Life Span of Riding Mower

Thyme Flies By

Farm Hand
Messages
33
I seem to have rotten luck when it comes to the longevity of these machines. Despite keeping up with their basic maintenance, I've had a Craftsman with annoying issues after just three years of use and a Murray that completely tapped out after two. In your experience, about how long should the average riding lawn mower last?
 

RichZ

Bean Stalker
Messages
413
I guess that depends on the quality of the mower. I have a John Deere garden tractor that I bought new in 2005 that's still going strong. I have frequent problems with the drive belt for the deck coming off, and I had to replace the carb a few years ago, but other than that it's still going strong. But it was a pretty expensive mower, and I think it's good quality. Murray mowers are usually low end, and Craftsman have several levels of quality, though I've had no luck with Craftsman walk behind mowers. Basically, you get what you pay for.
 

jjp8182

Farm Hand
Messages
91
...about 1yr/$1000 spent for mowers purchased from a big box store. ....with "a year" being 1-1.5 hours of mowing per week every week from late-Feb/mid-March to late-November/early December.

I suspect the fact they were all air-cooled engines and likely got overheated during summer use may have played apart -- which is what caused me to buy a compact tractor for mowing. Also, decided to go that route since it could be used to perform other tasks around the house I was previously doing by hand. Figured if I was going to spend $1k/year I might as well get something that should last 30+ years (with appropriate care) and be useful for more than just mowing......
 

Locksmith

Farm Hand
Messages
101
I've had my Craftsman for 5+ years and it's still good to go. This reminds me to get in the garage, clean it up, oil change etc...... It's that time of year.
 

More Green

Farm Hand
Messages
68
If you buy John Deere, you won't have to worry about fixing it yourself. They'll be more than happy to do it for you. LOL

But no, riding mowers should last more than a few years with regular maintenance.

Major brands, at least.
 

jjp8182

Farm Hand
Messages
91
If you buy John Deere, you won't have to worry about fixing it yourself. They'll be more than happy to do it for you. LOL

But no, riding mowers should last more than a few years with regular maintenance.

Major brands, at least.
*should* being the keyword there since the length of a mowing season can vary drastically by location. Here in Alabama I may have to mow as many/more months out of the year as I had to deal with snow in Minnesota.

So really the number of operating hours would be a bit more appropriate (though the conditions under which those hours were accrued also make a difference ....and and air-cooled vs/ liquid-cooled can also makes a difference)
 

Thyme Flies By

Farm Hand
Messages
33
I wondered whether I'd have more luck if I spent more or if I should start treating them as short-lived products that would need replaced every couple of years. I just didn't want to chase after a good mower if it doesn't actually exist, since so many products have been downgraded these days. It's good to know that's not the case with riding mowers. I'll start looking for a John Deere or an equivalent mower. Thanks for the tips you guys!

@jjp8182, I hope the compact tractor does the trick for you!


I have frequent problems with the drive belt for the deck coming off . . .
That happens with my Craftsman. The whole deck drops sometimes.
 

MichaelS

Farm Hand
Messages
105
For a better brand with annual maintenance, I would say 5-7 years. Sometimes you have to replace parts on it but in general it should last that long.
How often do you sharpen the blades?
 

jjp8182

Farm Hand
Messages
91
I wondered whether I'd have more luck if I spent more or if I should start treating them as short-lived products that would need replaced every couple of years. I just didn't want to chase after a good mower if it doesn't actually exist, since so many products have been downgraded these days. It's good to know that's not the case with riding mowers. I'll start looking for a John Deere or an equivalent mower. Thanks for the tips you guys!

@jjp8182, I hope the compact tractor does the trick for you!



That happens with my Craftsman. The whole deck drops sometimes.
Has done so for 4 years now without a problem - and been used for a lot more than any dedicated riding mower could.

Between the reducing quality and the planned obsolescence or continual part changing of so many consumer-oriented products it's definitely becoming a challenge to find things that can be maintained and are even worth maintaining. .....especially if/when a "disposable" product may not make sense (or be desired)
 

SoybeanFarmer2017

New member
Messages
1
With riding mowers, you certainly get what you pay for. Cheaper models may get the job done for a few seasons, but if you are serious about keeping one around for a while, investing in quality machinery is key. I have always used John Deere, I had my old 3 series for almost a decade, and it still runs just fine, I just upgraded to the X584 for the newer features and great performance.

If you are looking for someone who can point you in the right direction, C & B Operations is a dealership that is near me and helped me pick out mine and I couldn't be happier. They have locations all over the midwest and out towards the mountains, too. Check them out.
 
 
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