When to retire mowers ?

Scott's Lawn Maintenance

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
With the high cost of mowers is there a point when a machine is just not worth keeping ? Let's say a machine is 10 years or older , or has high hours or needs a costly repair ? When they get older and have no problems like my 2001 Lazer Hp do you just run them until they cost to much to fix ? I have always done the require maintenance on the machine and have not had any major problems with it .
 

weeze

LawnSite Fanatic
i imagine you will get all sorts of answers...some trade their mower in once it gets 1000 or 1500 hrs on it to try to get some money out of the trade in.....others run them over 2000 or until they break down...i figure as long as it's working properly i'll keep using it until it stops working....by that time you aren't gonna get any money for it by selling it or trading it in....at least not very much so get what you can out of it then maybe scrap the metal or something when it gets too expensive to be worth fixing it....or you could trade it in every 500hrs or something and constantly keep getting new mowers...i dunno if that would be worth it or not as far as money goes.
 

ralph02813

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Charlestown, RI
With the high cost of mowers is there a point when a machine is just not worth keeping ? Let's say a machine is 10 years or older , or has high hours or needs a costly repair ? When they get older and have no problems like my 2001 Lazer Hp do you just run them until they cost to much to fix ? I have always done the require maintenance on the machine and have not had any major problems with it .
A friend of mine is a mechanic, he said, if everything else is perfect on a vehicle you can spend up to 20% of the original cost to fix it. Once you pass that you are sending good money after bad. So, look at the cost of the new mower and don't spend more than 20% of the cost to fix it - for your 2001 lazer, bring it into the living room and wrap in in warm blankets and say your prayers! :cool2:
 

Richard Martin

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Greenville, NC
Run it until it cost more than it is worth to keep it running.
But how do you determine whether or not it's worth it to keep it? I think that is what the original poster wants to know.

I mean if you look at it from the standpoint that a new mower costs $10k plus then you could spend a lot of money on an old mower and still not get close to $10k in repairs.
 

weeze

LawnSite Fanatic
the thing is you don't wanna spend alot on a repair and then have something else break and have to spend alot more money again....i'd say if you could fix it for $2000 or less then fix it...which is 20% like the other guy said in an earlier post.
 

LindblomRJ

LawnSite Silver Member
Well not sure how to quantify it with numbers. Or if there is a magic formula or number that would work across the board. Say you invest in a 10,000 mower, assuming an wheel motor goes, you'd replace it.

Or 5 years out an engine needs replacing... It might be worthwhile to replace the engine. Or there is the potential to trade in a mower...

The other way to look at it is your trade difference towards a new mower compared to repairing your current machine. If you can't trade for a decent price or sell for a decent price, you might be money ahead or well spent fixing up current machine. An engine might run you $1500. Or $4000 for a brand new machine... If the rest of the mower is solid, you might be money ahead to repower the older machine.

You don't need a brand new machine to make money.
 

DQL10

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Richmond, VA
It all depends on whether you want to keep putting money into it to keep it running or not. I currently have a 1995 Exmark Lazer Z in my line-up that gets used everyday. Although it only had 300ish hours on it when I got it in March. Put about 500 bucks into it for various parts that wear out and it was good to go. Most mowers life spans from what Ive read are about 2000 hours. But have seen some that go way over that if maintenance has been done. I would say that its all about doing the correct maint on the machine and if something does break down, are you able to afford the repair and or the down time it can take to fix.
 

TLS

LawnSite Fanatic
It all depends on what needs replacing....

Parts alone can add up!

These are worse case scenario, dealer price, etc. for PARTS only. No labor! (rounded up to include tax/shipping)

Engine $3000
Hydro Pumps $1200
Wheel Motors $1500
Tires $400
Spindle assys. $400
Seat $400
PTO Clutch $300
Deck pulleys/idlers $300
Belts $100

TOTAL $7600


That's just some things you might need to spend money on to bring an older 4,000+hr (5-10 year old) ZTR back to being a first stringer for use every day. Again, they are high side estimates in worse case scenarios.

I didn't even get into labor. It's either a dealer's labor, or your own.

Ideally, over the years, I buy new every 4-5 years. I then take the older mower and put it in the front yard with a FOR SALE sign on it. I've been able to get right around $4000 for an under 2000hr machine. Homeowners with big lawns will spend the money knowing they're getting a commercial grade mower that will last THEM the rest of their lives!
 

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