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When To Replace a Lawn Mower (and How To Choose)

When To Replace a Lawn Mower (and How To Choose)

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Paul Brown

That trusty old mower just isn’t taking care of business as usual anymore. You may find yourself wondering whether it’s time to look into a new upgrade or if that old mower has a few years left in it.

You should replace your lawnmower if it requires constant repairs, or has major engine or transmission problems. You may also need to upgrade your current lawn mower if it isn’t suitable for your yard’s size and layout. 

Many factors affect the life of your mower and how it performs over time.  In this article, I’ll discuss the average life of a mower, things that shorten and lengthen how long your lawnmower lasts, and when it is time to get a new one.

Additionally, I’ll look at the best times to buy a new mower, the types of lawn care equipment you can buy, and special features you may like. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is the Average Life of a Lawn Mower?

The average lifespan of a lawnmower is 8.5 years. They can last on average from seven to ten years with many variables affecting this such as frequency of maintenance and the difficulty or size of the yard it mows.

The size of your lawnmower and your yard play a role in how hard your mower is working. A small mower cutting a large yard may not last as long as a big mower in a small yard. Thick and unruly grass can also cause your mower to work harder and, subsequently, need more maintenance.

The frequency and duration of each trip with your mower play into its life expectancy as well. Most manufacturers use hours as a measurement for how long a mower will ultimately last.

A healthy mower also requires maintenance and upkeep to run correctly. A mower that has had regular work done will perform better for longer than a mower that hasn’t been maintained.

Factors That Shorten Your Mowers Lifespan

Not having the right-size mower for your yard will cause it to deteriorate faster as you put stress on the components. Most mowers have an overhead valve engine that works best in short intervals of use. So, using a mower for longer periods to groom a bigger yard can result in a shorter lifespan as more pressure is put on the engine. 

Regular maintenance is also required for lawn equipment to perform optimally. When your mower isn’t taken care of between uses or is operating without general upkeep, it may perform poorly or deteriorate quicker.

Some standard maintenance steps that most mowers need include the following:

  • Changing the oil
  • Cleaning the blades
  • Correctly storing the device

Failure to complete any of these steps can shorten the lifespan of your mower.

Maintenance To Keep a Mower Going Strong

After you use your mower, you should spray off the blades before storing it. The moist grass will cause your blades to dull and rust. You may also need to sharpen your mower blades at regular intervals for the best and easiest cutting.

Changing the oil, filters, and spark plugs at designated intervals ensures the best performance of any mower. Regular maintenance keeps your engine clean, running smoothly, and lasting longer.

You can winterize your mower when you’re not using it by emptying the gasoline tank to prevent rusting. Set reminders to do all of your yearly maintenance at the end of the mowing season so it will be ready to go in the following spring. 

How To Know When It’s Time for a New Lawn Mower?

It’s time to replace your lawnmower when you experience engine failure, transmission problems, or when the warranty expires. It may also be time to replace your mower if it needs frequent repairs, or if it isn’t cutting your lawn well.

Engine and transmission problems are often the most expensive issues to tackle. These can usually be resolved by the manufacturer if your device is still under warranty. If it isn’t, you’ll likely need to pay for those repairs out of pocket. 

Most of the time, it’s cheaper to purchase a new lawnmower than to pay for repairs on an old one. This is especially true if your mower is a less reliable model, and isn’t cutting your lawn to the same standard that it used to. 

What Is the Best Time of Year To Buy a New Lawn Mower?

Fall is the best time of year to buy a new lawnmower if you’re looking to find one at the lowest price. During this period, stores are transitioning between their seasonal inventory, which means you’ll have a better chance of getting a mower at a more affordable price. 

However, that doesn’t mean you need to wait until fall to buy the mower you’ve always wanted. Spring and summer are also popular times to buy mowers as the weather becomes warmer and plants begin to blossom again (source). 

Retailers may release new models around this time, but many will also offer deals and sales throughout the year to align with holidays. For example, some stores will host shopping events for mowers around the 4th of July, which also happens to coincide with the peak growing season (source). 

Others may lower their prices on mowers around Black Friday, encouraging shoppers to purchase a mower early for the spring season.

Regardless of when you buy your mower, it’s important to give it a test run and check the warranty. If you’re purchasing a new mower in the fall, you probably won’t be using it as often, so you’ll need to focus heavily on safe storage and adequate maintenance to prevent any operational issues in the future. 

If you’re looking to buy a new mower during peak growing season, do some research on the model you want and compare prices at different retailers before deciding. 

How To Choose a New Lawn Mower

The best way to choose a new mower is to understand what you need to accomplish with your mower and do some research before buying.

  1. Read reviews. This will help you get an understanding of the pros and cons of a specific model.
  2. Consider the size and difficulty of your yard. Decide whether a small push mower would do the job, or if a riding lawn mower is better suited to your needs. You should also assess your yard’s terrain, and be ready to take on any hills or slopes with your new mower.
  3. Plan how you’ll manage the grass clippings. A mower with a side shoot will recycle clippings back onto the grass. Some models come with grass catchers so that you can dispose of clippings separately. Others mulch the clippings or chop them into more delicate pieces. While using a bagging system to collect clippings, remember that you will have to stop from time to time and empty the bag and reattach it to your mower.
  4. Test the mower. Whenever you purchase a new mower, you’ll have the opportunity to take it home and test it out. You may need to run it for a bit and adjust the settings to ensure it’s the right mower for your lawn. If you’re experiencing any functionality issues, or you aren’t satisfied with how the device is cutting your grass, take it back to the retailer. The return window will vary at each store, so be aware of it beforehand. 

These steps should be followed for any type of mower you purchase, and in any season. 

Types of Lawn Mowers

As mentioned before, you should invest in a mower that accommodates the size and structure of your lawn. Purchasing a mower that is too small for your yard can result in excessive pressure on the engine. At the same time, a mower that’s too big for the yard can be expensive and difficult to navigate in a smaller area. 

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the most common types of lawnmowers:

Push Mowers

Push mowers are great for smaller yards that you can easily cut. They use a pull cord to start the engine. Some push mowers even have a self-propelling feature that walks the mower with you to reduce strain against the mower. This feature works well on uneven ground and rugged areas. 

Most push mowers are gasoline-powered, but there are electric models available. Corded and cordless versions exist, but other factors like charging a battery or running extension cords may be more trouble than it’s worth. These mowers would work for tiny yards or something you could cut in less than an hour.

Riding Lawn Mowers

Riding lawn mowers are generally gas powered; however, there are electric versions available. The mowers are much bigger and can mow a yard that’s bigger than ¾ acre (or about .3 ha). Instead of pushing, you’ll be riding in comfort.

Consider the width of the deck when researching riding mowers. A smaller cutting area may take longer, but getting around things in your yard is easier. You can also look for models that let you change the height of the blade for a shorter or longer cut. Some models even come with cupholders and comfort items like softer seats.

Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers

Zero-turn mowers are used by professional landscapers and those with massive yards, trees, and obstacles you might need to navigate around with ease. As they are the most advanced, they are also the most expensive.

Robotic Lawn Mowers

Robotic lawnmowers have also made an appearance in lawn equipment sales. Much like a Roomba for your yard, you set it and forget it as it does everything for you. Flat yards with less than an acre are best for this type of mower.

More Tips for Your Mower

Now that you have your new equipment, it’s time to make sure it lasts as long as possible. Here are some simple tips to keep your mower going.

  • Use your leaf blower to blow off your mower. In addition to good rinsing, this can dislodge any bits hidden inside. It also blows off water and moisture to prevent rusting.
  • Don’t forget the tires. Riding mowers have tires that may need to be aired up from time to time.
  • Cut the grass a little longer. By setting your blade up high and only removing a small portion of the grass, you put less pressure on the engine and help the grass stay healthy too.
  • Don’t mow a wet yard. You’ll shred the grass and put damp grass in your mower, clogging it and dropping big clumps of grass on your yard.
  • Pick up twigs and rocks in your yard. Reducing the obstacles your mower has the chance to run over saves the life of your blades and crankshaft.
  • Mow when you need to. The yard may not need to be mowed every week, even if it’s easier to schedule and trim it routinely. Pay attention to your grass.
  • The grass clippings help your lawn. Smaller clippings are better and give nutrients back to the yard. Instead of using your collection bag, let the leftovers fertilize your yard.
  • Practice mowing safety. Wear protective gear, closed-toe shoes, and ear protection. Mow so that it is pulling you because downhill slipping does happen (source).

Final Thoughts

Lawnmowers don’t last forever, but they can last a while if they’re taken care of. Unfortunately, mowers break over time.

There are many options out there, and they are tailored for specific yard sizes and conditions. No matter what grass cutting needs you have, there is a mower out there for you.

Each season has advantages and disadvantages to buying a mower. While you’ll get the best selection in the spring, you’ll get the best price in the fall. 

Lastly, maintaining your lawnmower is the best way to keep it working as long as possible. 

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