How do I Choose the Best Used Riding Lawn Mower?

K. K. Lowen

When acquiring a used riding lawn mower, there are a number of factors to consider. Discovering whether the lawn mower has received proper maintenance over its service life is important, as is the identification of any existing problems or functional issues the machine might have. Finding out why the owner has decided to sell the riding lawn mower may be wise as well.

When choosing a used riding lawn mower, the owner should test it in front of a potential buyer to ensure that it runs properly.
When choosing a used riding lawn mower, the owner should test it in front of a potential buyer to ensure that it runs properly.

Observe the condition of the lawn mower’s main components. The examination will determine whether you will need to purchase replacement parts after obtaining the used riding lawn mower. Look at the cutting blades to see if they are dull or damaged. Make sure that the motor is not leaking any oil or other fluids. You also should assess the quality of the tires or wheels to decide how much wear they have, and how much longer you can use them without mending, adjustment, or replacement.

Before choosing a used riding lawn mower, you should ask the owner to test it, ensuring that it runs properly. By seeing the riding lawn mower in action, you may observe problems that are otherwise unnoticeable, such as abnormal engine sounds. You also may want to operate the lawn mower yourself to see if it meets your needs.

If you have knowledge pertaining to small engine repair, you may want to obtain a lower price by looking for a used riding lawn mower that has engine problems. If you opt for lesser quality, make sure to consider the cost of lawn mower parts and the time needed to make the necessary repairs. The combined costs of the mower, parts, and labor sometimes cost more than purchasing a used lawn mower that is in good condition.

Repairing a used lawn mower may be a preferable option for those who wish to pay a lower overall price. If you can detect an existing problem, you may wish to find out how much the repairs would cost because some issues may be inexpensive to fix. You also may want to purchase a guide on repairing riding lawn mowers before finalizing a purchase. If you do not feel confident about making repairs, you could choose to have the mower repaired or overhauled by a professional. Unless the machine’s initial cost is very low, purchasing a well-maintained used riding lawn mower may be a less expensive option.

Lwn mower accessories may alter the price as well. There are a wide range of supplemental items related to riding lawn mowers, including grass catchers and other mulching equipment. A snow plow or snow blower is also a popular accessory in colder climates. You should ask if the owner intends to include the accessories before purchasing the lawn mower.

Once you have found a mower that you like, you may want to research the specific make and model of the used riding lawn mower. Using consumer guides or checking customer satisfaction ratings via the Internet before purchasing may be wise. If in doubt about any aspect of a used riding lawn mower purchase, you may want to discuss your concerns with someone who has experience, such as employees at a store that sells new riding lawn mowers.

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Discussion Comments


Many people think that if they get a used riding lawn mower with a good engine then they have gotten a good mower that won't give them a lot of repair concerns. Naturally, you want to check the engine carefully to be sure there are no obvious damages. However, generally, the engine on a riding mower is not where the machine will break down first.

The areas that are most likely to require repair on a used mower are the belts, battery and wiring. As mentioned in this article, the blades and blade deck are also likely to give you problems when they have not been well maintained.


A good way to determine whether you are getting a good price on the price of a used mower is to find out what the mower would have cost you when it was new and then subtract half the value. Of course, the actual price depends on many factors, but if you are paying more than 50 percent of the original price for a used mower then make sure you know the reason why.

I have bought two used riding lawn mowers. I paid very little for the first one, much less than 50 percent of the original price. I bought the mower from a mechanic who also worked on my car. He agreed to repair the mower and not charge labor costs if anything went wrong with it.

The mower worked well the first two or three times I mowed my lawn. Then things started to go wrong. The mechanic repaired the mower the first couple times I had problems, and I just paid for the parts. Eventually, repairing the mower became too expensive and too time consuming.

I paid more for my second used riding mower and I had a much better experience. I definitely felt like I got my money's worth the second time around.

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