen, lawn mower won’t start after rain or if it’s exposed to wet or damp conditions

If this happens, you must quickly troubleshoot the electric mower and fix the issue.

Here’s what to do;

  • Inspect and air-dry the spark plug: The spark plug is often the first casualty of mower water damage. Indeed, we recommend binning it and getting a new one if the engine won’t start. Alternatively, clean the plug, blow it with a hairdryer, and replace it to see if the mower roars. If it doesn’t, get a new spark plug.
  • Replace the air filter: if the mower endured hours of heavy rain or was submerged in water. Otherwise, the soaking wet filter may block air transfer into the combustion system, preventing the mower from starting.
  • Inspect and bleed the gas tank: The only solution to water in the fuel system is to bleed the fuel lines and tank and replenish the tank with new and fresh gas.

If the three steps above don’t fix the problem, you may need to remove the lawn mower, wipe dry each part, and reassemble the unit.

We strongly advise against doing so yourself, as minor mistakes can cause permanent mower damage. Instead, consider professional diagnosis and repairs.

Water in Lawnmower Gas Tank Solutions: How to Get Water Out of Lawn Mower Gas Tank?

In severe cases, water may enter the gas tank, causing many issues, from a stalling engine to excessive mower smoking.

The following are step-by-step guidelines to fix the problem.

  1. Confirm that there’s water in the gas tank.
  2. Disconnect the spark plug.
  3. Siphon all the diluted gas using a siphon tube.
  4. Tilt the mower to its side, unscrew the plug, and drain the oil into a pan.
  5. Empty the carburetor bowl, placing a rag under it to catch the fluid.
  6. Dispose of the diluted oil and gas properly.
  7. Refill the tank with fresh gas.
  8. Add a fuel additive such as HEET to combat potential moisture problems.


Can rain ruin a lawn mower?

Yes. Unfortunately, rain can ruin your lawn mower. However, the extent of damage depends on the severity of the rainfall.

Light rain doesn’t cause much damage in most cases, especially if you address the problem immediately.

However, heavy rain can damage the engine, fuel system, carburetor, and many other internal components of the mower.

Can a push mower get rained on?

Yes. All lawnmowers can get rained on and become wet, including push mowers. More importantly, wet push mowers exhibit the same problems as wet riding mowers.

Engine degradation, oil contamination, and ignition system damage are common aftermaths. So, store your riding mowers safely in a dry location.

Can electric lawn mowers get wet?

Yes, electric lawn mowers can get wet. It’s often a confusing topic because advanced electric lawn mowers are housed in water-resistant cases to shield internal components from moisture and rain.

However, this alone doesn’t make electric mowers impervious to water. For instance, an electric lawn mower left in the rain can get wet from runoff or pooling water.

Are lawn mowers waterproof?

No. Lawn mowers aren’t waterproof. Some mower manufacturers market some of their products as waterproof.

For instance, you may know about the “waterproof” MANSCAPED lawn mower.

However, these mowers are water-resistant in that they block water from entering critical components if the mower is immersed in water for a short period.

But leave it outside in a heavy downpour, and you’ll experience the usual wet lawnmower issues.

Can riding lawn mowers get wet?

Yes, riding lawn mowers can get wet. However, it is important to protect the electrical components from excessive moisture to avoid damage. Avoid operating the mower in heavy rain or wet conditions whenever possible, and store it in a dry place to prevent rust and other issues.

Can you leave my lawn mower outside in the rain?

Yes, you can leave your lawn mower outside in the rain. However, you shouldn’t – even if it’s a waterproof mower. The risk is too much.

For instance, water always finds a way into the fuel system if you leave a lawn mower in the rain. Water in your gasoline or diesel fuel system is enough to kill the mower. 

See: Lawn mower gasoline type

Lawn Mower in the Rain Summary

Lawnmowers can get wet, including push and electric mowers. Indeed, so-called “waterproof” lawn mowers can get wet too.

Unfortunately, water can damage the mower’s spark plug, engine, fuel, carburetor, and many other internal components.

So, it’s critical to store mowers in raised, dry locations to prevent water damage.