2 Stroke Equipment Life Expectancy

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by GreenGuy18, Jul 13, 2018.


How long do you hold onto 2 stroke equipment?

  1. Less than 2 years.

    0 vote(s)
  2. 2-3 years

  3. 3-5 years

  4. 5-7 years

  5. Until it's not worth repairing

  1. GreenGuy18

    GreenGuy18 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    How often are you guys getting rid of old equipment? We've got some string trimmers and blowers that are over 10 years old. We employ a mechanic and he spends 35-50% of his time working on 2 stroke equipment. One of our supervisors spends much of his time ferrying equipment to crews when their equipment goes down. For what we are spending to keep this equipment running and moving it to where it needs to be I feel like we could justify the expense of rotating the equipment out. I'm thinking 3 years and then get rid of it. What do you guys think?

    We run Shindaiwa.
  2. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,778

    What does your analysis tell you? How much money does 35-50% of a mechanic's salary cost? Plus parts. Plus downtime. Plus supervisor time to move it to the crew.

    Then factor in the time ($$) each stop where your employee struggles with a ratty old weedwacker that doesn't start or run right. Then add in the time they complain about it. Add the cost of having lots and lots of backup equipment sitting. It never ends.

    If the mechanic costs $40k per year, then 35% is $14k. If that is your budget for small equipment, you can buy 35 handhelds at $400 each, per year. Every year. So on a 3 year cycle, you replace 105 handhelds. But maybe you run hundreds of handhelds.

    A mowing crew may have 2 weedwackers and 2 blowers. So 105 handhelds can support 25+ crews.

    Another point...if you cycle out used handhelds after 3 years, you will sell it for 1/3 or up to 1/2 what you paid for it.
    Mark Stark likes this.
  3. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,778

    Another way to look at it: If a mechanic costs $200/day, and he spends a day repairing a 10 year old trimmer, plus parts, plus downtime, then you are looking at very, very expensive 10 year old trimmer.
  4. Clay Guinn

    Clay Guinn LawnSite Member
    from MT
    Messages: 79

    We have a good relationship with our dealer. We have a few backups so if one goes down use them for the day or two. We tell our dealer if it is more than 1/3 cost of a new we are just going to buy a new one. Down time or solow downs of the crews it not worth fussing over a $300 piece of equipment. Most last at least a few years without issues.
    TDzacslawncare likes this.
  5. hort101

    hort101 LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from S.E. New England
    Messages: 15,416

    When working for a company most equipment gets straight gassed long before it wears out:hammerhead:
    Walker56, Smokindog and Mow-Daddy.com like this.
  6. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,629

    Once my handheld stuff gets to be around 3-5 years old, the problems become all the little things like primer bulbs, carbs, etc.

    I don't think I have ever had an engine problem on handhelds in 20 years of lawn care. Just the nagging little things. But with trucks, mowers, handheld stuff, etc., once I lose confidence in its ability to work as dependably as I do, its gone.
  7. Hawkshot99

    Hawkshot99 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,727

    I dont really put to much money into 2 strokes. They run great for 4-5 yrs maybe more depending on how often the stuff is used. After that its stupid little things that start popping up. Parts and cost of those repairs start adding up real fast so if its more than just a simple fix I often see it as cheaper to buy new again.
  8. GreenGuy18

    GreenGuy18 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    @hackitdown, Great info sir. That makes this fairly easy. I'm thinking of throwing some hour meters on all new stuff to track use to see how this equipment holds up on large commercial vs residential. Thank you everyone else for the responses. I pledge to be a more active poster on here and help others out.
    hort101 likes this.
  9. JimsLocalLawn

    JimsLocalLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 998

    A solo part timer can get away with 5-10 years out of a trimmer. A full time mowing crew can expect 2-3 years out of the same trimmer. If your doing extremely heavy use (graveyards, state grounds, etc) you can expect 1-2 years out of the same trimmer.

    We get 2-3 years out of ours. After little things start going wrong I wrench them over winter. I get my parts online, most of which are dirt cheap. Usually rebuilding the top end tells me if the trimmer is worth keeping or not. Get a new carb / fuel line kit on it and you have essentially - a brand new trimmer. They make great backup units after that.

    2 stroke equipment is incredibly easy to work on / maintain. But during the work season I don't have time for it. So new trimmers replace the old ones and over winter the old ones get wrenched. If they pass they sit as a backup. While most pass them off as disposable I have the time and know how to fix them properly. Doesn't cost me anything to keep them and I can't replace them for what little I invest in rebuilding them. Problem is they usually sit around forever after that and never get used, but they are there if we need them.
    fritowrdo, sjessen and TDzacslawncare like this.
  10. UpNorthMowing

    UpNorthMowing LawnSite Fanatic
    from Ontario
    Messages: 10,230

    A brand new Echo carb here is 150 bucks. or buy some cheapo Chinese carbs for 30 bucks, they are good enough for most of those trimmers.

    Can get 3 years out of trimmer that is used all day for roughly 8 hours. Straight gassin' them doesn't happen very often.

    Now that I mentioned that..... :hammerhead:
    hort101 likes this.

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