Warning: read this before you buy a used mower.

Buying used outdoor power equipment can be a great way to save money but it can also open a can of worms and end up costing if repairs are needed. How do you know if a used lawn mower is going to be a good deal? That’s what one of our forum member’s asked when he wrote no the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum “I have found a deal on a 2007 ExMark LZ25KC604 60″ with 25 HP Kohler with 240 Hours. I have been offered this for $3000.00. It appears to be in great shape.

This is my first zero turn and I have been looking at Scags and Exmarks. What should I look for before I decide? I think this is a good deal. Any comments or suggestions appreciated.”

Before you buy a used mower

Before you buy a used mower

Thankfully another one of our forum members is a outdoor power equipment dealer and he knows his stuff. This is what Eli shared with us and it will help all of us when we are looking at used outdoor power equipment. He responded “First, are you buying this from a Dealer or from an individual? If from a dealer, will they give you any warranty? Since you have been looking at new mowers of the same brand, how much would a similar one cost you new? Assuming it has no warranty and passes the test as follows below, I would pay no more than about 60-70% of new price similar piece of equipment. Do you know if $3000 is the lowest price you can get on it? Have you tried to get a lower price?

Here are some questions I am sure you already know the answers to, but for everyone’s benefit I will post the questions anyway.

1. If you are buying from an individual, why are they selling it?

2. Was it used to mow their own yard only? or was it used for commercial use (to mow more than their own lawn).

3. Can you verify their answer to #2 without asking them directly or even indicating you are questioning their answer (”no longer need this big of a mower”, or “decided to get out of the lawn care business”, or….. Just think, “does their answer make sense?”)?

4. Do they have maintenance records? Will they provide these records to you to preview before the purchase? Will they provide these records to you with the purchase?

5. Can they tell you who serviced the equipment when it was serviced? Can you verify this?

6. If buying from a dealer, have they serviced the mower including sharpen the blades, check the belts, change spark plugs, Air Filter, Fuel Filter, and oil?

7, Have they ever serviced this mower before buying it?

8, Did they sell the mower new?

8, Why did the original owners sell it? (Again, think about their answer to see if it makes sense or not. Typically power equipment dealers are considerably more honest than car dealers but there are a few here and there that may still lie to you….)

9, Do they know if the owners were the caring type?

10, How does this mower compare in price to other mowers the Dealer is selling?

11, Will the dealer show you or tell you what the blue book value is for the mower?

12, Does the mower have an hour meter on it so you know it only has 240 hours on it or is this a “guesstimation”? (This applies to both Dealers and individuals)

Either way, look for these signs of wear, abuse or lack of maintenance:

A. What is the over all appearance of the mower (look for chipped paint, bent parts, etc.)?

B. Do the tires have any signs of being “plugged”?

C. Do the tires appear to have lots of wear?

D. Remove the dipstick to see what the oil looks like (look for black oil, is there enough oil, etc)? If you don’t know what black oil looks like, pull the oil dipstick out of your car when it reaches 3000 miles after an oil change. Or, take a mechanic friend with you to look at the mower.

E. Check for loose parts (loose or missing bolts). This is a good indication this mower has been taken apart in the past or that the owner has been abusive with the mower/engine.

F. **Caution, it is recommended that you wear gloves while doing this part of the check up. Also remove the Ignition Key to prevent anyone from trying to start it while you are doing this.** Reach under the mower deck and grab a blade. Now try to move it up and down, checking for deck bearing wear. Also check for blade sharpness, dings to the blade’s cutting edge, bent blades, and large deposits of grass underneath the deck.

If you let me know what the model of the engine is (i.e. SV710, CV940, etc) I can tell you how often the engine oil is supposed to be changed. In typical cases it should be changed once per year or every 100-150 hours, depending on the particular motor. Knowing after how many hours the oil needs to be changed helps you know how often the needs to have been changed. It is recommended to change the oil at least once per year.”

If you would like to join in on this discussion further, visit this post at the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum here.

How to inspect a used mower before you buy it. GopherHaul 43 Lawn Care Business Software Show.

GopherHaul 43 lawn care business podcast

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