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The Cost of Lawn Mower Repair and Maintenance
The maintenance of the lawn is directly related with keeping the mower in a state of repair and ready to clip the grass clean and efficiently. While some items can be delayed for some amount of time or 'done every so often', many should be taken care of before the busy season occurs, normally taking place in the springtime.
Keeping in mind that if a shop is doing the work, some typically get booked out for a period of weeks during busy times so there should be some planning for lead times. But these fees and charges for 2017 are expected to hold.
Preliminary Fees and RatesFrom the start, if the mowers and equipment must be picked up and delivered this comes at around $60 to $70 for pickup and delivery on to local areas and if looking at greater ranges, $90 to $100. With most riding mowers requiring the tiltable flatbed to make the transfer. But some portion of the fee might be waived such as in the case of a 'springtime special' where a maintenance package is involved.
The hourly shop rates vary and while these normally depend on the type of mowing equipment, for instance speaking of a certified mechanic in a certain area, lower rates are commonly gotten at dedicated repair outfits as opposed to the big name makers. Shop rates for most repairs at a dealer start near $65 per hour to $80 per hour for brands like Kohler, Kawasaki, Toro, and Scagg. While other brands can go to $100 per hour and greater. Still, economical brands at larger Snapper dealers are often reflected in the servicing that may undercut these rates going to $55/hr and possibly lower - though some shops have discontinued the Snapper line altogether much as a result of reported quality issues.
Fees to look at: where the issue being reported for repair is unknown upfront, or it is not easily detectable, such as in the case of a hard starting engine or a sound issue, many repair shops have the $35 to $45 fee to look at and this is normally deductible from charges for the completed work order, not only to credit the customer but towards an effort the gain the work.
BladesTo sharpen blades, there can be a minimal price break if the operator removes and takes the blades in. The going rate to sharpen blades, which may also include balancing, is $7 or $8 for the cutting blade and some sharpeners charge slighly more, around $10 for a mulching style blade.
Reel-type blades cost significantly more to sharpen and this represents a larger portion of the cost of operation for the reel-type mower.
Belts and DriveTrain MechanismsCommonly the belts and the drivetrain are associated with the mower size, type & brand. Specific, for instance on a 21" walk-behind as opposed to a single blade rider versus a 3 blade 48" deck. Regardless, belts are among the cheapest part to replace and one of the most oft-replaced parts on the mower. Belts themselves are $10 to $35 but the bulk of the cost of their replacement is constituted by the labor to do so - for example if there is simple underdeck access, or the entire deck must be pulled entirely from the undermount, followed by shroud removal(s), followed by reassembly.
Serving the transmission can be as simply as adding fluid, or replacing the fluids and filters (possibly inline) with sometimes difficult and confined access, given the infrequency of this service to this part of the mower. Doing the fluid and filter on some hydrostatic rider transmissions, parts alone, can cost $120 to $140 which has a tendency to stun some consumers. To have the dealer accomplish this can easily reach $275 on up, over $300. Which is one reason some dealers have a tendency to 'skip over' this during routine checkups, the price shock can actually act to discourage the customer. However it's best to be aware of what is itemized both here and elsewhere as fees for parts can accumulate quickly. Its also great to have the shop call beforehand prior to any added work, before you discover that the starter coil or other parts have already potentially been replaced and added to the bill.
Tuneups & EngineWalk behind 21" tuneups: many dealers and repair shops run specials for tuneups that cover such combined areas as blade sharpening, change the oil and filter, lube the fittings, carburetor clean and adjust, belt inspection and washing the deck for around $90 to $100 plus parts.
Riding mower tuneups: to do the fuel filter, oil/filter, spark plugs, grease points, clean the air cleaner and power wash you could be looking at $170 to $250 for most situations. Lower amounts can sometimes be found based on non-dealers of certain engine types: for instance, a repair tech who services Briggs and Stratton and who also is not necessarily a Snapper or other name brand dealer, frequently does fixes for less.
Batteries for engine starting - one thing many operators can do themselves is change out a drained battery. Noting that sometimes, contrary to popular opinion, cranking amps should not exceed an upper cold cranking amp rating to prevent possible damage to the system - the lawn and garden batteries can generally be had for $30 to $50. One measure to help prolong their useful life is to pull and store the unit indoors during the cold months as lower temps during periods of disuse can effectively drain their power & ability to recharge. By the same token, adding fuel stabilizer can be a healthy measure in some situations although this has a tendency to foul plugs when it comes to restarting after the 'set' period.
For front engine riders - components like a full pump replacement can reach $120 to $140 and more plus labor. Another common replacement on some brand models, is the valve cover which may have originally been made of plastic with an 'O' ring seal (a cause for oil leakage when the plastic deforms) - for this, to swap out to cast metal, if available, is relatively inexpensive at around $35 each plus labor to install, which is normally fairly accessible.
For work on carburetors (that holds especially during recent years, given the ethanol additive that is claimed to add a gum layer on internal components) beyond the basic clean and set adjust - a rebuild including an internal cleaning (possibly an acid wash) along with a new diaphragm, etc, the bill will likely be $40 to $90. On some models, it makes better financial sense to simply choose an outright replacement.