Friday, August 20, 2010

Lessons from a wrecked Toro Personal Pace recycler lawn mower

I'm not a motor guy. I prefer bikes, skinny skis, kayaks, skates, feet - most anything else. Even so, I've kept my usually pre-owned lawn mowers going for a few years.

Until I got fancy and bought a new, monstrous, Toro "guaranteed to start" "Personal Pace" self-propelled "recycler" mower with a "Briggs and Stratton" engine. I used it for about 1 season before I confirmed this chap's experience:
Toro Personal Pace Recycler Mower 20073 Reviews. Buying Guides & Consumer Product Reviews -
Pros: Easy to move around not much more to say about Pros.
Cons: Check the oil often. I'm leaving this one at the curb and buying a Honda!
I purched my Toro a year ago. Make sure you check the oiloften I checked it once in the year I owned it (like I did with my Honda I have had for 15 years) and the engine seized. save your money and buy a Honda!...
I probably used it about 8 times. Did I mention I'm not a lawn guy? I'd have probably checked the oil come the fall, but it never got there.

So I'm out $400 or so for the mower, - plus $35 for the checkup because lack of oil isn't quite covered by warranty. The manual, by the way, says to "check oil before each use or daily". I kind of missed that bit.

I get annoyed when I waste $10 on a bad book, so I'm definitely looking for lessons from this one. The one silver lining was I despised the mower. It was heavy, clumsy, lousy on hills, and overall it was designed for cutting estate lawns rather than our weeds.

Here are my early lessons. I'm still looking to add more ...
  1. Never buy anything from Toro or Briggs and Stratton. I think I can remember that one.
  2. Don't buy anything without research. I'm used to researching bikes, cameras, cars and so on, but I thought I could go to a reputable place and just pick up a mower. Wrong.
  3. Buy the simplest stuff possible. I didn't need the "personal pace" feature, I didn't need the recycler. I did need a minimal maintenance device. The store I went to didn't have anything simpler.
  4. Never buy anything over $50 in a hurry. I should have left the store when I didn't see what I wanted, instead I bought what they had.
  5. I'm really not an engine guy.
Now I'm researching the alternatives. I like the look of this Gardena LiOn mower (high-end cylinder motor with LiOn boost), but I'm definitely doing my research first ...

Update: My Amazon review. Most of the reviewers do like this mower.


Jacob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacob said...

I have one of these. Like it.

JGF said...

You know, most of the time "one of these" posts go to porn sites :-). Fortunately I recognized your mug.

How's the home alone stuff going? Hard for me to imagine, but soon enough.

I'm not that crazy about the cord, but I'm getting used to the idea.

M@jorAppliance said...

I had the same exact experience. I used mine approximately 10 times and the motor seized up. My friend bought the same model and his blew up, blowing a hole in the side of the block complete with shrapnel in about as many uses. Once Toro consumer grade stuff got away from dealer sales model and started building to price point for Home Depot, they started turning out utter garbage.