Investing in a quality used lawn mower can help a person save a considerable amount of money over buying a new model. It is essential, however, to make sure that you take care in choosing a used machine to make sure it is in good shape and likely to run well for a long time. It is generally a good idea to thoroughly inspect a used lawn mower in person, take it for a test run, ask about its maintenance history, and obtain as much of the original paperwork as possible. Much like purchasing a secondhand car, buying a used mower requires a little basic research and at least some mechanical knowledge to ensure that you get the most for your money.
The Internet can be a great resource in finding lawn mowers for sale in your area. You can also browse newspaper classifieds, visit garage sales, and ask around to locate private sellers. Many lawnmower manufacturers and local repair shops also resell used lawnmowers. If you are unsure about the type and brand of mower you want, online product reviews and consumer reports can help to narrow down the list of candidates.
After finding a promising lead, you can try to set up a meeting with the seller to look over the used lawn mower in person. A clean body that is not obviously worn down is a good sign. It is worthwhile to pay special attention to the tires, axles, push handle, and blades to make sure they are sturdy and in good condition. When inspecting the motor, you can usually check the oil and spark plug without having to take anything apart. You can also get a good idea about how well the mower was taken care of by asking how old it is, how often it was used, and whether it ever needed any major overhauls.
Most people would not buy a used car before taking it on a test drive, and the same is true for a used lawn mower. A quality mower should start up with just a few tugs on the pull cord. Adjust the throttle and listen to the mower as it idles and runs at full speed to check if it stalls, smokes, or makes unusual knocking noises. If you are looking at a push mower with an automatic drive, make sure it engages correctly. Finally, ask if you can push it around in the grass to see if it cuts well.
Most reliable private sellers and used lawn mower retailers will have the original paperwork for their machines. It is a good idea to take home warranty cards, owner's manuals, maintenance records, and any other paperwork the seller might have. By being a careful buyer and keeping up with regular maintenance yourself in the future, you can be better ensure that your new machine will last.