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What to Look For and How to Choose a Good Used Lawn Mower

by Marcia Passos Duffy, All About Lawns Columnist

If your lawn mower has conked out--and money to buy a new one is tight--never fear. There are plenty of used lawn mowers on the market.

But before you run out and buy the first one posted on Craigslist, make sure you know the condition of the used lawn mower and if it's worth paying the asking price for it. After all, if you buy a lawn mower "lemon," repairs may end up costing you more than the mower is worth.

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Here are some tips for finding a good used lawn mower that can give you many years of grass cutting service:

Look at the Lawn Mower Up Close

With Ebay, it can be tempting to buy a used lawnmower just based on the description and a picture. But, like a used car, these machines can have mechanical problems that are costly to fix. It's best to find a used lawn mower locally (through classified ads, Craigslist, or auctions) and take it for a "test drive."

Have Questions Ready for the Buyer

Whether you are buying a gas, electric, push, or riding mower, you need to ask specific questions about the used lawn mower you are about to purchase. Consider the following:

  1. Why is the seller getting rid of it?
  2. How old is the lawn mower?
  3. Are there any warranties or guarantees still in effect?
  4. Does the seller have the operating instructions?
  5. What kind of guarantees will the seller give? (Get this in writing.)

Check the Engine and Parts

The used lawn mower's body should be free of rust and damage. The engine should start up easily and run smoothly. There should be no oil leaks. If you are examining an electric lawn mower, check to see if the battery holds a charge. If possible, use it to cut some grass.

Do Your Research

Lastly, before you agree on a price, make sure you are armed with the latest resale pricing information on similar used lawn mowers.

About the Author

Marcia Passos Duffy, a member of the Garden Writers Association, writes frequently on gardening, landscaping and agriculture. Visit her site at

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