Rough ride? Spewing smoke? A lot of lawn tractor problems are DIY — though some will require a repairman or, possibly, a new mower. Here’s how to determine which is which.
Much like your car, a riding mower requires maintenance if you want it to last. But even with riding mower maintenance, a well-maintained machine will eventually need to be replaced. Our handy graphic helps you determine what you can fix yourself, whether to have it repaired, or if it’s time to buy something new.
Whether you need a riding mower repair or a full replacement, Sears can help. We have the parts you need to help you tackle projects at home, as well as a team of experts who can fix your problem, no matter where you purchased your equipment. And if the Sears experts cannot repair your riding lawn mower, ask your technician about discounts on your replacement purchase. For more information, visit our site for riding mower repair.
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Lawn Tractor: Repair or Replace? Common riding lawn mower problems, and whether the solution is a DIY project, a job for a repairman, or time for an upgrade.
Smoke A tractor that belches smoke may seem like it’s on iits last legs, but it may just have a clogged air filter, which can cause the engine to pull oil past the piston rings and generate an oily smelling cloud of smoke. Replace your air filters and check your pistons. This simple, and cheap, fix could have it running like new again. But if it still belches smoke, it may be time to have a technician check it out
Won’t Start A faulty starter, bad spark plug, or clogged carburetor can prevent the engine from starting. Use an ohmmeter to test the starter, and a spark plug tester to test the plugs. If either of these elements are bad, replace them. If the engine still won’t start, check the carburetor. When you leave old fuel in the engine for a long time, it can evaporate, causing clogs To eliminate the problem, drain the old fuel from the float bowl and clean the carburetor.
Overheating This is most likely a result of clogged cooling fins, which are part of the engine’s cylinder head. Clear out any dead grass, leaves, or other debris, which can prevent the engine from cooling properly.
Bumpy Ride A rough ride or jerky idle can be caused by a lack of oil. Check the oil and change it regularly.
Out of Oil Just like a car, letting your tractor run out of oil while it’s operating is an expensive mistake. Some newer models have shut-off switches to prevent too much damage, but if yours doesn’t and won’t start, you may need to replace the engine.
Engine Trouble A new engine can cost several hundred dollars or more – though it still may be more economical to replace it than to buy a new tractor. If it is a quality-built machine, a new engine could buy you many more years of service. With a lower-quality model, you may be better off buying something new.
Old Age Some mowers only last five to seven years, though a well-built machine that’s carefully maintained can last for 20 years or more. If your tractor constantly breaks down or isn’t mowing like it used to, even after a tune-up or repair, it may be time to consider an upgrade. A good rule of thumb: if the cost of repairs approaches 50% of the value of the mower, consider replacing it.