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What questions to ask when looking at a used mower?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by aplawnguy, May 1, 2010.

  1. aplawnguy

    aplawnguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I'm looking to purchase some used equipment, primarily another ZTR or walk-behind. I've been looking at craigslist a lot and I see a couple that I'm interested in. Year, hours, engine size/output...seem like no-brainers to include in a posting, but some fail to list those details. What other types of questions should I be asking people so I don't end up with a sour deal?

  2. BINKY1902

    BINKY1902 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from South
    Messages: 1,123

    If it's a walk behind you would want to ask if it's a belt drive or hydro. Get the serial number and you could get the specs on it, to see if the original engine is still there, etc.
  3. aplawnguy

    aplawnguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

  4. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    Here's a list of things to ask/do when looking at used mowers (after knowing brand, model, engine, deck size, hydro/belt drive)....

    Prior to starting mower:

    -Get the serial number to confirm age of mower
    -Visually inspect mower for any obvious damage
    -Inspect engine (ie, oil, air filter, etc), this can tell you how the owner took care of the mower.
    -Inspect the deck. Check for cracks, broken welds, broken spindles or pullies, blade condition, etc.
    -Check condition of belts
    -Check hydro oil (if applicable)
    -Note any oil residue around where the mower is parked or on the mower itself that the machine may be leaking.

    After starting mower:

    -Start mower from cold to ensure that it starts properly
    -Look for any major smoke upon start up
    -Let mower run at full throttle and ensure it runs smoothly with no smoking
    -Idle mower to ensure the engine will run at idle fairly smoothly
    -Engage PTO at appropriate rpm and increase to full throttle. Make sure PTO engages properly and no abnormal noises.
    -If possible, cut an area of grass to see how the mower actually cuts.
    -Drive the mower around, note any abnormal operation of the hydros
    -Let mower run for another couple minutes to make sure that it warms up properly, continue to listen to the engine and make sure it continues to run smoothly and doesn't smoke.

    After shutting mower down:

    -Park the mower in a clean spot (preferrably on concrete)
    -Let mower cool down and reinspect fluids
    -Once mower has sat for a bit look around the mower for any fluids that may have leaked from the machine.

    ***Make sure to inspect wear items (ie, tires, belts, blades, etc) that may need to be replaced as this can affect your offer on the machine***

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