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used mower questions

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by adam underwood, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. adam underwood

    adam underwood LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    this is my first year landscaping and im looking to buy a commercial mower soon. i checked out the want-ad and there seems to be several good deals but im not sure what i should be looking for. i know the basics.....but what kind of things should i be looking for when i go and check out these used mowers?
    how do these ads sounds? EXMARK METRO 36'' 5speed 15Hp 2 years old, mint condition low hours, $1350

    LESCO 36" walk behind $800
    TORO 36" walk behind $900
    SCAG #!" belt drive $800

    thanks guys
  2. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Try posting this in the commercial lawn forum instead of Landscaping...might get a few responses there.
    Perhaps the Lovely Jodi ...aka "mean ol moderator" would move it for you.
  3. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    It's dicey buying a used mower if you aren't that familiar with them. But here's what comes to mind.

    1. Does the mower look well cared for? Is it cleaned up and shiny, or rusted and shows obvious neglect. I have gone to look at used mowers and they had flat tires on them. The owner just didn't care.

    2. Engine: Check compression (some 2 cylinder models you may need a special leakdown type test) and crank it up and see how it runs. Look for oozing oil or smoking. Not an engine expert, sorry. Others may have more for you. Make sure the engine is cold when you try to start it. The owner may have hidden a problem by warming it up ahead of time. Make sure the starter cord is in good shape unless you want to be replacing it.

    3. Deck. Look underneath and see if it looks relatively clean. Is it rusted? Does it have an unusual amount of clippings stuck to it, like it was never cleaned? Cut with the mower to make sure it isn't a bent deck or has other cut quality problems.

    4. Check tire tread on rears, check to see if it's been lubed where required. Look for welds on the frame and deck where repairs were made.

    5. Shift through the gears a few times, make sure it's smooth and doesn't bind up. Run the mower up a steep hill, preferably riding a sulky behind it, to see if the transmission slips when under strain. Make sure drive and deck belts are in good shape or deduct from price.

    6. Ask about the history of the mower. Why is he selling it if it runs so great? Find out if it can be set up to bag or mulch, whichever your need. Some mowers can't mulch.

    As a rule of thumb I would pay a price that assumed that you would have to replace the engine and transmission on an older mower.

    I would never buy a mower that I could not demo enough to see if it was a junker.

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