Buyers Guide To Choosing A Second Hand Petrol Lawnmower

Buyers Guide To Choosing A Second-Hand Petrol Lawnmower

Welcome to my buyers guide on choosing a second-hand petrol lawnmower.

I’m going to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the last 13 years whilst picking up lawnmowers to repair for profit.

I have purchased hundreds if not thousands of used petrol lawnmowers and been to so many locations to pick up lawnmowers to repair for profit.

I’ve seen a good few scams, tips and tricks people use to sell their old lawnmowers.

In this article, I’m going to share my knowledge to help you make an informed purchase when looking for a great second-hand lawnmower.

More importantly,  I’m also going to tell you things to avoid.

Why Choose A Second-Hand Petrol Lawnmower

I often browse through the current new ranges of petrol lawnmowers in despair.

I see a lot of well-respected names bringing out lawnmowers with cheap Chinese engines and really poor quality components. A lot of the current models have terrible plastic cutting decks and height adjusters.

They are simply just not built to last in many cases however, the price is comparable to lawnmowers built 10-15 even 20 years ago.

When I bought my first lawnmower it had a quality metal deck, excellent components and a very well built Briggs and Stratton Engine.

I still use it to this day. It has stood the test of time and parts are still easy to find new and second hand.

There are of course new lawnmowers with all these qualities but the majority are poorly built.

The most recent petrol lawnmower I have seen with all the features and quality of my own that’s a sensible price is Mcculloch M46-120R Classic Petrol Self-Propelled Single Speed 120 cc Lawn Mower

I really like this lawnmower it ticks a lot of the boxes for me.

In short people still wish to purchase a branded quality petrol lawnmower with a strong reliable engine such as the Briggs And Stratton 35 Classic.

A second-hand lawnmower can be a very sensible option at a fraction of the price of a new one.

Where To Buy A Great Second Hand Lawnmower?

Ebay and Facebook Marketplace are really great places to look for cheap second-hand petrol lawnmowers.

Recently I have used Facebook a lot more than eBay as it’s a lot easier to send messages and photos back and forth.

As you read through this article you will find all the questions you may wish to ask the seller and it’s currently much quicker via Facebook.

I have bought some excellent second-hand lawnmowers simply through responding to adverts people have placed in local shop windows.

Keep your eye out everywhere and don’t be afraid to ask on facebook for anyone selling petrol lawnmowers.

This works well, as people can send you a picture and you can see the lawnmower and offer them a price based on what you see.

What’s The Best Time Of Year To Purchase A Second-Hand Lawnmower?

Any time if the price is right is the quickest answer!

Keep an eye out in the winter months for the real bargains. Many times I get an amazing deal when someones moving house.

I love to read an advert that says “Need gone asap” I like to buy lot’s of lawnmowers in the winter months and fix them during this period.

It’s a nice feeling knowing they are repaired and ready to go in the spring. I like to think of it as a savings account as I get a far better return on my money than I would with any bank account.

I regularly repair second-hand lawnmowers for profit, take a look at this playlist of videos on how to maintain a second hand lawnmower

Please subscribe to my Youtube channel here

Should I Buy A Working Or Spares Or Repair Petrol Lawnmower?

If you are simply looking for a second-hand lawnmower then I suggest purchasing a second hand one in good working order. I will discuss things to avoid when purchasing second-hand lawnmowers further through this article.

I absolutely love purchasing broken second-hand lawnmowers. You can pick them up so cheaply or often for free.

A lot of people like to list there broken products for sale as it’s a lot easier for someone to come and pick them up from them rather than having to try and take a broken lawnmower to the tip/skip.

Once you know all the repairs I show on my youtube channel you should be able to purchase almost any petrol lawnmower and repair it quickly and cheaply.

You can find my youtube channel by clicking Youtube on the menu section of this website or here

Which Is The Best Make Of Lawnmower To Purchase Second Hand?

There are a few factors that decide the answer to this question. If you are looking for a lawnmower that’s ready to go then a Honda is a great choice for a second-hand lawnmower.

The cutting decks are usually solid and Honda lawnmowers are renowned for easy starting. I would always stick to a brand name when purchasing a second-hand lawnmower, this way parts are easily sourced.

I have had lots of used lawnmowers that I like and among the front-runners are Mountfield, Champion, Hayter, Honda, Sovereign, McCulloch, Atco, Flymo and Qualcast.

In short, if it’s brand you have heard of it’s usually a good choice. I’m usually prepared to pay a little more for Honda And Hayter lawnmowers as the quality is much better than most.

If you are looking for a second-hand lawnmower at rock bottom prices to hopefully repair and use then I highly recommend anything with a Briggs And Stratton engine.

This is the easiest and cheapest lawnmower to repair. 90% of the time the Briggs and Stratton lawnmowers with a pulsa style carburettor are being sold due to poor starting or hunting and surging issues. This is a really simple and cheap fix and can be done in under 10 minutes.

See my article on hunting and surging to find out more

This simple fix can also make you a lot of money repairing lawnmowers for profit. It’s my most common repair.

Learning this one repair will not only help you purchase a second-hand lawnmower you can use, but it can also be used time and time again to make extra income.

My advice for purchasing second-hand lawnmowers to either repair for yourself or repair for profit is definitely Briggs And Stratton. I can have the whole petrol tank and carburettor removed simply by removing 2 bolts!

My personal favourite second hand petrol lawnmower is the Mountfiel Sp470 with Briggs and Stratton 35 Classic Engine.

See how to service this engine here


Reason For Sale

I love to see a reason for sale stated in an advert. It gives me confidence that the lawnmower is in good working order. This is crucial if you are looking for a used lawnmower in good working order.

Some of the best things you can read as a buyer are. “No longer needed due to house move” or “Unwanted Present” Yes unbelievably people gift petrol lawnmowers to each other!

I have also seen adverts that state no longer needed as we used to use it at our caravan etc. I call these genuine reasons for sale.

What you are looking for as a buyer is a reason for sale that seems genuine. Amazingly these reasons usually are genuine and more often than not I end up with a great running lawnmower.

It’s much better purchasing a lawnmower with a description with a genuine reason for sale than from an advert that just says “lawnmower for Sale” with no details.

Missing Pull Cord Handle

This is a bad sign. Usually, the pull cord handle has conveniently gone missing as the current owner wants to make sure you have no way of testing the lawnmower.

This is a different situation to a lawnmower with a pull cord that won’t retract. I’m very wary of pull cords with no handles as there’s no reason for it to be missing unless the pull cord snapped.

I often disregard lawnmowers wit no pull cord handle. It’s highly likely the self-drive won’t work or the crankshaft is bent.

Ask why it’s missing. It’s not often you will get an answer.

Find more information on how to replace a pull cord here

Used Lawnmower Hit Something Hard Reason For Sale

There are many honest sellers who simply write ” This lawnmower was working fine until I hit a drain cover” etc

This could indicate the lawnmower crankshaft is bent.

On many modern lawnmowers, crankshafts are fitted with keyways to prevent damage of the crankshaft.

It is fairly difficult to bend a crankshaft however if the lawnmower has hit something hard there will be damage to the blade and also the blade adapter. This isn’t an easy or cheap fix and often the blade bolt won’t remove without a good quality impact tool.

I would avoid purchasing a lawnmower with this description in most cases. If it’s a very expensive lawnmower and it’s being sold very cheaply it may be worth taking the time to go and see the lawnmower and assess it.

If you are looking for a used lawnmower to do an easy repair on then I would avoid this type.

Rotten Cutting Decks

Anything with a hole in simply avoid.

Grass flies everywhere and it’s obviously unsafe. Having a lawnmower with a rotten deck signifies poor maintenance.

It is likely to be rotten where the handles attach to the cutting deck also.

Definitely avoid unless you intend to buy it for spare parts.

Missing Wheel

It’s really great fun searching the internet for hours on end looking for the correct wheel for a lawnmower, isn’t it?

I’m joking, of course, it’s not!

Honestly, there are so many variations of lawnmower wheels and trying to find a spare one is just awful.

There is also a really sparse selection of second-hand spare wheels online. I’ve often had lawnmowers with wheels missing and it can take a long time to find a spare on eBay.

After all who sells one spare lawnmower wheel anyway?

This might seem to be a simple fix but without the correct part, it’s impossible.

What Am I looking For When Buying A Used Lawnmower?

You are looking for a lawnmower with a genuine reason for sale that is complete with all parts including the grass box. You are looking for a solid metal cutting deck in good cosmetic condition.

You are looking for a quality engine such as a Honda Briggs And Stratton Tecumseh to name a few.

I also like to see an advert that says it has been serviced at some point or one that has the owners manual with it. Anyone who can still locate this manual has more than likely taken good care of the lawnmower.

Make sure that the lawnmower is height adjustable. If it’s not then don’t buy it. They are useless once the grass passes a certain height or the ground is too soft.

If you are looking for a lawnmower to use yourself then look for one that starts well and has been well looked after. Expect to pay a bit more for this though it’ll be worth it. If you see a Honda one that works it would be worth looking into.

If you are looking for a used petrol lawnmower to repair for profit then the best one to buy is one that simply won’t start or stay running. This way it’s usually a matter of diagnosing and repairing rather than having to purchase parts.

Always ask if the lawnmower includes the grass box as often people list lawnmowers for sale and the photograph doesn’t include the grassbox.

Try and get a complete lawnmower with every single part in reasonable condition.

Avoid snapped cables as they are expensive.

Stick to a brand name so you can get parts easily and ask the seller plenty of questions.

Massive Warning And Lawnmowers To Avoid Purchasing 

Do not buy a petrol lawnmower if the self-drive has stopped working. Ever.

  • Be especially sure not to buy a lawnmower with a rear roller where the self-drive has stopped working.

The reason I’m including this information is that trying to manoeuvre a lawnmower where the self-drive is broken can be a nightmare.

Although the lawnmower may push forwards it won’t reverse as the wheels or rear roller lock solid.

This may sound ridiculous at first but attempting to turn around a lawnmower or reverse it when the self-drive is broken is a real pain and can make a terrible mess of your lawn, especially if it has a rear roller.

Never buy a lawnmower without a brand name, engine or deck. Especially one where you can’t find a service ticket.

Replacing a transmission is one of the most expensive repairs on a lawnmower. It’s almost impossible to do if you don’t have a very good mechanical background.

Anything with a broken self-drive simply avoid if you are looking for a quick fix.

How I Look For Second Hand Lawnmowers

I use all the tips listed to look for petrol lawnmowers. For me, it’s all about repairing lawnmowers for profit as quickly as possible.

I don’t want a lawnmower that will take me a week to source parts and repair when I could purchase four or five and repair them all in a single day.

Keeping it simple is the key.

Look for a reasonably sized lawnmower (41 or 46cm cut) are the”Household” standard cutting widths.

I Look everywhere including notice boards in supermarkets and even ask friends. It’s really easy to become the go-to person once people know you are in the business of repairing lawnmowers.

Take a look at my beginner’s guide to repairing lawnmowers for profit here, this includes information on buying and selling.

Where Can I Buy Replacement Parts For Second Hand Lawnmowers

You can’t buy any spare parts whatsoever if you don’t know what make and model the engine and the cutting deck are.

Throughout this article, I have deliberately mentioned Honda Briggs And Stratton etc. There is a reason for this.

Brand name lawnmowers have excellent after-sales service and parts are easy to find. There are many spare parts companies online and off including my own here at the website.

Finding parts for a lawnmower with no known model number for the engine or cutting deck is a disaster waiting to happen. Even if it’s really cheap I would avoid it.

How Do I Know The Make Model And Year Of A Used Petrol Lawnmower

A brand lawnmower will have a service ticket attached to the cutting deck. This is the ticket that has all the information your local lawnmower dealer will ask for when trying to find parts.

The ticket is usually a silver rectangular sticker. It will be attached to the cutting deck.

Many cheap lawnmowers won’t have a service ticket.

When buying a second-hand lawnmower it’s helpful if the service ticket is still readable.

Where To Buy Multiple Second-Hand Lawnmowers To Repair For Profit?

I have previously bought dozens of used lawnmowers in one go. To do this I go to an auction at my local agricultural centre.

Once a month they send me a list out of hundreds of lawnmowers that will be part of the auction.

This could be a great option for anyone looking to purchase multiple lawnmowers or if you are looking to buy a lawnmower for yourself.

It’s great as all the lawnmowers are lined up and you can walk around and test all the lawnmowers at your leisure.

Make a note of the lot number of four or five of the best ones and follow the auctioneer around and bid on them until you get one of the ones you want.

This can be extremely profitable especially if you have the use of a large van to transport them all.

How To Transport A Lawnmower Correctly

When I go to pick up a used lawnmower in the car I like to remove the parcel shelf and fold down the rear seats before I set off.

I always take 2 adjustable spanners just in case I need to fold down the handles on the lawnmower. Sometimes the seller has lost the quick release handles and used a regular nut and bolt to secure the handle. I like to place an old sheet in the boot of my car also.

Don’t worry too much about petrol spillage, after all the lawnmower is designed to be used on various terrain. Just keep the lawnmower as level as possible and take it steady over the speedbumps!

I also carry what I describe as lawnmower body bags. These are usually used in large supermarkets for covering crates etc.

If I go to pick up a lawnmower that’s covered in grass oil and smells strongly of fuel I simply wheel the lawnmower into the “Body Bag” fasten the end with a cable tie and put it in the car.

This is great and eliminates all mess.

Play Detective

General rules for buying a used petrol lawnmower are to ask questions and apply some common sense. By a branded name with everything complete including the grass box. Don’t forget if you are buying used lawnmowers to repair the best type is one that won’t start.

If you are purchasing a used lawnmower to use straight away be sure to see it running for a good few minutes before handing over any money. Often lawnmowers can run fine for the first couple of minutes then have hunting and surging problems or cut out altogether.

Ask Multiple Questions Before Purchasing A Petrol Lawnmower

A good seller really won’t mind answering a few questions if it leads to a sale. So armed with all your new knowledge be sure to do so.

Rinse And Repeat To Repair Lawnmowers For Profit

Once you find out how simple it can be to repair lawnmowers it can become great fun and a very nice side or full-time income. It’s really easy to recycle your profits back into this business.

One killer tip before we finish is to offer delivery when selling a used petrol lawnmower.

I often find my buyer has an old lawnmower they want taken away. Some of these have been absolute gold and I’ve gone on to repair them and sell them for hundreds of pounds profit.

Don’t be afraid to buy a good used second-hand lawnmower. There are lots out there and now you know what to look for and how to find them.

Feel free to check out my current recommendations for new petrol lawnmowers here

Happy Mowing.






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