Do I take mower to Dealer or maintain mower myself ?

mechanic mark

Lawn Pro
Jul 15, 2013
A person or business purchases a new ZTR mower for $30,000.00 warranty included commercial & residential. Why would an individual or business want to maintain this expensive piece of equipment? An individual with a mechanical background believes they can purchase parts cheaper & do the work themselves keeping cost down. A business believes they can purchase parts cheaper & have a couple of their maintenance men perform service on ZTR keeping cost down. Folks I have a hard time believing an individual or business would do such a thing with an expensive, highly technical piece of equipment that runs off a computer. Are Dealers that expensive maintaining equipment? Are Dealers that backed up they will need to keep your mower for two weeks or more? Can you not make an appointment with a Dealer for a certain day for service or troubleshooting? Will your Dealer give you a loaner while working on your equipment including pickup & delivery? I purchased my longbed Ford F150XL 4.2L V-6 new July 30, 2008 & have just over 71,000 miles on truck. I have always let the Ford Dealer perform maintenance & troubleshoot making repairs. I put gas in truck every week, check air filter occasionally & check air pressure in tires monthly. I take truck to drive through truck & car wash occasionally. Dealers require Technicians to be certified & stay certified by going to up & coming new technology classes. I am a mechanic by trade before & after serving our country Honorably 4 years active duty as an assistant crew chief , 2 & 1/2 yrs., in the USAF working in shop on the J79-15 G.E. Jet Engine for the RF4C PHANTOM AIRCRAFT. Please feel free to offer feedback. Thanks, Mark
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Lawn Addict
Feb 19, 2020
Vehicle dealers are different than lawn care dealer. But even than you got to have a shop that is willing to provide what your contract calls for without having to call you lawyer. Back '86 I purchased a Plymouth Sundance Turbo. It broke down with only 800 miles on it. When I got towed into the dealer shop they refused to provide me with a rental car which my contract called for, saying they didn't know if my 12,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty would cover the repairs. After I called my lawyer they provide me a piece junk rental. One with the CV axles about to fall out. It took them over a week to get my car repaired as they had to get a distributor from the factory. hey said the rental car broke down they would come get me. I said fine and that they might come out 100 miles in the sticks to get me as I was a field tech.

And yes dealer can be back logged by several during the busy season. Even I am currently back logged nearly a week and half as I some major repairs currently in the shop. Just got through with a JD 737 engine repair. I got a 322 that the rear fender pan got to come off as the dealer hasn't adjust the hydro drive neutral position nor did they did the Yanmar engine engine auto choke adjusted properly. Then the 310000 engine rebuild and the Craftsman NZTR mower steering I got the replaced all the linkages on while fixing the easy stuff too. I currently only have ten jobs in progress awaiting this week's start up.

There are equipment dealers that does not always have confident mechanics on staff. One JD dealer are in particular had a few less than knowledgeable mechanics when it came to the Z925A. They were telling the owner that the engine didn't even have an oil pump and ignore the flashing oil pressure light. They also couldn't even resolve electrical issues with the mower causing to shut down during operations. So when the owner purchased a new Z950M he wouldn't even allow them to do the warranty work. Instead he had me to do the repairs with JD providing the replacement parts as they knew my workmanship.The owner was will to pay me for my time.

I also had the same experience with them when it came to a repair of a Stihl HS56 hedger that was under warranty. I was just the go between my regular customer and the dealer. It was racing way beyond the speed limiter. The mechanic didn't even know how to repair it. No knowledge of how to do a pressure/vac test. After three weeks he return it with the same problem saying nothing was wrong with it. So put it through the paces here and found it to be still racing out control. First I found the spark plug lead disconnected. I just wonder how he was testing it since he left the spark plug led off. Second I found the spark arrester nearly clogged. Third I found no spark during the racing times. It turned out the hedger was dieseling due to a bad spark plug.

So end result was that independent shop mechanic that charge only $55 per hour put the JD dealer that charge $100 per hour to shame as they lied about having factory trained mechanics. Either that or the factory did an extremely poor job of training the mechanic before they were certified.

Now I have personally went to training schools when I was in the financial and form handling business. The corporate office would only send to school after I had been the field for a couple years working on the equipment. By then I already knew more than the instructors about real life problems with the equipment. I love it when it came to simulated equipment failure time of the class where techs and I put in problems. Even the instructor couldn't resolve most the problems I introduced into the equipment. The certificates I got were totally useless in my opinion as it didn't prove a thing other than I had attended the classes. Beside when I got back from the schools all my work was still awaiting me as the fill in tech just put everything off. I usually spent the next three weeks working out the backlog along with the normal work load. But I finally got him back when did went on vacation. Boy was he pissed.

Now I actually trained to work in electronics by the local technical school for two years. Mechanics part was introduced to me by my step father when I was in the second grade and I have been learning the trade every since. It doesn't hurt to have a semi photographic memory either were I can visualize items and move them around mentally with my eyes shut.

So working on equipment to me is my natural talent.

So my opinion of a dealer repair shop it is only as good as the mechanics are actually are good. Also having a company that is willing to stand behind the shop's workmanship is important too. Having so call certified mechanics doesn't mean a lot to me if the mechanics can't resolve actual problems.


Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2021
When you work on what you like, the result is always good, because the commitment is maximum, as well as the result.