Image of riding lawn mower. But Should I Buy a Used or New Riding Lawn Mower? 

Should I Buy a Used or New Riding Lawn Mower? 

The beefy construction and unmatched power output of a riding lawn mower make it ideal for huge landscaping jobs. This equipment is a welcoming addition to your home, considering it incorporates adjustable features to meet your mowing needs. For instance, it comes with an easy key start, eliminating the pull cord for those lacking strength. Besides, you can use a riding lawn mower for multiple purposes like spreading fertilizer or grass seed. However, for a first time buyer, like myself at when I first thought of buying a mower had this troubling question: Should I Buy a Used or New Riding Lawn Mower? 

Whether you plan to buy a used or new riding lawn mower depends on your financial muscles and mechanical skills. A new riding mower is slightly expensive, but you will reap from its convenience and comfort of use. On the other hand, a used riding mower saves you lots of money, especially if you’re budget-conscious. Unfortunately, it’s not wise to opt for a used riding mower considering you might buy an option that’s nearing the end of its better days. 

So, it’s a critical decision to make. If you ask me, I’d tell you to be a little patient and wait till you are in a position to acquire a new riding lawn mower.

How Many Years Should a Riding Lawn Mower Last? 

The lifespan of a riding mower depends on the brand, type, and maintenance practices you perform. Most riding mowers can withstand 10 to 15 years of rough handling. But as a user, you can expect an additional three years provided you practice good maintenance on each component of your riding lawnmower. 

When Should I Replace My Riding Lawn Mower? 

A riding lawnmower is designed to last a lifetime. However, this machine will tarnish with time due to maximum ill use. As such, you will need to replace your old model with a new one to enjoy the mowing efficiency. 

If your riding lawn mower highlights any of these signs, you’ll know it’s time for a complete replacement;

  • Transmission issues

Transmission failure is a costly repair. It costs around $500. So if your mower suffers from any transmission issues, it’s better to purchase a new mower instead of pouring money on an old machine. 

  • Engine Problems

Engine failure is another threat to your riding lawn mower’s lifespan. A defective engine needs replacement because sometimes it’s more cost-effective to replace your riding mower than repair the blown engine. 

  • Crankshaft Damage

The crankshaft is an important component of your riding lawn mower as it’s accountable for the engine’s proper operation. So if it suffers any damage, it’s wise to replace it because repairing it attracts additional charges, plus you’re not sure if it will keep functioning as usual. 

  •   Upgrade

You can abandon your old riding mower and make luxurious upgrades to enhance your mowing experience. Upgrading your riding mower is never a bad idea as new models are more fuel-efficient, saving you money. 

Factors to Consider When Buying Used Riding Mowers

Purchasing a used riding mower can save you lots of money. However, this is an investment that needs careful research because you might find yourself buying a machine that’s on the verge of collapsing.

So it’s wise to inspect a used riding mower before purchasing it physically. And for that, I have compiled the factors to focus on when buying a used riding mower. Read on for more. 

  • Appearance

It’s easy to tell a mower that has been used often and one that has endured heavy use. Wear marks and small flaking paint can’t cause concern, but large dents, rust, and scratches imply rough handling and improper maintenance. 

Examine everything, including the engine and tires. If you notice rotting tires, leaking fluid, cracking belts, and frayed wiring, you’ll know the machine requires attention soon. Also, check the fluid levels and the mower’s blade to ensure that it doesn’t have large nicks. 

  • Test drive

Test driving a lawn mower before purchasing it demonstrates how well the mower trims grass. Besides, it allows you to see if it idles smoothly, starts easily, and runs without stalling or smoking. Ensure you check the brakes while test driving and ascertain that all the safety features are working as expected. 

Tip

Avoid used mowers with broken or disabled safety features. 

Why Are Riding Lawn Mowers So Expensive? 

Riding lawn mowers are very expensive because they integrate advanced safety features, drive systems, engine technologies, and mower deck engagement systems. 

Let’s now unwrap each of these aspects in detail.

  • Advanced safety system 

Riding mowers cost more because of the advanced safety system. For instance, some models incorporate blade brakes, meaning it’s unlikely to cut the wrong items in your yard. 

  • Upgraded Engine Technology

New efficient engines are indisputable. Manufacturers are producing cleaner-running engines on riding lawnmowers. These engines have rigid tolerance in them with a lower wear factor which increases the cost. 

  • Advanced Mower Deck Engagement

Engaging the deck on previous riding mowers was done by carefully dragging a lever forward not to stall the engine. Nowadays, manufacturers incorporate a switch, electric clutch, and a wire harness on riding mowers to engage the belt to the power deck. Also, riding mowers have three safety switches to ensure everything is in place before the blades propel. 

  • Customer Comforts and Upgrades

Riding lawn mowers are designed with upgraded comfort for the user. You will find other models with high back seats with armrests that enhance a more comfy ride. The suspension seat allows for a smooth ride with less impact even while mowing uneven terrain. 

  • Increased Labor Cost and Materials 

The materials used in the making of riding mowers are quite expensive. Top that with increased labor cost, and you’ll understand why these mowers are slightly more expensive than their prevalent counterparts.

Is It Cheaper to Fix a Mower or Buy a New One? 

Usually, fixing a mower is more cost-effective than purchasing a new model. However, sometimes bigger repairs don’t make any economic sense. Therefore, you might find it cheaper to invest in a new mower if you have damaged major parts like the engine. This is sad considering it encourages the production of new machines to replace models that could be fixed or repaired. 

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Riding Lawn Mower Engine? 

Replacing an engine on a riding lawn mower costs around $900 to $1100, depending on how you bargain with your serviceman. Sometimes it is better to buy a new lawn mower than replacing the engine. One way that you could use to get the most out of your damaged engine is auctioning for parts that are still in good shape. 

Auctioning of engine parts of any machine is not a new thing and without doubt, you will always get other mowers owners who’d be interested in acquiring such parts.

Why Is My Lawn Mower Not Working? 

Regular lawn mower maintenance helps keep your equipment in good condition. So if you disregard caring for your lawnmower, it will stop working as expected. Find out below some mower failures and their solutions.

Starter rope seems stuck.

The main cause of this issue is that the engine flywheel brake is engaged. You can prevent it by bringing down the flywheel to the handle before pulling the starter rope. 

Another cause for a stuck starter rope is when your mower blade is clogged with grass clippings. The simplest way to mend this is to position your mower on a flat surface, turn it off and disengage the spark plug wire. After that, remove the excessive clippings on the underside of your mower using a stick, then resume the normal mowing position. 

Your mower won’t start.

This problem results from using old gas. So if you have old gas in your mower, drain the fuel tank and supply it with fresh gas. Other potential causes include: 

  • Loose, dirty, or disengaged spark plug in your lawnmower. 
  • Dirty air filter. 
  • A dirty fuel filter restricts sufficient fuel from reaching the engine; therefore, your machine stops working. If this happens, tap either side of the carburetor to assist in gas flow. If it doesn’t work, purchase a new fuel filter. 

Losing Power While Mowing

Sudden loss of power while mowing means you have a dirty air filter, dirty spark plug, bent mower blade, or you’re trimming tall grass. You can handle this by adjusting the cutting height, replacing the air filter and spark plug, then sharpening or replacing the blades. 

How Do I Service My Riding Lawn Mower? 

Riding lawn mowers make yard tasks easy with their 3 in 1 convertibility design. This means you can deploy it for bagging, mulching, and side discharge. But as you multitask your ride-on mower, its components wear out with time. And for that, you will need to service it to resume its original state. This guide offers general steps on how to service your riding lawn mower. Read on! 

Step 1: Replace the spark plug wire

Start by placing your riding mower on a flat level surface. Disengage the spark plug wire located behind the seat and check if it’s damaged or worn out. If damaged, replace them with new ones as damaged plugs can decrease your engine’s fuel efficiency and power output. 

Carefully examine the numbers on the old plug and ensure you use them as a cross-reference to the replacement plug. You do this because using a spark plug with the wrong specs can be lethal to your engine. 

Step 2: Change the oil

Take off the oil tank cover and be prepared to discharge the used oil. Many riding mowers incorporate a drain plug that you can use with a plastic drain sleeve. But the best way to drain oil from the tank is by using the Arnold siphon pump. 

Place the pump at the oil tank’s outlet and drain out all the existing oil. Please refer to the user’s manual for the type and amount of new oil required to refill. Doing this prevents overfilling, which can be as fatal as underfilling. 

Tip

Your mower’s engine oil should be replaced after every 50 hours of use and before storing in the fall. That’s because, with time, heat and friction break down your oil’s ability to lubricate moving parts.

Besides, worn engine particles also compile in the oil and cause premature engine wear. It is equally important to replace the oil filter as it aids in removing worn impurities and dirt from the engine’s lubrication system. 

Step 3: Clean or replace the air filter

The next step is to service the air filter. Possessing a clean air filter is important for your engine’s health. When dirt compiles in your air filter, your engine starts to choke, burning more fuel and losing power.

Look for a compatible filter with your mower as a loose filter allows dirt to be sucked into the engine inducing damage. And as experts suggest, check your air filter after around 25 hours of use to remove dirt. Then replace it after 100 hours of use and before storing the mower in the fall of the mowing season. 

Ideally, if your mower has a pre-filter, it’s easy to clean it with liquid detergent and water but ensure you dry it completely. 

Step 4: Replace the Blades 

Mowing with worn blades can tear your grass roughly instead of trimming it, rendering it vulnerable to disease. Dull and worn blades also make the tip of the grass turn brown. Therefore, I recommend that you sharpen your mower blades as necessary and replace them if they are bent.

Achieving this is very simple: place your mower on wooden lawn mower ramps and ensure the deck is up to give you enough space to work underneath. After that, check your back wheels to ensure the mower doesn’t move. 

Next, engage the parking brake and disconnect the spark plug to prevent accidental startups. Once you’re set, unfasten the nut that holds the blades onto the spindle using a fifteen-sixteenth socket and a breaker bar. This step is quite challenging because as you turn the nut, the blades turn too. So better equip yourself with protective gloves to avoid injuries. 

After uninstalling the old blade, check to ensure it has a similar pattern to the new blade. Also, as you install the new blade, ensure the right side seats up. Most riding mowers have a label indicating which side faces up to make your work easy. Next, take your torque wrench, install the new blade correctly, and tighten it up to avoid vibrations when mowing. 

Tip

Mowing with a bent blaze causes excess vibrations and unsafe trimming conditions. Therefore, if your mower blade is damaged, bent, or chipped, replace it. 

Step 5: Disconnect the belt guards and check the belts.

The next step involves inspecting the belts to see if they are worn or damaged. If that’s the case, refer to your user guide for the correct part number and always use legitimate factory belts. That’s because such options have specific length, strength, and shape for peak performance and durability. However, servicing these belts is a challenging task. So it’s best to call a serviceman to replace them for you. 

Step 6: Examine the front and back tires

You should not neglect to examine your tires for excessive wear or damage. Please take your time to check for proper inflation and replace the tires depending on their severity. 

Lastly, be sure to review your mower to ensure all fasteners are tight. Then take a damp rag and wipe up any lingering spills. After that, rejoin the spark plug wire to its exact position and test the mower. 

Tip

If you plan to avoid hard starts, add a high-quality fuel stabilizer to your gas can. This enables your fuel to remain fresh over time and burn appropriately. 

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Riding Lawn Mower? 

When your riding lawn mower suffers any damage, you will need a competent mechanic to fix it for you. But how much will it cost you? The price of fixing a riding mower depends on the severity of the damage and which part you want to fix. For instance, a mower specialist will charge you $60 per hour to fix any irregularities. The engine is quite expensive, going at around $900 for complete replacement. 

How Often Does a Ride-on Mower Need Servicing? 

A well-maintained riding lawn mower offers many seasons of reliable service. But how often should you service it? It’s recommended to service your riding mower annually, especially at the end of the grass growing season. 

Precautions of Using a Lawn Mower

  • Never leave your lawnmower in a damp place because the engine Is not waterproof. 
  • Always refer to the operator’s guide for oil change schedules to ensure your engine doesn’t endure internal wear. 
  • Never trim grass at steep angles. Instead, maintain a maximum of 15 degrees tilt when mowing slopes in a sideways motion. 
  • If your mower encompasses a grass collector, confirm that it’s shut down firmly and the safety switch makes contact when engaging the cutters. If not, your mower will cut out when engaging the blades. 
  • Never leave wet grass or mud on your equipment as they can foster metal components to rust. Also, the grass and dirt surrounding the engine can clog the cooling fins causing overheating and damage. 

Is It Ok to Wash Your Riding Lawn Mower? 

Yes, it’s advisable to wash your riding lawn mower, but you need to exercise some care in the process to avoid damage. Check out these precautions: 

  • Don’t spray directly on electrical system components when washing the mower, as you will reap a negative effect. 
  • Again, you should never spray water on the bearings as they might seize up and stop rotating smoothly. 
  • It’s recommended you wash your mower on a sunny day, so each component dries quickly. 

How Do I Clean the Bottom of My Riding Lawn Mower? 

It’s not easy to clean under a riding mower because it’s a large machine. Fortunately, you can handle this task easily by employing the right procedure as aligned below: 

First, you will need to move your mower to the cleaning area. Then use a lift to raise the front wheels off the ground to access the underside easily. Make sure you do this cautiously to avoid unexpected injuries. After securing the front wheel off the ground, rinse below the mower with a hose and brush it with an all-purpose detergent.

Don’t rush to rinse off the detergent. Instead, let it sit for around ten minutes on the surface to loosen the stubborn dirt. Then rinse it off with high-pressured water and allow the equipment to dry before lowering it down. 

Tips On Mowing a Steep Hill With a Riding Lawn Mower? 

A riding lawn mower makes mowing grass a simple task, but steep hills present a challenge. The steep terrain increases the chances of your mower tipping on one side, which is dangerous to the operator. So before mowing steep hills with your riding mower, follow all safe operating procedures to evade accidents. 

  • Scope Out Hazards

Steep slopes present more danger than flat terrains. So before mowing steep slopes, watch out for potential hazards. Check if the surface has holes, ruts, drop-offs, or unequal ground, and remove all obstacles that can affect your mower. If the surface presents large obstacles, don’t mow with a riding mower, as it will likely tip over and possibly harm you. 

  • Limit Attachments 

Attachments like a grass catcher or a mulcher enhance the mowing experience, but they are not handy when mowing a steep terrain. These attachments make the riding mower less stable, increasing the chances of tipping over. So it’s wise to limit such things for a safe mowing condition on steep hills. 

  • Go Slow

You can only mow a slope safely by driving slowly and steadily. Mowing at high speed means you’ll easily lose control of the machine and eventually flip over. 

How Do I Know If My Riding Lawn Mower Fuel Filter is Bad? 

A fuel filter Is an important accessory in keeping your riding lawn mower running as expected. It’s normally located either in the fuel line or the fuel tank, and it’s designed to keep strange particles from penetrating the carburetor. But how do I know if my riding lawn mower fuel filter is faulty? 

You can tell that your fuel filter is bad if the mower decreases performance and has issues starting the engine. Ideally, you need to remove the fuel filter to check for potential problems. 

Here are the common signs that imply your fuel filter is defective: 

  • Poor engine performance

A clogged fuel filter makes your mower engine randomly sputter or surge. This can be more prominent, especially when accelerating up a steep incline as it starves the engine the sufficient fuel required to keep going. 

  • Hard starting

If you notice your riding mower takes longer than usual cranking before the engine ignites, the fuel filter is faulty. The only way to sort this issue is to replace the fuel filter with a new one, but refer to the operator’s guide for the filter replacement procedure. 

  • Stalling

If your mower engine frequently stalls while driving, this is an indication that your fuel filter is dirty. A dirty fuel filter restricts fuel delivery to the engine, making stalling excessive on acceleration. A quick fix to this is replacing the fuel filter to avoid knocking out your engine. 

  • Smelly Fumes

A riding mower that’s in good condition rarely emits smelly fumes. So when your mower starts producing smelly fumes, chances are your air filter is clogged, preventing enough fuel from reaching the combustion chamber. If this occurs, changing or cleaning the fuel filters won’t be an option but a must. 

What Happens If You Put Fuel Filter On Backwards? 

Putting a fuel filter backward can cause problems. For instance, it can limit fuel flow to the engine, causing increased wear to the fuel pump. 

Thanks to today’s manufacturers, some of their models have visible labels indicating the correct installation method. 

Can You Tip a Riding Lawn Mower on Its Side? 

Yes, it’s possible to tip a riding lawn mower on its side, but the main concern is fuel and oil leaks. So to avoid this, you will need to tilt the mower with the carburetor and air filter facing up, so the oil doesn’t drain into it. If not, your mower will have problems starting up. 

How Do I Jack Up My Riding Lawn Mower? 

A hydraulic jack is handy in lifting heavy equipment like a riding lawnmower. However, you need to position the jack well to avoid crushing down your mower. 

Positioning the jack varies based on whether you plan to raise the mower’s front or back end.  

Use these steps to jack up your riding mower safely. 

Step 1 

Move the mower to an open and even area, engage the parking brake, and disjoin the spark plug. 

Step 2

Place the hydraulic jack below your riding mower and secure it to the jack guard on your lawnmower. If your equipment doesn’t have a jack guard, place the jack below the mower’s frame. Don’t place it below the mower housing, as you will demolish it. 

Step 3 

Lastly, crank the hydraulic jack handle to elevate the mower as high as possible. This way, you won’t risk damaging the mower frame. Once you’re through, do your maintenance practices carefully to avoid being hit by the mower mistakenly. 

Why Does Grass Buildup Under the Mower Deck? 

The reason grass compiles under your mower deck is because you’re mowing wet grass, tall grass, or mowing with dull blades. These three aspects increase the odds of grass build-up under the mower deck.

Luckily, you can sort this by cleaning the underside of the mower deck immediately after mowing. This will be much easier than allowing the grass to dry on the mower deck, presenting a rough time scratching off the grass with a stiff brush. 

Conclusion

It’s now dawning on people that riding lawn mowers is the way to go for commercial and residential lawns. These machines are equipped with contemporary features to meet your lawn needs. However, planning to buy one of these machines will pose several questions in your mind, such as…

Should I Buy a Used or New Riding Lawn Mower?

It’s best to settle on a new riding lawn mower for an optimal mowing experience. Such options come with easy-to-use features, plus their comfort of use is unparalleled. Let not the low price of a used mower fool you, as you might end up with below-average equipment. 

Thanks for reading this article, and I hope it has solved your lawn mowing related questions. Please share your concerns with us in the comment section and get your questions answered. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top