Bottom Line: I am very, very disappointed in my mower and will never
consider another Snapper product.
Executive Summary: Failed me twice in the first two years of light use - I
mean failed as in had to go back to the dealer's for repair. Wrote a very
civil letter to Snapper and copied the dealer but never heard from either.
Not only poorly built but poorly designed too. Terrible turning radius.
Nitty Grity: Within the first two years of light use the mower failed me
twice. The first time it just quit while I was mowing and would not start
again. The second time I was mowing and heard a difference in the noise it
makes and discovered that the blade was no longer rotating. The first
service was covered by the warranty. The second was not. Although it was
still under warranty the problem was a broken belt and that is considered
wear and tear. I hadn't used the mower more than about a dozen times, so
that tells you something about the quality of the parts they use.
I've only owned one other riding mower. And it was a Snapper. I owned it
for at least 15 years and never had such serious problems. I wish now I had
kept the old one. Or bought a different brand. There are NO improvements
in the new mower. They have added some safety features but they are so
poorly designed that I would not call them improvements. One of the safety
features shuts the engine off if you lift your weight from the seat. It
starts to stall if you even shift your weight on the seat. It seems to me
that they could have at least let the engine continue to run if the blade
was disengaged and you had put the mower in park. Oh, but wait! That would
have meant having a park gear which it does not. So if you stop on ground
that is not perfectly level you have to leave it in gear - which means
waiting for the engine to completely stop before getting off it - because
you have to keep your foot on the clutch/brake. The other new safety
feature prevents you from shifting into reverse if the blade is engaged. I
can see that (although I don't like it). But the blade does not disengage
automatically. So you disengage the blade, shift into reverse, back up,
shift back into 1st and then re-engage the blade. Probably wouldn't be a
big deal if it had a tighter turning radius. But given the turning radius
you have to do a lot of backing up in my standard suburban lot.
I'll have to send it in for service this fall or early next year to have the
transmission checked. Sometimes first gear simply does not work. I put it
into first and the wheels do not turn. Sometimes if I leave it in first
gear when the engine is off (no park remember) the mower will roll if it's
not on perfectly level ground. Fortunately second gear has (almost) always
worked. Unfortunately reverse sometimes has the same problem - and of
course there is only one reverse gear.
I can't understand how they failed to make simple, low cost improvements
which anyone who used the mower would know were desirable. One example, the
seat is black vinyl - just like my old Snapper. And just like the old
Snapper, if that black seat has been in the summer sun for a few minutes you
don't want to sit on it if you are wearing shorts. Do they not know that
black things get hot in the sun? Or do they not know that people mow grass
when the sun is shinning? Sheesh! Another example, there is a large black
tube which carries the cuttings from the mower deck to the bagger attachment
on the rear. It can sometimes get clogged. If that tube were simply made
from clear plastic you could see instantly when the tube was clogged.
Well ... I am not sure that exhausts all of the reasons I wish I had not
purchased this mower but you get the idea.
This is not a newsgroup which I follow. I am contributing this report in
the hope that it will prevent someone from making the same mistake I made.
I may follow this group for a few days to respond to questions/comments but
You only cut your grass twelve times, in two years?
All new riders have that feature.
Perhaps you should have bought a zero-turn mower. Or, better yet, maybe you
should have inquired about the turning radius of this mower, before you
Did you not think about the black seat, when you purchased the mower?
It sounds to me as though you didn't research your options, before
purchasing the mower. You didn't research or inquire about the turning
radius. You saw it had a black seat. Did you not think it would get hot?
Oh. We'll feel quite fortunate, then, if you grace us with your replies. I
expect a drive-by, though. You wanted someplace to whine because you didn't
think a major purchase through, thoroughly.
The real bottom line: You made a bad purchase, due to your lack of
research. Get over it.
-Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
Yes. It was mowed much more often than that but not by me and not using my
Well ... In my mind knowing about a defect when I make a purchase does not
mean that I am never allowed to criticize the defect.
Part of my yard has a fairly steep slope and I thought that I needed a
rear-engine mower because I think that they have a lower center of gravity
than the lawn tractor style mowers. I also wanted the bagger attachment.
If there is another rear-engine bagger available I am not aware of it. Also
the old mower was in pretty bad shape and I needed a mower. The grass did
not stop growing while I was looking for a new mower! I did do Internet
searches but found nothing which indicated quality problems and a company
unresponsive to customer complaints.
You call it whining I call it bitching. My main complaint is that it needed
to go back to the dealer twice during two years of light use. I am not sure
what kind of research would have allowed me to predict that. I think that
my report is a contribution. You obviously think otherwise. Fine.
I don't think Snapper is mad by "Snapper" anymore.
I have one of the last real 04 0 turn Snappers.
It's only fault is that the blades spin so fast they suck everything off
the ground including new grass in damp soil.
A commercial John Deere is still a John Deere and dearly price too. but
it will last and isn't cantankerous.
You say you had another Snapper before this... Was it bought from the
same dealer? Did this dealer service it regularly for you? Or did you
just walk in and buy the same machine you had? (Yes, the Snapper rear
engine rider is almost exactly the same machine as 40 years ago, that is
what makes it so popular, so durable, so reliable AND SO IMITATED.) Did
you have a good working relationship with the dealer or have you just
been a nuisance with "warranty" complaints?
You say the first time it failed, it was covered by warranty. It has
often been my experience that, especially on newer machines, and
Snappers in particular, customers who are not familiar with the safety
systems are their own worst enemy. The machine shuts down due to a
safety error, like your seat complaint that follows, then they try to
restart the machine without putting any of the controls back into the
starting positions. Often this can be avoided by reading the manual.
Also, because Snapper's rear engine rider can be stored upright,
standing on the rear bumper, after removing the battery; there is a fuel
shut off valve AND a fuel cap vent valve. Many people "play" with the
little silver screw in the top of the fuel cap, vacuum sealing the gas
tank. Shortly thereafter, they run out of gas. They look in the tank,
and it is full. The machine starts right back up, they drive of and run
out of gas again in less than a minute. Unless the machine is being
stood up in its bumper, that little silver screw needs to be tightened
all the way OUT (CCW) so that it can't vibrate itself closed. This, too,
is clearly indicated in the manual.
Speaking of the manual, if you had read the warranty, or the warranty of
ANY outdoor power equipment manufacturer, you would KNOW that belts are
not covered under warranty. Exceptions occur, but are rare and require
the efforts of the dealer on your behalf. One of the reasons that belts
aren't covered by warranty is that many users will leave the lawn in the
spring until it is several inches tall, then go try to mow it down to an
inch and a half in one pass in top gear. The stresses this puts on the
machine, let alone a belt, are well beyond the design and operating
parameters of the machine. If you need a hay baler, a rear engine rider
is not the machine for the job!
Sadly, because of the a**holes who don't read the owner's manuals, don't
operate the machines safely, and don't keep children away from these
powerful dangerous machines, these safety features are required BY LAW.
I have seen women and a few men be unable to operate their machines at
all due to the seat position relative to the pedals. I know of a man
(may he rest in peace) who ground off his own leg above the ankle
because he ignored the safety rules and operating instruction. In order
the fully depress the pedals they had to leave the seat on their larger
garden tractors. The seat on a Snapper rear engine rider however should
not be overly sensitive to position. This might have been an adjustment
outlined in the owner's manual, or a dealer "warrantable" adjustment,
but again, what kind of relationship have you created with your dealer?
On EVERY Snapper rear engine rider I have ever seen there is a
mechanical brake and parking brake. On some, it is a lever on the center
"tube", on others, a slide out tab that holds down the brake pedal. In
order to leave the seat without turning the engine off, that brake must
be set. After all, every Snapper rear engine rider has the ability to be
started manually. If you can't leave the seat, how can you pull the
rope? (Granted, I have not seen any riders newer than series 19 at this
point, but that has always been one of Snapper's special specifications,
and even Kohler had to build special Command 15 engines with both
starters for Snapper before Briggs and Stratton bought Snapper (and
parent company Simplicity.)
The only company whose seat is not black is John Deere. In actual use,
even the John Deere seat is "black", as the grass stains, petroleum
products, and other "dirt" around a lawn mower is such that the seat
fairly quickly gets coated and stained. If you really want a cooler
seat, there are aftermarket "wooley" seat covers available. Ask your
dealer if he can find you one.
Many manufacturers have used, and still do use, a clear "plexiglass"
tube. It is literally a rolled and seamed sheet of plexiglass. It is a
great money maker for them and their dealers, as it usually lasts about
the length of one mowing season, some of the thicker ones might last
two. Cut grass has a lot of moisture, and is very acidic. The clear
tubes do not hold up. By the time they are thick enough to withstand the
vibration, impacts (from the grass and "other" things that come out of
the mower), and acidity, they are barely see through. So, Snapper
doesn't waste their money, or yours, on a tube that won't work. If you
are mowing the grass as often as it should be mown, maintaining its
height correctly, and operating the engine at full throttle, as
described in the owner's manual, the Snapper chute should only plug when
the bagger is full to overflowing! In fact, in thirty years in the
outdoor power equipment industry, I have never met anyone who, while
operating a Snapper rear engine rider according to the instructions,
could plug its chute. I have even personally used a 33" 11Hp Snapper to
cut heavy grass in the rain, something that is far out of the bounds of
Snapper's recommended practices, without plugging the chute. So I'm
beginning to think your "light" use isn't really so light. (See my
earlier comment about the hay baler.) Since you said in another reply
that you have a service, I'm guessing the only time your Snapper gets
used is when they haven't been out for two weeks due to rain and
weather. The grass is six inches tall again and you want it cut, NOW! If
I'm wrong, please accept my apology, but after thirty years of seeing
it, time and time again, I doubt that I am.
One of the other replies indicated you might have wanted a ZERO-TURN
rider, but you indicated you wanted a bagger. If you had consulted the
dealer about your options, your Snapper dealer could have sold you a
zero-turn rider that would use the same single or double bag catcher
that fit the rear engine rider. But that would have required that pesky
relationship with the dealer again. You might want to start over,
probably with another dealer, and maybe you can get it right this time.
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