In the good ol' days, Sears guaranteed repair parts would always be
available. I bought a lawn tractor, mowing deck and grass catcher and need
some parts. The part numbers are listed as "no longer available" and in
fact one number represents 4 different parts for a variety of appliances.
Because many things are wearing out, I'm thinking of buying a new tractor
and mowing deck. But I want a quality unit with repair parts available.
Maybe John Deere, Toro, Honda. Does anyone have a recomendation?
[I think it is sad that "American quality" has now been compromised.
Everything is turning into a commodity flow where things keep getting
replaced rather than repaired. TV sets are the best example. ]
All three of those brands (even their "economy" models) are going to be
light years ahead of anything Sears has. When you're looking at those
brands the price and quality are fairly representative of each other. In
other words get the most you can afford and you'll likely be getting the
best quality you can afford.
Either the machine you have is over seven years old, or was a "Source
502" made by Murray, probably over ten years if the parts are NLA.
The Murray Co. went bankrupt, and the new owners are not providing many
parts for the pre-bankrupcy models. The machines made by what was once
Roper (now Husqvarna, but also variously know as American Yard Products,
Frigidaire Home Products, & Electrolux Home Products) should have parts
availability for about 10 years.
As for Toro, most of their consumer products are not "farmed out" to
MTD. Won't be long and they'll follow TroyBilt down that bankrupcy and
buy out by MTD road at the rate they're going. Toro bought Wheel Horse a
few years ago, but have finished killing that name and its reputation.
If you can find a Toro dealer who still has a Wheel Horse 315-8 Classic
in stock it is better than almost anything out there anymore.
John Deere has good and bad models, but most are very difficult to work
on for normal maintenance items like belts,
Honda, while well built, are very expensive, and even more expensive to
Some other "quality" brands are Ingersoll (Case), Simplicity (also sold
as Snapper, Ferris, Massey Ferguson, and Agco-Allis, but beware, the new
owners also own what's left of Murray, and some of the Snappers are
really rebadged Murray's), Yazoo-Kees (owned by Husqvarna, who is also
Weed Eater, Poulan[Pro], Jonsered, YardPro, and most Craftsman,), some
Cub Cadets (owned by MTD, who is also White, Yardman, Yard Machines,
Bolens, TroyBilt, Huskee, and many others).
Unless you are going to maintain the equipment properly and take good
care of it, just buy another disposable machine at Sears, Home Depot or
Lowe's and be done with it.
I ran into the same problem with my ten year old riding mower. I
shopped for months, read articles and reviews, and came to the
decision that I wanted a Scags. The problem here is that they were
way - way above my budget so I had to cross them off.
What I finally decided on was a 50 inch Cub Cadet - one of those
zero turn jobs. I have a bit over an acre to mow and have mowed
perhaps ten times and am quite satisfied with the performance.
The reason I bought it was that it appeared better built, well
powered, and had the features that I wanted. I did not purchase it
at a big box store, but from "The Tractor Supply Store". They give
a three year warranty on Cub products, whereas other stores only
offer a one year warranty. I asked how they could give a three
year warranty and they told me they made a special deal with Cub,
and the warranty is in writing in a company pamphlet, which I kept.
In addition, I was able to do some negotiations, got $100 knocked
off, they gave me a set of mulching blades, and a few other things.
Try getting this at a big box store.
So, that is the way I went when I encountered your problem, and so
far I am happy with my choice, but time will tell.
By the way, I sold my Craftsman mower through Craigslist in one day
for $500. I was glad to get rid of it.
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