True Cost of lawn tractor ownership

lkoolFebruary 6, 2013

I am thinking about purchasing a Husqvarna YTH21K46 or possibly a higher end tractor. I am curious to hear what the true cost of ownership is for people who own this or any other tractor.


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I own a JD LT-155 Kohler 15hp, I have 0.77 of an acre, about 0.5 in grass. The tractor and trailer are used for miscellaneous yard task; planting, clean, up, flower bed, hauling dirt/mulch, etc.

The tractor has a 2 gal. gas tank and I can mow about 3 times on a tank.

I do my own service work including sharpening the blade. I purchase a tune up kit from JD. (2qt oil, Oil/gas/air filters, spark plug) for about 40 dollars once per year.

I spend about $10 per year for miscellaneous things light bulbs, wax, etc.

I have had the tractor for about 10 years and had to replace a mower belt about $70??? and broke the wheel off of the deck when I hit a tree root, $90

When I got it, I had the service performed by the local JD farm equipment dealer, but because of cost about($300/event pickup, delivery, parts and service) do it myself. I assume I will have to have the tractor serviced by the dealer in the next couple of years.

I expect to have to have the blades sharpened by a professional and replace them in the next several year about $50. At some time in the future will probable have to buy new tires at about $50 a piece

That is balanced by the fun of riding around on the tractor and taking the grandchildren rides in the trailer through the wooded back part of the yard. Also,the time I filled a large shallow hole in the yard. With my wife in the trailer and I driving the tractor we rode over the new dirt to pack it down. We were laughing like fools as we talked about what the neighbors were thinking about the old couple going round and round in the front yard

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:32AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I have a Husqvarna YTH21K48 and I would not recommend it. It will be 2 years old in the spring.

I have had multiple safety switch failures and a broken housing on the blade spindle, which also took out the belt. I have never hit anything with the blades except a few hickory nuts.

Something is draining the battery and I haven't been able to find it. If it sits more than a week it will not start until I recharge the battery so I keep a solar maintainer on it now. It is possibly a bad battery because I can remove the cables and check with my ohmmeter and the circuit is open.

I have spent over $200 in repair parts. If I had have taken it to a dealer for repair I am sure it would have been in excess of $500.

I do like it overall since it is powerful and comfortable. But I have a feeling it won't last long.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:37AM
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A machine such as you are looking at will need a fair amount of care and attention. Don't expect to just keep it parked, get on it once a week, cut grass and that's it. If you do, expect to pay a considerable amount in repairs/maintenance ($300-500/yr?).
OTOH, if you are a shadetree mechanic type such as knuttle above who successfully does much of his own maintenance on a serious schedule, your operating costs will be modest.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:43AM
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As previously stated, if you're "handy" and do your own maintenance your costs will be low. If you hire everything done, then due to costs, delay having stuff done, OUCH!

I believe the tractor you mention is a lawn tractor, meant for mowing and towing a garden cart, not for heavier work like pushing a plow, ground engaging attachments etc. If that fits your needs great. If you have thoughts of adding attachments and doing more work you'll have to go to a heavier machine.

Most importantly, do you use equipment properly and do you have kids who will be abusing it? I've seen decent machines bought and then turned over to a kid who proceeded to destroy it in less than a season....:-(

Good luck,


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 10:07AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Ev, you are very correct on having kids who will be abusing it. I had a stepchild, and one of his chores was to cut the grass once a week. If it needed cutting twice I would do it.

I was having to sharpen the blades and replace them way too often. I came home from work early one day and found the problem. He was mowing the gravel in the driveway......

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:12PM
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There is something that helps offset the dollar cost and work (in doing routine maintenance): I put a cold drink in the drink holder, get a really big, fat cigar, leave my cellphone in the house, and am rewarded with two solid hours of just driving the tractor - it's soothing to my inner being, and is absolutely priceless.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 6:09PM
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There are those that dislike mowing the yard, but I am with you. It is nice to sit on the tractor going around the yard. The decision you have to make are simple, do I go on one side the tree or the other.

If things have been going bad, it gives you some uninterrupted time to think about you problems, to think about your next project in the yard, in your shop, the noise your car is making, .................

Just free unstructured time.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:39PM
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And, for example, if you paid $2,000 for it and it is now has completed its 5th year, it has cost $400 per year so far for the equipment purchase - in addition to the cost for the upkeep. If you sold it after the 5 years and got $1,000 for it, then the cost for purchasing the equipment was but $200 per year.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 8:42AM
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Of course you would be getting a bigger one so the $200 would be invalid ;-)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:19PM
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