We are readers supported. When you buy via links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Second Hand Lawn Mowers – Tips to Buy


When it comes to buying devices for the house, everyone is looking for a bargain. One of the places where we would really like some bargains are lawn mowers.

Second hand lawn mowers are generally very attractive proposition if you know how to buy them. There are many people who are just looking to discard a non-performing device at a low price. You may be tempted to buy it only to find that you had to pay a lot more to make is usable.

The first indications that the owner is genuinely trying to sell off a working old mower rather than a piece of junk is if they are willing to test drive it in front of you once.

What element you should check?

If you can actually see the mower run, then you must perform these preliminary tests to check how good the unit is.

  • Check for oil leaks around the cylinder, blades and the PTO end. If you see a lot of leak, it could mean a defective oil seal or also a defective bearing. These do not costs a lot of change though.
  • Other times, due to poor maintenance you may see some low oil levels with black sticky oil around that place.
  • When the owner or you start the mower, a good engine will start with minimal effort. A well maintained engine should never run into starting problems, if it does you know there are some problems with the unit.
  • If you are using a reel mower and need to pull the cord several times just to get the mower started you will need to carry out some post-purchase maintenance.
  • Once the mower is running, see if there are unnaturally rough vibrations or sounds. This could mean some problem with the blades, or even the crankshaft. If the blades where replaced and not well tightened back you will feel the vibrations.
  • Bent blades also a major reason for excessive vibrations in the mower. However, this is not a major concern as mower blades are quite inexpensive and you can change them at home itself.
  • Rough vibrations could also mean a bent crankshaft and repairing that can be very expensive. So you need to be absolutely certain that the crankshaft is in perfect condition before buying the mower.
  • While the engine is running see if you see some irregularities in the way the mower runs. If you see sudden jerks or kickbacks, it could mean a broken gear tooth. You may have to replace this, while this is not very expensive, it does cost money.
  • If the mower supports multiple speeds, then try using it at various speeds and see how well does it perform? Also verify how smoothly does the speed change take place?


Always remember that the second hand lawn mower is never going to be in the best condition, like a brand new one.

Having undergone some wear and tear the results will be obvious. However, by running the above mentioned tests you get a better understanding of the post-purchase maintenance you need to carry out for the mower. This will give you a better bargaining platform and help bring down the price even further.

If you can't run the test above....

Sometimes, the fuel tank may not have gas so there is no way you can run the above mentioned tests. In such cases, you need to run some manual checks on the mower to confirm that the parts are all fine.

The first test is to pull the starter cord. Now this will not start the mower, but you can easily check if the engine is rotating fine.

If this does not work well, the starter clutch may be defective or there may be some debris stuck in the mower.

The next thing to check is the crankshaft itself. For this, just rotate the shaft in the direction opposite to the usual direction of rotation. If you see a sharp rebound, you know the compression in the mower is good, if now it may be weak and you need to work on that.

Sometimes the starter cord itself is broken. In such cases, you just need to replace that cord which is not very expensive to get your mower working fine again.

These are some simple checks you can perform before buying second hand lawn mowers.

After you know all these tips, now it is very easy to look for second hand lawn mowers that still have great performance. click here to look for used lawn mowers for sale