Lawn mowers are built to withstand tricky outdoor conditions and last for long periods of time. These machines are robust but of course, nothing will last forever. You’re probably wondering how long can you realistically expect your push mower to last so that’s what I’ll try to answer here.
Most push mowers will last for about 10 years or roughly 500 hours of run time. Lawn mowers can continue running for many more years if they are properly maintained and rebuilds are performed. Some push mowers can last 20 to 30 years if repair parts are still available.
A good lawn mower is something you’ll want to keep for as long as you can. Once you get used to how it runs, how to maintain it and how to repair it, switching to a new one is not always what you want to do. On the other hand you might find that your mower is so old that you find yourself constantly trying to repair it. Sometimes this is no longer viable and so getting a new one is the best option.
If you’re truly attached, you can basically make your mower last as long as you want.
Below is a chart with a basic maintenance schedule for the parts on a gas-powered push mower. Of course, different lawn mowers wear differently and may need more work than others but that’s how it usually goes for any machinery.
It’s good practice to keep a routine to ensure everything is kept in good condition so your mower can run smoothly.
|Inspect the mower, scrape the deck
|Sharpen mower blades
|Check/replace spark plugs
|Change air filter
How Long Should a Push Mower Last?
It’s hard to say how long a push lawn mower will last in exact terms. Some people like to specify a time period in hours while others judge by the number of years that it lasts. The former is very common in zero-turn mowers which often have hour meters and are usually used for commercial purposes. Your standard gas-powered push mower is unlikely to have an hour meter so it can be really hard to tell how old the mower is and how much its been used.
Generally speaking, you can expect the average mower to last for around ten years. Obviously we’re making a vast generalisation here but let’s assume that on average you spend one hour per week mowing the lawn. That would be approximately 52 hours per year and 520 hours in 10 years. If you mow less frequently because you live in a seasonal area where your mower is sat still for half the year or you have a much smaller yard that you can cover in less time, you might expect the number of hours to be less at the ten year mark and perhaps your mower could last a bit longer. Similarly if you’re super keen on lawn care and you mow a large lawn multiple times per week, your might expect your mower to last less than ten years.
More expensive mowers are known to last longer than cheaper ones. In general, more expensive mowers tend to be of higher quality but it’s not always the case. Some brands have really good reputations too. For example it’s pretty common to hear of Honda mowers lasting 20-30 years. These tend to last longer because of their design and build quality. In reality, any mower can break down if the owner doesn’t put into any effort to maintain parts that need to be cleaned, repaired or replaced.
If you buy a mower and you don’t look after it properly, it’s highly likely to break down fast. Some mowers will be finished after a single season or two if the owner is particularly careless. If your lawn mower starts to have problems within a couple of years, you seriously need to consider your maintenance habits to stop this from happening again since the expected lifetime is much higher than this.
On the other hand, there’s a lot of people out there using mowers that are over thirty years old. Some people have certain models that they’ve had for a really long time and have taken great care of them.
Sometimes it’s not possible to maintain a lawn mower because certain parts may no longer be available. If you cant find a certain part, it’s going to get very difficult to keep an older mower running.
Do Lawn Mowers Require a Lot of Maintenance?
If you want your mower to last for a long while, you’re going to have to do a lot of maintenance work on it over time.
There’s a lot of people out there who won’t want to bother. These folks tend to buy a cheaper mower that’s second hand. They’ll tend to run it until it dies and then repeat this process. There’s nothing really wrong with this although you may end up paying more over time for constantly replacing it and you wont get the advantage of getting used to one particular mower.
So it’s true, if you want your mower to have a long lasting life, you will need to do a fair amount of maintenance.
I’d recommend getting in the habit of doing some basic checks before and after every mow. If you can stay on top of problems and catch them early, you’re way more likely to have more serious problems further down the road.
After each mow, you should:
- Wipe down the mower
- Scrape out the deck
- Clean the chute
- Clean the wheels
- Check the blades for any dents
- Check for fluid leaks
- Check the oil
- Fill with fresh gas for the next mow
- Clean the air filter
- Check for fluid leaks
- Look for other worn/broken parts
Beyond your basic maintenance routine, there are other things you’ll need to watch out for. Certain parts of your mower will wear out with time and will need to be adjusted or replaced in their own time.
The engine, blades, pull cord, spark plug, air filter and wheels are some examples of parts that will need to be dealt with on their own accord.
These parts will need to be replaced or serviced in the range of a few months to several years. It’s wise to do a thorough check before the season starts so that a specialist can confirm everything is running as it should be.
You should make sure you get your mower serviced at the start or the end of every mowing season. Try and schedule in regular appointments with a lawn mower service and repair shop so you can guarantee your mowers maintenance for years to come.
Signs Your Push Mower Needs a Rebuild
If you want to continue to use the same lawn mower for years on end, there are some warning signs you’ll need to watch out for. Its pretty common for mowers to give plenty of warning signs if they’re going to break down.
Rebuilding a push mower’s engine is a huge part of extending out the time it will last. The engine on a push mower usually last between 10 and 20 years. It really just depends on how its looked after the brand you choose.
Because it’s such a wide range of time and you really have no accurate way of determining how long the engine will last, you don’t want to deal with the expensive and time-costly process of an engine rebuild unless you absolutely have to.
Here are some of the warning signs you should look out for…
Signs to Watch For
- Trouble starting the mower – You should be able to get your mower running quickly. It should start on the first pull. A sputtering engine is not a good sign. If you’re having difficulty starting your engine, it could be due to numerous causes. I’d recommend checking the spark plug, fuel filter and carburetor first. If those are fine, the next likely culprits are a broken flywheel key, defective recoil starter or a malfunctioning ignition coil.
- Loss of Power – This can be caused by a few different reasons. It can be caused be reduced compression in a cylinder.
- Noisy engine/Vibration – This is usually caused by loose bearings. It could also be the blade assembly or a damaged muffler.
- White from exhaust – If you’re seeing white from the exhaust, it’s most likely that the engine is burning too much oil which may be because you added too much. It could also be from a worn cylinder or piston, faulty carburetor or a failed head gasket.
- Milky engine oil – Oil that has a white milky color to it is oil that has water in it. The is is usually caused by a damaged cylinder head.
- Debris in the engine oil – Usually caused by mechanical parts breaking off from wear and tear over time.
If you lawn mower is having these problems, it might be time to consider rebuilding the engine of your mower. Since these symptoms can occur from problems that are not related to the engine too, its a good idea to get it check out/serviced beforehand.
How Long Do Electric Push Mowers Last?
By this point, you’ve probably also wondered how an electric battery-powered mower will compare to a gas-powered push mower.
Electric mowers have the advantage over gas-powered mowers in that they are very easy to maintain. All you really have to worry about is keeping the battery in check and the rest is pretty straightforward. As long as the mower is kept free of debris and the blades are sharp, you don’t have to worry about parts that you would in a gas powered mower. An engine is pretty complex and there are multiple things that need to function properly for the mower to work.
The downside of battery-powered mowers is that the battery won’t last as long as an engine… and not even close. The batteries in these mowers are usually lithium-ion batteries. It’s often claimed that the battery will last for up to 5 years but I’ve found it’s usually a little less than this. Also, the charge begins to decrease over time which can be pretty frustrating when your mid mow and the battery keeps dying before you’re expecting it to. Then again, you can always replace the battery but this can cost almost as much as the mower. A lot of the batteries are brand specific too so it’s not really a great solution.
Simply put, gas powered mowers last longer than electric mowers.
How Long Do 4-Strokes Last?
Another important factor that will determine how long a mower will last is the engine type.
Most lawn mowers will either have a 2-stroke or a 4-stroke engine. Nowadays 4-strokes are way more common. 2-strokes have largely been phased out of the market because they don’t meet new emissions criteria. You’ll still see older mowers that have 2-stroke engines but most mowers today are 4-stroke.
A 4-stroke lawn mower engine will typically last for a maximum of 500 hours if it is well maintained. It can wear out more quickly if it is treated with a lack of care.
Of course, there will be variation between different engine types. It is possible for 4-stroke engines to last longer than this time.
If you have a 4-stroke engine in your lawn mower and you’re over 200 hours and experiencing symptoms. You should might want to consider a rebuild of your mower.
How Long Do 2-Strokes Last?
Many older lawn mower models have 2-stroke engines because this engine type was a lot more common in previous years.
2-stroke lawn mower engines should run well for up to 300 hours before an engine rebuild needs to be considered. If you’re approaching this range and experiencing issues, it’s a good idea to get it checked out by a specialist.
The average life of a 2-stroke and 4-stroke engine is not set in stone. It really comes down to the quality of the maintenance. If both engines are looked after properly, they will last for a similar amount of time.
What Wears Out on a Push Mower?
As a lawn mower ages, the parts aren’t going to wear at the same rate. Just from the way it’s designed, certain parts of the mower will be under a lot more stress than others and so they will have to be serviced or replaced at different times. In any event, every part will eventually need to be replaced as nothing lasts for ever.
If you want to keep it for a number of years, these are the major parts that will need to be replaced to keep your mower running:
Your mower’s engine is really the most important part. We’ve talked about the engine in some detail above. The engine of a push mower usually lasts 10 years or 500 hours of use.
The air filter on your mower is critical. If it’s dirty and old, your mower may suffer less power, rough starts and reduced fuel efficiency. The air filter on a mower should be replaced every 50 hours or at the end of the season, whichever comes first. In the meantime it can should regularly cleaned with soap and water.
Mower blades will last between 100 and 200 hours. If you’ve got really high quality blades, they could last you slightly longer. I like to change mine pretty regularly as they often get damaged too. You can really only sharpen your mower’s blades a few times before you will need to replace them entirely.
If you’re slightly confused on whether you should sharpen or replace your mowers blades, I’ve written a helpful article here which should help you figure it out.
Lawn mower’s run on oil and gas and its critical that these are properly mixed. If they aren’t, it can cause a lot of damage to the engine.
Make sure you have the correct gas for your mower. Above we discussed 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines and these require different types of fuel. Make sure you know what fuel your mower runs on.
Fuel Line & Fuel Pump
The fuel line is critical for the engine to work properly so it’s very important to make sure it’s in good condition. A mower’s fuel line and fuel pump filter should be replaced every season or after every 30 hours of mowing.
Most lawn mowers are reliable machines and built to last. They can undergo a fair amount of wear and tear during their life. Your average push mower will hold up for around 10 years (as long as the mower is used appropriately) but its’ common to see mowers lasting much longer than this if they are well maintained.
Old well looked after push mowers are evidence that they don’t have a set lifespan. If you’re willing to maintain it and replace parts when necessary, they can basically last forever.
Some people aren’t so committed to their mowers (and that’s totally fine), but those who are will be glad to know they can keep their mower for many years ahead.
More Helpful Resources
How to Maintain Lawn Mower Blades – Ensuring your blades are in great shape is essential to the look and health of your grass. This post gives some tips on how to keep them in good condition.
9 Steps to Winterize Your Lawn Mower – A great resource for learning how to store your mower away in the winter and for and general mower maintenance too!
How Often Should You Replace Your Lawn Mower Air Filter? – More guidance on replacing the air filter in your lawn mower.