First Time Buyer GuideThings to consider before Buying a Zero Turn Mower!

What to Look for when Buying a Used Zero Turn Mower

Buying a brand new mower can be a pricey investment and with access to web sites like Craigslist and Ebay it can be very easy to find used mowers at great prices. However buying used can quickly become a nightmare. So you may consider buying a used zero turn mower which is a much cheaper option. Buying used offers a much lower initial investment but there are many other aspects you must consider which could end up costing you more money in the long run. If your considering buying used, before you do, read our tips and guide below to help avoid wasting your money.


Is the Mower Currently being used?


Like with anything a used zero turn mower can deteriorate while not in use. Bearings and bushings can dry out. Seals can leak, crack and dry out. Be sure to inspect all of the rubber components for dry rot, leaks if it's a grease fitting and/or cracking. If the mower is currently being used that probably means it is in good working order and has been maintained. Go over the mower with a fine tooth comb. If the mower has not been used recently you should insist on starting the mower up and going for a test drive to confirm every thing works properly. Also ask the seller about it's maintenance and if they have kept a service log.


If the mower hasn't been used that means that the engine hasn't recently been ran. Internal components can literately rust together when not properly maintained or lubed. This is called a Seized Engine. Do not buy a mower like this unless you are planning on replacing the engine. After a engine seizes up it will be prone to infinite repairs since parts will no longer fit together properly.



How was the Mower Used?


Ask questions and find out how the mower was used. Was it used personally just for the homeowners lawn or was it used commercially by a landscaper. Most zero turn mowers have hour meters. Check to see how many hours there is. The average homeowner uses their mower for about 40-50 hours per year. Well maintained zero turn mower should last for 10-20 years depending on use. Personally used zero turn mowers are generally in the best condition since they are used much less and used by the owners. This mean they are usually taken better care of. Many commercially used mowers are used by employees that do not care to keep up with maintenance and generally will abuse the equipment.


Buying a used zero turn mower could save you money
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As a general rule while looking at used mowers to buy try to avoid commercially used mowers. These will usually have been used for over 2000 hours and be nearing the end of their lifespan. All too often decks and pulleys will be bent causing belts to wear much faster or fall off. Transmissions could slip, bushing and bearings could be wore out, engine seals could be bad causing more oil consumption. The list goes on and you could have endless repairs on your hands causing you to actually spend more money then just buying a new mower. Of course if you are mechanically inclined by all means you could find a good deal that needs just a little bit of repair.




What Condition is the Engine In?


If the engine is in bad shape then your mower is useless. It is safe to say that the engine and deck are the most important aspect of the zero turn mower and in fact the easiest to neglect due to all their moving parts. Check for oil leaks and inspect the air filter for debris. Dirty filters could be an indication of poor maintenance. As with anything ask questions about the mowers service and obtain a maintenance log if possible. Make sure the oil has been changed at the appropriate internals. See if the engine starts smoothly and make sure it does not continuously blow smoke. Little puffs of smoke at initial start up is nothing to be worried about. If you would like to learn about how to diagnose and repair lawn mower engines, Click Here and read our review on the Lawn Mowers Made Easy Guide.



What Condition is the Deck In?


The mowing deck takes the most abuse of all. All too often cutting blades or shafts can be bent from running over rocks or other yard debris. These bent components can cause bad vibrations which cause problems such as uneven cutting. Inspect the deck for cracks and if possible check underneath the deck. If you come across a crack be aware this is considered severe damage and will be a costly repair. It is recommended to repair the deck housing which will cost several hundred dollars. Scratches and dents are common and will not pose a problem.



Pros of Buying Used


-Lower initial cost

-Better “bang for your buck”

-Save money



Cons of Buying Used


-No Warranty

-Parts could be worn out

-Poor service could cause untimely repairs

-Potential safety issues if deck is cracked

-Repair costs could make buying used more expensive then just buying new

-All these variables could cause a poor and uneven cut


We can not protect ourselves in every situation but taking a little caution and doing a little research can save a lot of potential headaches later. If you are looking for help in buying or researching used zero turn mowers please contact us or comment below.


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