Lawn mower repair versus buying a replacement

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When it comes to deciding between a lawn mower repair or purchasing a new one, you should...

When it comes to deciding between a lawn mower repair or purchasing a new one, you should consider the age of the machine and the price of the repair itself. The following are five tips for when you have to figure out the best course of action after your mower breaks.

Follow the three-year rule

While even a vintage mower will continue to work after a simple repair - such as replacement of a failed spark plug or clogged air filter - the cost of more complicated repairs, such as a complete engine rebuild, may not be worth it if your mower is more than three years old. Consumer Reports advises replacing any broken appliance, including lawn mowers, if the repair is extensive and the machine is more than three years old. The average warranty will not cover mechanical failures after three years.

Consider the lawn mower's lifespan

Most lawn mowers tend to last between eight and 10 years. Even if you don't mind paying the full cost of a repair not covered by a warranty, think of your mower's age before you choose to hire a mechanic to conduct extensive repairs. One way to determine how much life your air-cooled mower has left is to multiply its horsepower by 100 for the total hours it is likely to last. For liquid-cooled engines, multiply the horsepower by 150.

Determine how extensive a given repair will be

Even if your mower is relatively new, you may want to replace it if the repair is likely to be pricey. For example, if you inadvertently run it into or over a rock or tree roots, it's possible the mower's shaft is bent. Replacing a shaft is one of the more costly lawn mower repairs. If the problem is a mystery you cannot solve by examining the air filter, spark plug or pull cord, ask a small-engine repair shop if it will perform a free inspection and offer you a quote on repair costs.

Ask yourself how well you have maintained your mower

Have you been a good steward of your lawn mower? Before deciding whether to have it repaired, ask yourself if you have consistently replaced its spark plug and air filter as well as drained its gas and oil at the end of each season. If not, your mower may be facing a shorter lifespan, which, depending on its age, might indicate replacement is a better choice.

Do you want to pay someone to mow your lawn?

If you are considering hiring someone to mow your lawn, you might be better off neither repairing nor replacing your mower. Maintaining your lawn doesn't have to be a do-it-yourself project, and there are many options if you want to hire someone to take care of it for you.

Now is a good time to consider whether you should pay for lawn mower repair, purchase a brand new mower or spend that money hiring a professional landscaper in Atlanta to maintain your yard for you.

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