How Long Should Your Lawn Mower Last?

Regularly mowing your lawn is important for reasons beyond having a neat and tidy yard — a well-maintained lawn is also less likely to have issues. Spider Lawn & Landscape warns that fungal diseases and white grubs are the two biggest threats, but other insects and pests can also lurk in tall grass. 

Before the invention of the lawn mower in 1830, by Edwin Beard Budding, people cut their grass manually — mainly with scythes, sickles, and shears — or by keeping animals like sheep that would graze and keep the grass short, explains Iron Solutions. The humble lawn mower has since had numerous updates and reinventions; there are even automatic mowers now, as well as standard push mowers and riding mowers. While they're far more reliable now than in years past, they still have a limited lifespan just like any other type of mechanical device. Knowing how long your lawn mower will last can help prepare you for when it needs replacing, saving you from a surprise financial burden.

Engine construction

How long your lawn mower lasts ultimately depends on how often you use it, as well as what type of mower you have. If you have a large yard or plot of land to mow, the machine is naturally going to wear out quicker than those with small patches to cut. PowerPro Equipment says that push lawn mowers generally last for up to 10 years, whereas most riding mowers last anywhere from 5 to 8 years.

That being said, the more accurate measure of a lawn mower's life is by the hours used. According to Garden Tool Expert, some people can get as much as 10 to 20 years out of their riding lawn mowers, which evens out to anywhere from 500 to 1,000 hours of use. So, if you use your mower more frequently or intensely, those hours will add up quickly. This comes down to the construction of the engine. Some heftier machines, like John Deere mowers, have engines that can last up to 2,000 hours for example, whereas a smaller Husqvarna mower engine only lasts up to 800 hours.

Tips for making your lawn mower last longer

While each lawn mower engine has a range of hours it will last, there are ways to prolong its life. Conversely, leaving your lawn mower to sit uncovered in a shed without maintaining it, checking oil levels, or cleaning it is a surefire way to ensure it only lasts the bare minimum.

According to Lawn Doctor, there are a few things you should do every year — ideally at the end of fall — that will help to keep the mower in good shape. First, it's important to replace the spark plug each year. Draining and replacing the gas either at the end of fall or the beginning of spring is also vital for the mower's health and longevity. Moreover, the engine oil should be checked, and likely replaced, at least once a year, if not more depending on the amount of use. Give the entire mower and all its parts a thorough cleaning and remove any grass, rocks, twigs, or other debris it picked up. Finally, don't forget to sharpen the blades and make sure they're balanced, which will put less stress on the engine and ensure your lawn looks its best.