Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lawn Care - Buying a Ride - On Mower!

lawn care, gardening

Here's an informative Article from Mike Ferrara at www.yardcare.com for all those Readers looking to buy a Ride-On Mower. Some good advice and lots of Tips. Enjoy... terry

In the Market for a New Tractor? Here's A Few Tips To Help You Make the Right Decision

Once you've established your needs there are a few things to know before you head out to the local dealer or home center.

What to Choose:
Experts say remember what you're buying the tractor for - it's fair to say that 90% of the time, you'll be using it to cut your lawn. That means the quality of cut should be your biggest concern. Look for mowing decks that are easily adjustable and feature mulching capabilities.

Typically Tractors Fit into Four Categories:

1. Zero Turning Radius Mowers are an excellent choice if you have more than a 1/2 acre to mow. Professionals have found that zero turning radius riding mowers can cut mowing time in half. How? In a word, zero turning radius mowers are more efficient. The rear wheels provide both the power and the steering, and they operate independently. That means one wheel can rotate forward while the other rotates in reverse. This allows you to make any turn, from 0- to 360-degrees. That unlimited maneuverability means you can trim around your mailbox, cut close to your flowerbeds and reach right to the edge of your lawn. You won't have to make several passes around an obstacle as you would need to on a tractor. Plus, they're fast - Z's can take on straightaways at speeds of up to 6.5mph. That's a couple of miles per hour faster than most tractors and much faster than walking behind a mower. Z's also offer up front visibility and plenty of legroom. Look for models with control dampers on the handles for smooth operation.
2. Riding Mowers are designed for 1/2- to 1-acre lawns and are easy to handle thanks to their good up-front visibility. Their main job is cutting the grass. Riding mowers are limited when it comes to attachments, but can normally handle a grass catcher or dump cart.
3. Lawn Tractors typically have higher horsepower engines, can take on larger lawns and can handle rough terrain better than a riding mower. Lawn tractors can handle additional attachments including a cart, sunshade, snowthrower and aerators.
4. Garden Tractors are the highest horsepower machines. If tilling a large garden or towing larger loads are on your to-do list, look for two-cylinder engines and rugged transmissions available on garden tractors.

Keep in mind that these categories are not written in stone. Many manufacturers offer mid-range tractors that are the size of a lawn tractor but have garden tractor engines that can handle ground-engaging tools.

Power and Dependability:
The engine is the heart of every quality tractor. Engines on bigger machines can go up to 23hp. For reduced maintenance and a prolonged life, choose engines with a high efficiency oil pump and filter, and a cooling fan to reduce engine stress.

For strength and durability, a one-piece cast iron axle is key. It also is important that the axle has dual adjustable tie rods to keep the wheels properly aligned. This one-piece casting gives the wheel spindle added support for minimum tire wear.

If you are planning on using heavy attachments, like a snowthrower or blade in front, or a tiller in back, look for overall frame support. Steel beam channels running the entire length of the tractor will give the support heavy attachments demand.

Safety and Comfort:
Safety features are a priority for tractor consumers. Make sure your tractor choice features a seat shutoff switch, which instantly kills the engine if you leave the seat while the wheels or attachments are moving.

Make sure the gasoline tank is separate from the engine and battery. Spilling a little gasoline is common, and it could ignite on a hot engine or from a battery spark.

Another example of an in-demand safety feature is a system that prevents mowing in reverse. Look for features that prevent mowing in reverse under normal conditions, but allow operators to choose to mow in reverse after they have taken steps to ensure that it is safe to do so.

Although operating a tractor in low-light conditions is never recommended, there will be times when you need extra light. Make sure your equipment has high-powered headlights.

Consumers also are interested in having comfort features. Tilt steering, adjustable seat and a cup holder on a tractor may seem extravagant, but think about it--if you spend an hour and a half to two hours a weekend on your tractor, it may be more time than you spend commuting in your car each day.

Where to Buy:
Once you've decided what type of tractor to buy, the next decision is where to purchase your tractor. Should you go to the local discount store, mass merchant or to a dealer? According to experts, discount stores offer low prices and convenient evening and weekend hours, but they may fall behind in service and quality. Dick Parish, an engineer with the Louisiana State University's AgCenter's Hammond Research Station says store tractors tend to be low-cost and of lower quality than tractor dealers sell and in many cases, parts and service are not available.

According to Parish, mass merchandisers can be a step up. "The tractors are typically equivalent in quality to discount store tractors, but the sales staff may be more knowledgeable and parts and service may be available."

If you're looking for top quality selection and great service most experts say your best bet is to head to a dedicated lawn and garden equipment dealer. "Dealers tend to have higher-quality tractors and the quality of sales and service staff and parts availability can be very good, adds Parish." Chances are a dealer will be better at recommending the type of riding mower or tractor that will best suit your needs.

Terry Blackburn. Internet Marketing Consultant, living in South Shields in the North-East of England. Author and Producer of blog http://www.lawnsurgeon.blogspot.com Author of "Your Perfect Lawn," a 90 Page eBook devoted to Lawn Preparation, Lawn Care and Maintenance. Find it at http://www.lawnsurgeon.com

I would be very interested to have your comments on this Article.

Article Source: http://www.yardcare.com

lawn care, gardening

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