Lawn Equipment & Yard Maintenance Tips

My Journey and Education of Purchasing a Riding Mower

Researching and understanding what type of riding mower to purchase has been an interesting journey. There are so many brands and so many factors to consider; the size of the cutting deck, the correct horsepower, and price all come into play. While better-known brands are not necessarily the driving force, the quality of the mower and certainly the warranty provided by the manufacturer make a big difference.

My needs of cutting less than one acre kept me looking at the lawn tractor end of the mower spectrum. Cub Cadet seemed to be a popular model and offered many choices of models, a good warranty (3 Years no hour limit), and several places I could purchase them from. I decided on the LT46 with the Kohler engine as my mower of choice.

I then turned my focus as to where I could purchase this unit. The big box stores that I often frequent for lumber and hardware offer this model. There is also a local Cub Cadet dealership equally as close that carries these as well. My theory is the larger stores will have the best price plus, they do carry the basic parts I would need to do the annual maintenance myself.

As I pulled into the parking lot, there it was, the LT46 sitting right out front. I was glad to see they had it in stock. I went inside to get a better look at one. I found it sitting with some other brands of mowers by the grills. A very nice fellow came over and asked if I needed assistance; I proceeded to ask him about the mower and expressed my interest in purchasing it. I asked what the warranty covered, he replied “Uhm…I believe everything.” Being a helpful fellow, we walked over to the computer, he looked it up, and read it off. No warranty covers everything but theirs covered its fair share.

I then asked him about oil changes and how often I would have to do them, plus tune-ups. He was unsure and tried to find a manual to explain. We looked through it and found there is an oil change after the first 5 hours then every 50 hours or once per year. I then asked if they had the parts in stock for me to do the oil change, tune-up, and an extra belt just in case. He smiled and apologized for his lack of knowledge but indicated he did not normally work in that department. I thanked him for his efforts and went back looking at the mower. Under the hood, I found a decal that had all the part numbers needed for basic maintenance, including the belt I wanted to get. Since I had planned to pay by credit card, I thought it would be best to head home and do some on-line research, order the mower, and buy the initial oil change and belt.

I went on the box store’s website and added the mower to my cart and was a bit surprised to find there was a shipping charge of $152.99 to have it delivered to my home. However, there was free shipping to the store and I could pick it up when I wanted. Unfortunately, I do not have a trailer or a hitch to pull a trailer with; I added the home delivery to the order and then proceeded to order 2 quarts of oil, an oil filter, and a spare belt. All in, before tax, the bill was $2,275.49 for a mower that cost $1,699.99. Plus, I had to wait 7-10 days for it to be shipped in a crate. I could pay someone to put it together for $100 more.

I saved my cart and went to another big box website and tried to order the same. All in, with delivery in 3 days plus assembly, it was a bit higher at $2,289.55. I thought this was just what it costs to get a mower these days. I went to Amazon to see what their prices were for the same items, and if they were available for Amazon Prime (free shipping). They had everything I was looking for; but the pricing was surprisingly higher at $2,563.05.

Finally, I gave into my better judgement and looked up a local dealer, Andersons’ Sales & Service. I looked on their website and found my mower at the same original price. I called the sales department the next morning to find out the “other” charges I would have to pay to get this delivered to my home. The salesman was very knowledgeable about the product and asked me if I would like to come by for a test drive to make sure this is what I needed. I was thinking, a test drive? I never thought about asking for a test drive. I called the other stores I had already visited, and was informed they do not do test drives, but I could come sit on the mowers to see how they felt.

I went by Andersons’ that weekend and was very surprised at the different brands they carried and the number of Cub Cadets they had on hand. I met with a friendly salesman and he had already had my model sitting out waiting for me to look at and to drive. Before I started the mower, he showed me all the features it had from the proper starting procedure, to the safety features, and the cruise control feature. I fired it up and drove it in the parking lot; he then told me to take it out into the grass to really see how it feels. I thought, this guy is going to drop a fast one on me and it is going to cost me more than my research had shown.

After the test drive, we looked up the parts I wanted for the initial oil change and the spare belt. I then asked the charge for assembly of the mower. He informed me that was included in the price of the mower. Puzzled, I asked if it was any cheaper to get one unassembled. He chuckled and asked if I had a forklift or a way to unload a crate at my house. He then said, “Every mower that leaves here is assembled, inspected, and properly set up. We even put gas in it for you. All you have to do is turn the key and start mowing.”

Now, I am really confused, first this small dealer has better pricing than the bigger national chains on their services and parts. Surely, they were going to charge me an arm and a leg for delivery or there would be some special charges I did not know about. I asked if I could have the mower delivered. “Of course.”, he replied. “When would you like to have it delivered?” I sheepishly asked for Monday. He checked the schedule and said it would not be a problem to deliver it Monday. He also told me, I did not have to be home to sign anything and that the driver would contact me when he was on his way and put the mower wherever I wanted.

I asked him to put all of this in a quote, so I could see the damage; before sales tax, it was a surprising $1,812.26! I asked him if this was the proper total, and he simply said “Yes sir, that’s it. Is there a problem?” I asked him how this could be so much less than the larger stores. He proceeded to tell me that lawn care equipment and tractors is all that Andersons’ does; the large stores offer select models of the same brands, but not a full-line. He continued to remind me that the buying power of a dealership is considerably stronger than a retail chain. More importantly Andersons’ files the warranty paperwork for me, will also be the warranty center if anything goes wrong, and they service what they sell.

For me, this was a sound lesson learned. Shopping at Andersons’ has opened my eyes to giving the local businesses a try before I buy. I will certainly plan on being an Andersons’ customer from now on.

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February 23, 2018

Preparing for Spring


Spring is upon us! The grass is greener, flowers are coming up, buds are started on the trees, and lawn mowers are being brought out from the back corner. Will it start and take tall grass and make it short? Will your grass trimmer start and work?

If you properly prepared your unit, or if you had a service center to prepare your unit, you should be ready to cut the lawn. Now is the time to get the unit out and verify everything starts and operates as it should. If time ran out to get the mower ready, you may want to act now. For lawn tractors, charge your battery and check your oil levels. Your best bet is to drain all old fuel out of the tank and dispose of it correctly. You will want to get fresh fuel from the pumps today to add back to the fuel tank. It would be wise to add a fuel additive, such as Seafoam, to your fresh can of fuel. Seafoam will help to clean your passages that may have build-up from old fuel in the system. Your unit may spit and sputter for the first few hours of running in the spring. Check all your tires, as the cold air will have reduced the pressure. Verify the blades are good and sharp, so that the grass is cut clean.

Your gas trimmer will also need all fuel removed for good fresh fuel. You may start the year off with Moto Mix that is ethanol free, pure gas that is already mixed with oil. The fuel in a can will help the performance of any two cycle equipment, such as trimmer, edger, chainsaw, and blowers. Your walk behind mower will need fresh fuel for the year and blade checked for sharpness.

If you experience issues with your mower performing as it should, you can always rely on your service center to bring it back to the cutting machine you desire. Andersons’ Sales & Service, Inc. is proud to offer a professional environment to make your tools work and last for years to come. Extended hours are going on now, Mon-Fri 8-6, and Sat 8-4. Our professional parts staff can assist you getting the right part for the right fit.

 Be prepared and stay ahead of the fast-growing grass! Be prepared to wait for your mower if you need service assistance here, or at any lawn mower repair center. Ask for a referral if your grass needs cut while your unit is in for service, and you will receive quality lawn care providers that will mow your grass while yours is getting prepared for the heavy spring load ahead.


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September 20, 2017

FALL TIPS & GIVING BACK

Another summer is behind us and the grass is hardly growing anymore. Right now, there is still leaf clean up going on, and winter will be coming soon. During this season of transition, it is important to keep some things in mind.

First, plan to end the season with your lawn equipment, so that next season will begin with ease. I recommend using Stihl Moto Mix for fuel during your last few trimmings. This fuel is pure gas that contains no ethanol and is already premixed with oil. This fuel is good for up to two years, so the winter months on the shelf will be no problem. Pump gas is more designed for automobiles and is good for up to 60 days. After this timeframe, the fuel loses its potency and the additives are what is left. These additives can cause issues with diaphragms in the carb and dry out fuel lines. For your push mower, you will want to use some VP fuel that is the same as Moto Mix but does not have the mixed oil in it. Remember to run your machine out of fuel at least two times to make sure all the pump gas gets out.

Next, plan for winter now. If you own a gas-powered snow thrower, get it out and dust it off. Since our winters are unpredictable, use only ethanol free pure gas, such as VP fuel. If you ended last season using this fuel, you will just want to start the engine and run it for a minute or two, just to test it before the snow starts falling. If you ran pump fuel, you will need to confirm all fuel has been drained out and add the VP fuel to your tank. Again, you will want to start the engine to confirm there has not been any deterioration of the carburetor. If you find any issues with operation, you may want to have it professionally serviced for peak performance.

Andersons’ Sales & Service, Inc. offers discounts on lawn mower service in the winter time. The Early Bird Special begins November 1 and runs through January 31.


In July, I had the opportunity to participate in a mission trip through our church. Seven youth and two adults drove to Lumberton, NC to assist in the rebuilding of homes destroyed by Hurricane Matthew last October. The trip brought about 65 youth together from all over. Our youth found out what it meant to humble you as they learned how to work on a house. There were some groups installing new roofs, some insulating, and some hanging drywall. A lot of the youth had never considered such manual labor, but it was amazing to see everyone playing their part in the process. The theme of the week was “Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand that God may lift you up in due time” 1 Peter 5:6. The youth worked very hard and sometimes had to be reminded to take a break and get rehydrated. The temperatures were over ninety degrees, which can get much higher on the roof. There is still much work to be done in Lumberton, and it is estimated it will take over three years to reach the targeted number of homes to be rebuilt. Another summer is behind us and the

grass is hardly growing anymore. Right

now, there is still leaf clean up going on, and winter will be coming

soon. During this season of transition,

it is important to keep some things in mind.


First, plan to end the season with your lawn equipment, so that next season will begin with ease. I recommend using Stihl Moto Mix for fuel during your last few trimmings. This fuel is pure gas that contains no ethanol and is already premixed with oil. This fuel is good for up to two years, so the winter months on the shelf will be no problem. Pump gas is more designed for automobiles and is good for up to 60 days. After this timeframe, the fuel loses its potency and the additives are what is left. These additives can cause issues with diaphragms in the carb and dry out fuel lines. For your push mower, you will want to use some VP fuel that is the same as Moto Mix but does not have the mixed oil in it. Remember to run your machine out of fuel at least two times to make sure all the pump gas gets out.

Next, plan for winter now. If you own a gas-powered snow thrower, get it out and dust it off. Since our winters are unpredictable, use only ethanol free pure gas, such as VP fuel. If you ended last season using this fuel, you will just want to start the engine and run it for a minute or two, just to test it before the snow starts falling. If you ran pump fuel, you will need to confirm all fuel has been drained out and add the VP fuel to your tank. Again, you will want to start the engine to confirm there has not been any deterioration of the carburetor. If you find any issues with operation, you may want to have it professionally serviced for peak performance.

Andersons’ Sales & Service, Inc. offers discounts on lawn mower service in the winter time. The Early Bird Special begins November 1 and runs through January 31.

Giving Back

In July, I had the opportunity to participate in a mission trip through our church. Seven youth and two adults drove to Lumberton, NC to assist in the rebuilding of homes destroyed by Hurricane Matthew last October. The trip brought about 65 youth together from all over. Our youth found out what it meant to humble you as they learned how to work on a house. There were some groups installing new roofs, some insulating, and some hanging dry-wall. A lot of the youth had never considered such manual labor, but it was amazing to see everyone playing their part in the process. The theme of the week was “Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand that God may lift you up in due time” 1 Peter 5:6. The youth worked very hard and sometimes had to be reminded to take a break and get rehydrated. The temperatures were over ninety degrees, which can get much higher on the roof. There is still much work to be done in Lumberton, and it is estimated it will take over three years to reach the targeted number of homes to be rebuilt.

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February 13, 2017

SPRING IS COMING

By Joshua Anderson

Another winter has passed. Mild as it was, as far as temperature, the moisture still came. The upcoming spring will contain fast-growing grass that needs to be trimmed. Now is the time to get out the mower, trimmer, and outdoor power equipment to make sure it runs and operates correctly. If you hire a service company, contact them now to make sure you are on their schedule.

If you have your own equipment and have waited to service the unit, you will want to make sure the blades are sharp, oil is changed, and fresh gas is ready. Most service repair shops are going to be three to four weeks behind on getting your equipment back to you, so plan now to schedule the services needed, so that you will be ready for the grass. A good inspection should be done on the battery, belts, and idler pulleys. Detecting and replacing worn parts before they completely fail will ensure a fun season of mowing! Andersons’ Sales and Service, Inc. will provide all services needed from routine maintenance to full repair of something broken. All brands are able to be serviced and repaired.

Maybe you are in need of a new lawn tractor, trimmer, or zero turn mower. There are many options to choose from and locations to purchase from. The advantage of working with a local business is the service after the sale. Usually, the price for small consumer products is equal to the big box stores. The big box stores will refer you back to a local business to take care of any warranty or service issues that may arise. If you start at the local business you will receive priority service. You will also find a wider and broader selection of products by a manufacturer. For instance, you may want something heavier duty than a small consumer model, but not as big and pricy as a full commercial machine. The knowledgeable sales staff at your local business will be able to help guide you through all the options to best serve your needs. At Andersons’ Sales & Service, Inc. you will be able to choose from a standard zero turn mower and the zero turn with a steering wheel. There are lawn tractors with fabricated decks and stamped decks from 42” up to 60.” Another advantage is longterm low-interest rate financing or cash incentives.

Now is the time to prepare for the warmer weather that is coming. Fresh cut grass is an aroma that everyone is ready for. One of the worst feelings is finding out the equipment is not as ready as you are. Whether you need parts, service, or a brand new piece of equipment, the staff at Andersons’ Sales & Service, Inc. is here to make your life easier, quality products & quality service!

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December 30, 2016

Winterization of Lawn Equipment2016_ZFSX54_rt_shd

By Joshua Anderson

It’s that time of year again! The grass has stopped growing, and your lawn mower and trimmer will sit through the winter again. The good news is you are able to repair any issues going on with the unit while you are not fighting to keep the grass looking pristine. This is the best time to get your unit prepared for the spring season that usually comes early to late March. Depending on your mechanical expertise, you may do some things on your own, or allow a professional service center to take care of your equipment.

The most important item to address is the fuel. There are a couple of options you have to guarantee a smooth transition from winter to spring. The first option is to drain all of the gas out of the tank. Capture it back into a proper fuel container to dispose of later. You will want to start your machine to clear any residual gas within the lines and carburetor. Use all measures including the primer button and choke to make sure it is left dry. You may use this method for storage of any walk behind mower, lawn tractor, or trimmer. Another option is to use pure gas. This option means getting rid of any fuel as stated above, or as normally happens when you run out of gas. Pure, non-ethanol gas can be purchased in a quart or gallon from your local lawn and garden store. There are generally two types, with and without mix oil. Use “with” mix oil for your two-cycle equipment like your gas trimmer or chainsaw. Use “without” mix oil for your four cycle equipment like your walk behind mower, lawn tractor, or zero turn mowers. Pure gas is high octane fuel without additives and no ethanol. This fuel will last up to two years in the machine and will start without having to deal with stale gas.

This is also a great time to get the annual service taken care of. Each year you should inspect the wear items on the particular machine you own. With riders, you will need to check belts, blades, blade bearings, idler pulleys, and front wheel bearings. Some units have grease points that require a couple pumps of grease. For your walk behind unit, you will need to check your belt, if it is self-propelled, the blade, cables, and wheels. Other important service items to address are the engine and transmission. It is a good idea to change the oil and filter on your engine once a year at minimum. Other engine service items include your air filter, fuel filter, and spark plugs. Make sure you use the proper engine oil according to the manufacturer, as some recommend straight 30w while other recommend 10w/30. With either grade, you need to use “air-cooled engine” oil. Automotive oil is insufficient for the temperature and RPMs of the lawn and garden engines. If you visit your local outdoor power equipment dealer, they will guide you to the correct oil for your particular piece of equipment. Some transmissions are maintenance free and require no additional service, while others have filters that are recommended to replace every so many hours. Please consult your owner’s manual to determine which unit you have. If you have a serviceable transmission, the manual will list the hour interval for service.

If you prefer to have professionals perform your maintenance, there are discounts during this time of year. Andersons’ Sales & Service, Inc. offers ½ off pick-up and delivery, OR 10% off your total bill with the Early Bird Special. We will provide you with a full checklist of the items we check over and service. All walk-behind mowers and trimmers will have non-ethanol straight gas in the fuel tank so that you will be able to start the unit in the spring. We may contact you with any additional service that we feel will make your life easier next spring. Providing a little service on your outdoor equipment will provide extended life to your machine, and ultimately save you money over time.

Whether you use professional service, or you perform the service yourself, the time is now! Fuel from the gas pumps goes bad after 45 days. As it evaporates, you are left with the additives that cause harmful results in spring. Preventative measures now will keep you from the repair center in the spring, when the turnaround time may be up to 5 weeks!