Can a Lawn Mower Get Wet?

Lawn mowers are designed for outdoor use.

But since the vast majority of machines does not mix well with water, this may raise some concerns at the back of our minds.

Can a lawn mower get wet? Yes, a lawn mower can get wet. Lawn mowers are designed for outdoor use, and while getting overly wet is not desirable, a bit of rain most likely won’t cause any problems in the short term. 

The thing about water is in the details, or rather the quantities of it.

A more fitting question may be, how wet is too wet?

If you want a more in-depth look at what you need to know, especially if you have to deal with a soaked lawn mower, feel free to check the rest of the article below.

P.S. At any point in time, before doing any maintenance or repairs to your lawn mower, I recommend confirming every step with your user’s manual that you have received with your lawn mower.

Keep in mind that certain repair work may be highly specialized and thus be forbidden, and in doing it, you may be risking having your warranty void by the manufacturer.

What Can Cause a Lawn Mower to Get Wet?

Different circumstances may cause your lawn mower to get wet like leaving it outside in the rain or even leaving it outside overnight. And even if there is no rain, the morning dew can make it wet as well.

Mowing after heavy rain can also expose different parts of your lawn mower to water. I previously wrote an article about the possible dangers of mowing wet grass – you can check it out here if you are interested.

Your lawn mower can also be exposed to condensation if it has been stored for the off-season and kept under plastic sheets or other non-porous covers, which can capture and trap moisture underneath.

And even cracks or dents in the deck or fuel tank can expose different parts of the mower and the fuel to water. Additionally, storing the fuel for long periods without adding the necessary fuel stabilizers can also introduce water to it.

What Parts of the Lawn Mower Can Get Wet?

Almost every single part of the lawn mower can get wet depending on the situation; however, the most sensitive areas which tend to get wet are:

  • The spark plug;
  • The air filter; and
  • The carburetor and fuel tank.

Of course, other parts like the wheels, the deck, and the push handle can get wet too, but that won’t cause any serious problems apart from maybe a bit of rust if they are continually exposed to water.

It all depends on the severity of the weather conditions to which the mower has been subjected to, and we will get to that in a bit.

Will Moisture Damage My Lawn Mower?

First, let me say a few things about your lawn mower. Lawn mowers are not exactly the cheapest equipment out there, so naturally, you may be very worried, but please don’t be.

Just because your lawn mower appears to be wet doesn’t mean it is going to be damaged.

This has been happening to people all around the globe for as long as lawn mowers have been around. Lawn mowers are a tough little gadgets that have been designed to withstand and live a rough life.

Let’s take a look at what you need to do if your lawn mower is wet.

What to Do If My Lawn Mower Is Wet?

This is going to be very easy.

If there have been small amounts of rain, all you need to do after the rain passes is to start your lawn mower and let it run for several minutes. That way, it will dry on its own as a result of the heat produced by the engine. This will also prevent it from rusting.

Alternatively, you can leave it in the sun for several hours to dry, after which you can let it run for several minutes, as advised above.

If needed, dry off the deck and the handle with a rug, and store the lawn mower somewhere safe where it will be protected against the elements.

However, if the mower doesn’t start after a heavier rain, this doesn’t necessarily mean damage; however, some maintenance will be needed.

What to Do If Your Lawn Mower Doesn’t Start After Getting Wet

If your lawn mower doesn’t start even after several hours under the sun, no matter how many times you crank it, then a more in-depth inspection needs to be done.

This can happen if the mower has been left outside in a heavy rain.

Step 1: The Spark Plug

Check the spark plug and clean it from any moisture or condensation that may have accumulated as a result of the high humidity. The moisture will prevent the spark from going off.

The chances are the spark plug will be very wet and dirty. Clean and dry it thoroughly. Use a little sandpaper to get any residue off of it if necessary. Also, make sure that the gap between the spark plug and the electrode is appropriate and leave it to air dry.

When ready, place the spark plug back in and see if the mower will start. If it starts, you are good to go; however, if it doesn’t start, you can move on to step number two.

Step 2: The Air Filter

Remove the air filter.

Inspect the condition of the air filter. Depending on its condition, you may need to dry it out and clean it or completely replace it with a new and clean air filter.

When you are ready, try starting the mower again. If it still doesn’t start, you will need to go to the next step.

Step 3: The Fuel Tank and Carburetor

Drain the gas into a clean container and look for any water in the gas.

It is very easy to spot the water in the gas as it will be forming tiny bubbles. It’s very similar to how cooking oil stays in small bubbles when poured in water. The only difference is that water is heavier than gas, so it will be staying at the bottom.

If you find any water, this is going to be one of the worst-case scenarios as it means that you will have to take apart almost every part of the mower like the top cover, fuel tank, air filter, and the carburetor.

Clean and leave the mower and the parts to air out and dry. Refill the fuel tank with new and fresh gas. Make sure that the gas you are using has not been contaminated with water as well. When ready, give it another try.

Your lawn mower should be working now.

How to Tell If There Is Water in Your Gas Lawn Mower?

There are a few sure-fire signs that the fuel of your lawn mower has been contaminated with water.

Motor Not Starting

If there is a lot of water in the fuel system, the mower will not start.

The problem comes from the fact that water usually sinks to the bottom of the fuel tank, and this is where the motor typically draws its fuel from.

Water is neither fuel, nor is it combustible; hence, the motor won’t be starting at all.

Lack of Power

If you notice that your lawn mower does not perform as usual, lacks power and acceleration, you may be dealing with some small amounts of water which may have accumulated in the fuel tank or carburetor.

Sudden Stops

If the lawn mower frequently dies out under load or it just shuts down out of nowhere, one of the reasons for that may be small amounts of water accumulating in the fuel tank or at the bottom of the carburetor as well.

Make sure to check both the engine and the carburetor as soon as possible.

Can a Lawn Mower Be Waterproof?

Unfortunately, lawn mowers are not waterproof. They do have some protective plastic covers in place, which will prevent the water from easily getting into the more sensitive parts of the engine, but they can’t provide complete protection.

Lawn mowers are complicated devices, and making them waterproof is next to impossible.

The thing is that the terms waterproof and water-resistant are frequently mixed up and used interchangeably. This is not good because water-resistant devices can be damaged by water too, given enough exposure to it.

This of course doesn’t mean that mowing wet grass is going to destroy your lawn mower – the reason why cutting wet grass should be avoided is because

  • It is harder to cut;
  • It places more strain on the motor;
  • The cuts are not clean;
  • There is a higher risk of creating ruts in the soil;
  • It can dull the blades and so much more.


Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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