How to Test Out a Used Riding Mower you find on craigslist or somewhere else. Riding mowers with automatic or hydrostatic could have transmission problems. It may start right up, and appear just fine but try it on a hill or ditch. If it struggles the tranny is going out and could cost between $500-$1000 to fix.
I bough a nice John Deere LA140 with 800 hours on it, all fixed up, new blades, belts, tuned up, new roller wheels, etc. It started right up. I thought I was getting a steal for $200. Then came time to mow the yard. It struggled on the ditch first pass, going straight down and up, next pass it got worse and 3rd pass I was rocking trying to get it to go. My heart sank. Instead of getting a great deal, I bought a mower in need of major repair. I sold it an hour later for $300, then regretted doing that. I could have bought a new transmission for $600 and replaced it myself. If you read the reviews on mowers they are all terrible and there isn’t a good mower out there and so I was misled. For $800 I could have had a nice john deere that would have lasted many years.
Looking at new mowers and researching I was getting over whelmed. I decided I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something I would have trouble with so I wanted to go cheap. For $1000 you get a tin can on wheels. I spent $1400 and got a new Troy Built. I like it but I can see it’s not the same quality as the JD, but it id smaller, lighter, easier to use, I just hope it holds up for many years.
If you want a good mower, you have to spend thousands, otherwise they’re all risky. Someone has a nice Cub Cadet in CL, 70 hours and only $1000 and probably get for $800. The catch is they are know for belt problems and other things. It’s a big mower with a small single cylinder engine. And why is he selling it with 70 hours? Because he’s having problems. I almost bought one of those new yesterday, glad I didn’t. I hope I did the right thing, a smaller mower with a 17 HP motor. Easy to drive, easy to work on.
The people that bought the JD from me were having problems with craftsman mower front wheels going out. I think he knew it was a good investment even if he had to replace the tranny. Well it will be if the new tranny doesn’t go out on him. Who knows how many that thing has had. It was sold by a lumbar yard, made especially for them with plastic tranny. It was LA version, the S and the A series are cheaper versions, you have to get the x versions to get good ones. Our JD store didn’t even carry any x series. They’re selling JB brand, but you’re getting cheap mowers for big money.