How Long Should a Lawn Mower Last?
In a perfect world, every piece of machinery you buy would last a lifetime. Sadly, that's not always the case, but we're committed to doing our best to help you get as much life as possible out of your lawn mower.
One of the most common questions our lawn experts get asked is, "How long should a lawn mower last?" The answer depends on a variety of factors, but it's also partly up to you. Depending on what type of mower you own, here's how long you can expect it to last, and what you can do to make it last longer.
Types of Lawn Mowers
From conventional walk-behind push mowers to lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers, the type of lawn mower you're using has a big effect on its longevity. Here's a breakdown of how long different types of mowers can be expected to last:
Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers
As you might expect, push mowers have the shortest lifespans in the lawn mowing world. Some of the better models might make it 5 years or longer, but a lot of the cheaper walk-behinds don't make it past their first or second season. It goes without saying that walk-behind mowers are the least expensive option if you're looking to buy a new mower, and they're intended for smaller lawns. However, they're simply not built to last.
Also known as riding mowers, lawn tractors tend to last a lot longer than push mowers, though there is a wide range in quality, and you tend to get what you pay for. Plenty of lawn tractors can make it to the 10-year mark, but some of the low-end models are likely to conk out after 5 years or even less.
Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers
Of all the lawn mowers on the market, zero-turns have the longest lifespan. Zero-turn lawn mowers are designed to be worked hard and often by professional landscapers, and you can reasonably expect a quality model to last 15 years or more. Another benefit of zero turn mowers is that they tend to come with a longer warranty than other types. If you run into trouble sooner than expected, there's a good chance you'll be covered.
How Long Should a Lawn Mower Last?
Another factor that determines how long a lawn mower should last is the size of your yard, and how much time you spend mowing. Mowing a massive lawn with a mower that isn't up to the task will wear your machine out before its time. It's important to choose the right mower for the job, especially if you have a lot of acreage that needs to be mowed on a regular basis. Also, just like any machine, the lifespan of your lawn mower is largely dependent on how well you take care of it.
Make Your Mower Last Longer
You can make any lawn mower last longer by taking good care of it. Regular maintenance and smart mowing practices will go a long way toward extending the lifespan of your lawn mower, and it's never too late to start. Here's how you can make your mower stand the test of time.
1. Change the Oil
Maintaining the right oil level is crucial to keeping your lawn mower healthy. Too little oil will cause an otherwise healthy engine to wear out quickly from lack of lubrication. Check the oil level and color frequently to make sure you're in good shape, and consult your owner's manual to determine how often your mower's oil should be changed.
2. Keep the Filter Clean
Your lawn mower has an air filter and, in most cases, a fuel filter as well. Both are essential to making sure your mower gets the proper air/gas mixture to run at its best, and both will get dirty over time from regular use. Change or clean your mower's filters a couple times each season, or more frequently if you use your mower more than average or often mow under dusty conditions.
3. Change the Spark Plug
It varies by make and model, but lawn mower spark plugs typically need to be replaced every 100 hours of use to maintain healthy engine startup and overall performance. Even if yours doesn't need to be changed just yet, you can probably help your mower out by giving it a good cleaning.
4. Clean the Deck
Dirt, grass clippings and other debris tend to build up both above and below the mower deck and will need to be cleaned out periodically. This buildup can obstruct air flow, lead to corrosion, and reduce your mower's efficiency. Use a plastic putty knife and the sprayer attachment on your hose to clean out under the deck as needed. Avoid mowing under wet conditions, which makes cut grass stick to the underside of your lawn mower deck even more.
5. Perform a Spot Check
Each time you use your lawn mower, it's a good idea to perform a quick maintenance check. Clean, tighten and lubricate anything that needs it, and if your lawn mower has drive belts, check their condition and tension.
6. Check Your Yard
Striking a hard object while mowing can cause all kinds of damage, from dinging the blade to bending the drive shaft. Before mowing, police your yard for anything that could be damaging, from rocks and sticks to garden tools and kids' toys that may have been left out.
7. Mind Your Gas
Gasoline degrades and gums up over time, especially if it contains ethanol. To keep your engine healthy, add stabilizer to fuel that contains ethanol, and either siphon off the extra gas or run the engine dry before storing your mower at the end of the season.
8. Protect It from the Elements
Store your lawn mower in a clean, sheltered place away from wind and rain when not in use. This includes keeping it sheltered during the off-season months, as well as between each use during the mowing season.
9. Keep the Blades Sharp
Dull blades don't cut very well (really, they tear the grass instead of cutting it) which is bad for your lawn. It forces you to mow more often and puts unnecessary strain on your lawn mower. Keep an eye on how well your mower is cutting so you know when it's time to sharpen the blades. At a minimum, it's a good idea to sharpen your lawn mower blades at least once a year.
10. Take It in for a Checkup
Regular wear and tear can take its toll on your lawn mower, often in unseen ways. Even if you do a great job maintaining your lawn mower on your own, it's not a bad idea to take it in for an annual maintenance visit and tune-up with a professional. You may even catch future problems you might otherwise have never known about.
If you're still wondering how long should a lawn mower last, contact us today to locate a nearby Hustler retailer, and talk to one of our lawn care experts about finding a lawn mower that will go the distance on your yard.