A lawnmower is a huge investment. Thus, you’d naturally love to enjoy its service for the longest time possible. However, the number of years or months you use your machine depends on several factors, including the brand, size, and how much you use it.
A lawnmower should averagely last between eight and ten years if you take care of it and maintain it properly. If you fail to do so, your lawnmower will not last as long. Manufacturer warranties also define the average life expectancy of a lawnmower, although you can always extend it.
This article discusses all you need to know about the service life of your lawnmower, how to extend its service life, and whether it is worth fixing your broken machine or not.
How Many Years Does a Riding Lawn Mower Last?
With lawnmowers, old does not necessarily mean obsolete. Your lawnmower can hit its predicted life expectancy but keep providing you with excellent service. On the other hand, it can only last a few months. All this depends on the following factors.
How Often You Use It
According to most manufacturers, a lawnmower’s lifespan and its components and service life are indirectly proportional. Therefore, your lawnmower’s life expectancy will largely depend on how often you use it.
For example, a lawnmower that operates four times a week will not last as long as one that operates once or twice a week. This also translates to how long you use it each session.
How You Maintain It
A properly maintained and serviced lawnmower will last longer than a poorly maintained one. Lawnmowers feature different components that require various levels of service or maintenance. For example, riding lawnmower engine oils need to be changed every 100 hours because these machines have bigger engines. Also, the spark plugs and air filters require proper service every year.
Note that different parts have different life expectancies, so you should handle them differently. Here are a few examples.
Engines and Gas Tanks
These are the sturdiest components in riding lawnmowers and are most likely to live longer. However, you must help them achieve this with proper maintenance. Maintain an appropriate level of oil for your engines as having too little oil in can damage the components much quicker.
Blades are the busiest and most important components of a mower. Without them, you would have a tiny moving locomotive. Sharp blades improve the mower efficiency, making it powerful and reducing the load on the engine.
It helps to sharpen the blades every 30 to 40 hours. You can always sharpen them between 5 and 6 times before buying new ones.
Other Metallic Components
Most metallic components are very vulnerable to rust and corrosion. Thus leaving your lawnmower outside or in poorly maintained environments exposes it to natural elements like rain and moisture, which enhance this phenomenon. Therefore, you should keep your mower indoors, preferably in a garage, whenever possible.
Different projects expose your machine to different levels of strain. For example, wet grass is thicker and heavier, and thus, requires more energy from your mower than dry grass. On this type of field, your engine will also last longer and be exposed to less strain.
Similarly, cutting grass in steep terrains and hills will strain your engines more than on a flat area. The extra strain makes your engines work harder, increasing the amount of wear and tear you derive from the machines. It can reduce the life expectancy by 200 to 350 hours.
Engine Size and Build Quality
Like automobiles, lawnmowers are as powerful as their engines’ capacities, the number of cylinders, and the fuel type they use. Riding lawnmowers are generally stronger, with larger double cylinder piston engines. Push lawnmowers, on the other hand, have single-cylinder pistons, making them less powerful.
A double-cylinder piston lawnmower engine can withstand up to 1,000 service hours. On the other hand, a single-piston lawnmower can last between 500 and 700 hours of service if you maintain and service it as recommended.
The build quality and engine size will also determine the workload your machine can handle. Domestic mowers are not strong enough to handle big projects like their commercial counterparts.
How Many Hours On a Riding Lawnmower Is Considered a Lot?
Some manufacturers also measure the life expectancy of their lawnmowers in terms of hours. This mainly considers the number of hours your machine works rather than the hours it survives. An average riding lawnmower will work for about 500 to 1,000 hours. But, you can always extend this period with proper maintenance and care.
How to Increase the Life Expectancy of a Lawnmower?
Most riding lawnmowers have an expected time frame that manufacturers expect them to serve, depending on the usage and above factors. However, all this depends on how you handle your machines. Here are a few tricks that will help you prolong your mower’s service life.
Use High-Quality Fuel
High-quality riding lawnmowers need the highest quality fuel. While this may mean that you increase the amount you spend in the short run, it proves to be a better choice in the long run. It helps protect the vital parts, meaning that you spend less money and time on repairs and replacements.
Fuel with ethanol content can wear and degrade mower parts, especially plastic and rubber parts. Low-quality gas can also gum up in your motor, interfering with its efficiency.
Adding stabilizers to your gasoline is an excellent way to reduce the ethanol effect, protecting it from gumming up your motor and wearing the components.
It would also help if you made it a habit to siphon out any remnant fuel at the end of the season. Never leave fuel sitting in the mower during the winter when you aren’t using the machine.
Change Your Oils as Recommended
Fuel provides the energy your mower needs to move, but oil is its lifeblood. Both must work in unison for maximum efficiency and a prolonged lifespan.
Caring for your lawnmower with high-quality, clean oil is vital. Although I recommend premium oil, you must make an effort to change it regularly. Always check on the user manual for the right schedule on when to change the oil.
Check Your Filters
Most users tend to overlook this step, but it is as essential as any other routine maintenance practice. Moreover, filters are very affordable and easy to install, so replacing them shouldn’t be a big deal.
Most lawnmowers have two filters, one for fuel and the other for oil. You only need basic skills to remove and replace them. Plus, it only takes a few seconds. Your user manual indicates where to find the filters. I recommend changing those every time you change the oil.
Check Your Battery and Spark Plugs
Typical spark plugs need to be changed after about 100 hours of use. However, you can always check with your user guide for brand recommendations. Old, damaged spark plugs are not too good for your mower and can damage the motor. They also impact the lawnmower’s overall performance.
Electric mowers also largely depend on their batteries for effectiveness. If you have one, I recommend that you recharge the batteries in the winter when you are not using your mower. It will prolong the battery’s service life.
On the contrary, leaving the battery empty for a long time diminishes its ability to fully recharge. Therefore, you would not enjoy its full potential when you need it.
Take Care of Your Blades
As stated earlier, blades are the busiest parts of a mower. Giving it the attention it deserves increases the efficiency of your mover and reduces the workload on other parts. The best way to ensure this is to sharpen the blades regularly. This should be done about three times across the cutting season.
A dull blade will only tear the grass rather than slicing it. As a result, the torn grass will turn brown or yellow at the tip, harming your landscape’s aesthetics, which will lack its desired lush green appearance.
Aside from sharpening the blades, you must protect them to ensure they don’t look dull. Try to evade any sharp corners, large stones, and rocks that may damage the metal.
Keep a Clean Lawn Mower and Lubricate the Moving Parts
Lawnmowers feature metal components that are vulnerable to rust. Such debris accumulates moisture that corrodes the metal parts and may damage the components. Therefore, you should remove any grass clippings that may get trapped in these components.
The grass clipping may also accumulate on the washout parts and interfere with the airflow. You can always clean the clippings from underneath the mower, using a screwdriver or stick to pluck the stuck clumps off.
Before doing this, you must turn your mower off to avoid electrocution. Spray-on lubricants can also come in handy in case you have a huge grass clipping build-up.
Is It Worth Buying a Riding Mower?
The debate around whether it is worth buying a riding lawnmower or not lies around two things: the size of your property and your budget. Generally, these machines are affordable, have low fuel consumption rates, and are relatively easy to operate.
A riding lawnmower is a worthy investment for most homeowners because the machine allows you to handle your lawn trimming chores a lot faster and more easily than with a push mower. Instead of walking and pushing a bulky machine, you only need to set yourself on the driver’s seat and operate it as you would your car. All you need to master are the few buttons to push and the gears to shift.
You can pick either of these three choices as a homeowner: riding lawn mowers, self-propelled mowers, and riding lawn mowers. Here is how the three compare.
Riding Lawn Mower Vs. Walk-Behind Mower
As its name suggests, a typical walk-behind or push lawnmower requires the operator to walk behind and guide it through the landscape. Most of them come with about 30-inch wide cutting decks. This means that while they make decent swathes, you will take a considerable time if you want to work on a large yard.
Push mowers are typically a great option for flat, small, and medium-sized lawns. They also rely on your power pushing and guiding it forward, so it may be exhausting to work uphill and on a large surface.
Meanwhile, riding mowers are a perfect option when you want to trim overgrown lawns, thick grass, damp grass, and weedy patches. They save a considerable amount of time and energy.
However, push mowers are ideal for small spaces that ride mowers can’t access because of their sizes. Walk-behind mowers can also be ideal when working down a steep slope. Riding mowers can also handle such terrains, although they are not safe.
Walk-behind mowers also score better in terms of cost. They are a bit cheaper in almost all aspects, from purchase prices to fuel consumption.
Riding Lawn Mowers Vs. Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers
Both self-propelled mowers and riding mowers have unique advantages and disadvantages. Both require less human effort compared to push mowers. However, a self-propelled mower still requires you to walk behind and guide it. This may also need a lot of effort, especially if you have to work uphill or over a large piece of land.
However, riding lawnmowers are a bit more expensive than self-propelled mowers. Therefore, they won’t fit everyone’s budget. So, if you have a small area to work on, I recommend that you go for a self-propelled mower instead.
Self-propelled mowers are flexible and a better choice to work in tight spaces, such as between buildings, flower beds, and trees. Lastly, riding lawnmowers have tip risk on hilly places and may not be a safe choice for smaller, hilly areas.
Riding Lawn Mowers Vs. Zero Turn Mowers
The pattern of mowing is the primary difference between these two tools. With riding lawnmowers, you will have to turn the mower in two directions. First, get to the end of each grass swath and turn it in the opposite direction. The full turning mechanism leaves some patches of uncut grass, denying you the beauty that comes with a uniformly trimmed yard.
On the other hand, a zero-turn lawnmower turns on the dime, allowing it to cut the grass without interfering with the blade carefully. This allows the utmost efficiency across your yard.
Zero turns are also faster than riding lawnmowers. With those, you will finish mowing much quicker. Conventional zero-turn mowers can reach up to 5 to 8 mph, while commercially available options can get up to 13 mph.
However, zero turns are quite huge and bulky. They are also more expensive both in terms of purchase and maintenance costs. If you are looking for domestic use, I recommend buying a riding lawnmower, unless you have a vast yard.
Is It Worth Fixing a Lawnmower?
Lawnmower issues are inevitable as you use the machine. Everything looks OK during the first few months. But soon, you begin to deal with broken cables and defaulting belts.
Most problems, like pull cords and belts or tire issues, are easy to fix. However, you will encounter more significant mechanical problems that may be more expensive to fix. Deciding on whether to fix this issue or dispose of the tool is an individual choice.
In most cases, this choice will rest on how much you will have to part with to fully restore the machine. At times, the cost may be so significant that you decide to invest in a new lawnmower.
For instance, replacing the spark plugs or blades is not expensive and is way cheaper than purchasing a new mower. Even more moderate issues, like dirty carburetors, are quite cheap to fix.
On the other hand, massive issues, like those that have to do with the transmission, engine, and mostly internal damages, will be expensive to repair. Broken pistons and rods are way more expensive to repair than buying a new mower, for example. The same applies to crankshaft damages that happen when your lawnmower hits a hard object.
Generally, you will have to pay between $800 and $9,000 to repair a blown riding mower engine. This is roughly about half of what a new mower costs. Transmission repairs also cost about $400 to $500. This is a lot for a lawnmower you have been using for quite some time.
Depending on the number of years you’ve used your mower, buying a new one might be the best choice.
Indeed, another thing to consider in this matter is the life expectancy of your lawnmower. If you have been using your mower for more than a decade, you should probably consider replacing it instead of repairing it every now and then because even if you replace a component now, another one will inevitably break down in no time. In such cases, the mower will be much more expensive to maintain.
Note that, depending on the brand, some new riding lawnmowers come with warranties. If your machine breaks down or fails within the stipulated period, take it back to the vendor, and they will sort it out for you. Most vendors will not resolve damages due to personal negligence or expired warranties, so be careful not to waste your time.