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Guide To Buying A Used Zero Turn Mower

7381362_sAlthough most deals end with a happy buyer, there are many hazards and pitfalls to be wary of when considering buying a used zero turn mower.

  1. A primary consideration when buying a used ZTR mower is whether to buy from a dealer or a private individual. A dealer will often give you a warranty and provide you with information about things such as safety and replacement parts availability. Many people are more comfortable buying from a dealer type environment for reasons such as safety. Carrying a lot of cash to a place you are not familiar with is never a comfortable experience. Things can change even if the seller seemed perfectly reasonable when first contacted.
  2. A dealer will also often give the mower a full service before you receive it and do things such as sharpen the blades and change oil filters etc. A private individual is a lot less likely to do these things. If the dealer hasn't done such things to your satisfaction perhaps this could be leveraged to get a better deal.
  3. It's a great sign if the dealer had a history with the zero turn mower (services, supplying parts etc.) before buying it. This means said dealer was confident enough in the machine to either buy it or receive it in part exchange.
  4. A careful visual inspection of the machine can reveal a lot about the mowers history. Is there chipped paint or evidence that the paint has been recently "touched-up"? Are there dents and visibly dented parts? A careful visual inspection can reveal a history of undeclared bumps and accidents.
  5. After the visual inspection make sure that there are no loose or even missing parts which might perhaps indicate a recent ham fisted attempt to fix or hide underlying problems.
  6. Do the blades seem like they have seen a tremendous amount of use over and above what the seller states? The presence of a large amount of grass stuck under the deck might also point to high usage.
  7. Are the tires very worn? Have they been plugged? Does the state of the tires tie with the mowers stated usage? Tires which are extremely worn can point to hard (often commercial) use.
  8. The lack of an hour meter is a bad sign. It may seem obvious but it's worth stressing - you can't ever rely on sellers estimates. They will almost always underestimate and never in your favor. The presence of an hour meter which properly corresponds to a service record is a very positive sign that you are not getting a lemon.
  9. If possible, try and ascertain why the seller is selling the mower. Reluctance to answer such questions can be a sure sign of a hidden problem with the mower.
  10. If a private seller, do they seem like the type to have cared for the mower? Does their property and any other power equipment visible seem like it has been well cared for? Such indicators will give you an idea about how the person cares for their equipment in general.
  11. If you are not particularly mechanically minded perhaps a friend or acquaintance who is could be asked to view the machine with you. Even a friend with no experience with mowers might make a useful companion when viewing a potential purchase just for a second set of eyes.
  12. Is there evidence that the mower was used commercially? A seller may claim that the mower was used only for their yard, but it may have had a hard life under a commercial crew. Perhaps the sellers name could be "Googled" to try and find out if they have been offering grass cutting in recent years.
  13. A good sign is if the seller has maintenance records from a local dealer. They should be more than willing to show you them before purchase and also to give them to you with the mower so you have a full record of the machines service history. It may be worth contacting the dealer who carried out the service just to check that nothing has been conveniently left out from the records. A visit to the dealer is even better to get an idea of just how professional they are.
  14. There are an incredible number of scams out there. If considering buying a mower from an online classified advert it is especially vital to be wary. A very common scam nowadays is for sellers to ask you to pay a third party before you even see the machine in person. Pictures, details etc. will be provided but these are always fake and will not stand up to any scrutiny. A sob story (often about being overseas) will often be employed to pull at your heartstrings.
  15. Walk away from any deal which sends up even a single red flag. Trust your instincts and protect your hard-earned money. There will be other used zero turn mowers out there.
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