I Hate Sears Craftsman Lawn Mowers

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I know — it doesn’t have anything to do with computers, but it has a lot to do with technology and hardware, so that’s why I’m writing this story today.

Back in 1993, when we bought the 4-bedroom house with the 1.5 acres out in the country in the Frostbite State. I bought a 14-horsepower Sears Craftsman rider mower with a Kohler engine. Within the first 2 weeks, its transmission started making horrible noises.

Sears took it back. I paid several hundred dollars more and got a Sears Craftsman 18 horsepower rider mower with a wider cut. That mower did a great job for more than a year before it started giving me problems.

Things became loose and rattled loudly. Other things started falling off of it — I spent many hours walking around the yard, following the path that I had partially mowed, looking for bolts, adjusters, and other parts. The drive belt broke. The mower belt broke. And no matter what part it needed, I had to carefully study a multi-page schematic in my owners manual and decipher the exact part number before I could drive to Sears and try to buy a replacement part — even if all I needed was a new mowing blade. Then, invariably, I’d discover that the local store didn’t carry that part in stock, so I’d have to order it, pay for it in advance, and wait a week or more for them to call and tell me that it had arrived.

After just three of four years, that mower was completely worn out. Despite the fact that I regularly greased it, its ball joints were so worn that you could turn its steering wheel almost a quarter of a turn before its front wheels would start to turn. And its blades were made of such soft material that I had to sharpen them every other week or they’d completely round-off and tear the grass instead of cutting it.

I finally gave up on that mower after it cost me $150 to have a local welding shop re-weld a part of the mowing deck that had fallen off. That’s when I gave it away to a neighbor and finally bought a John Deere rider mower that served me well until we moved to the Sunshine State. At that point, I sold the Deere to a different neighbor who was extremely happy to buy a less-than-two-year-old John Deere rider mower for 1/2 price.

In 2004, when we bought our dream home here in the Sunshine State, it came with a normal-sized suburban lot, so I went looking for a push mower instead of a rider. As luck would have it, Sears was having a mower sale at the time. I bought a Sears Craftsman self-propelled push mower on sale. Given my bad experience with my two Sears Craftsman rider mowers, I knew that I was taking a chance to buy a Sears Craftsman push mower, but I figured that there isn’t as much that can go wrong on a push mower as there is on a rider mower.

That turned out to be true. But I learned that there’s still a lot that can go wrong on a push mower.

Within a few months, the mower’s drive system stopped working. I took it in for warrantee repair. A few months later, it had the exact same problem. I took it in for repair again. After the fourth of fifth repair in the first sixteen months, it took me countless telephone calls and hours of waiting “on hold” to finally convince Sears to give me a refund for that mower.

But when I went to the store to return the mower and get my refund, they told me that it wasn’t a refund — it was a store credit. I would have to spend it at Sears.

So I bought a different Sears Craftsman push mower — one that had been highly rated by users on the Internet.

That mower is now 2 years old. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that it was really hard to pull down the “safety bar” that you have to hold down in order for the engine to run. It quickly got worse until a few days ago, when the spring on the engine that controls that lever broke. My next-door neighbor and buddy, Mike, deduced that heat from the engine had made the spring brittle. I took off the top engine cover and tried to bend the end of that spring so that I could keep using it, but It broke again.

Home Depot had a spring that fit as a replacement for about $4, but it wasn’t strong enough. I’d let go of the safety bar and it would just lay there, instead of popping up and shutting off the engine.

This morning, I called Sears. They told me that they don’t keep that spring in stock, so I’d have to order it, pay for it in advance and then wait for them to call me, to tell me when it arrives. It would cost $12, plus $1 for shipping, plus tax. That’s almost $15 for one 2-inch spring.

I told them “No, thanks.”

An hour later, I found a suitable replacement spring at a local Ace Hardware store. A package of two of them cost only $3.69 plus tax. But it wasn’t quite long enough, and when I stretched it to fit the 2″ gap, it was way too strong, making it impossible to pull down the safety bar. After studying the mower’s safety mechanism for a few minutes, I bent the left end of the spring to make it vertical and hooked that end onto the safety lever itself, instead of on the spring-mounting slot on the left end of that lever. Now it works just fine.

Does anyone want to buy a Sears Craftsman 6.75 horsepower, 22″ cut, self-propelled mower? I’ll let you have it for half price.

And I’ll even throw in an extra spring for its safety bar.

Update, October 7, 2011: I finally bought a new Toro lawn mower today.

Update, June 5, 2012: Unfortunately, my new Toro lawn mower turned out to be a horrible nightmare.

Update, June 22, 2012: Fortunately, I found and fixed a Honda mower that one of my neighbors had thrown away, and I’ve been happily using it ever since.

Update, August 15, 2012: My Sears Craftsman lawn mower found a new owner today.

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88 Responses to I Hate Sears Craftsman Lawn Mowers

  1. rickir says:

    Next time get a Deere! I think we’re on year 10 and it’s going strong.


  2. ComputerBob says:

    Are you offering to buy my Sears mower? 😀

  3. Juliet says:

    I have read SO MANY stories today of lost money and extreme frustration – I want to organize an anti-sears demonstration and picket them they are so awful!! Their customer service sucks so bad… they don’t have ANY!!

    My front load washer stopped spinning. I called Sears repair – BIG MISTAKE. 1st they told me on the phone it would cost $65 to have them come out. The guy comes, goes down into my basement for 10-15 mins., comes up and tells me “the motor is all rusted out – it’s shot.” Tells me it’ll cost $400 to put in a new motor but that I can just buy a new machine for $400. Then he bills me for $75 not $65. I go online to see what is involved with replacing the motor, maybe my boyfriend and I can do it ourselves and save money, right? I found MULTIPLE appliance repair websites that said the same symptoms my machine had (filling and draining but only humming when it should spin) could be as simple as a clogged coin trap. In less time than the guy was in my house we cleaned the trap and I have since done 3 loads with my “rusted out and shot” motor!!! So you have to ask yourself; was he totally incompetent or was he malicious? If you look you can see NO RUST on the motor. I am voting malicious! And you have to know – had I run out and bought a new machine they would have taken away my old one – like they are so nice to take it off my hands right? But then I bet they would clean the coin trap and sell it as “refurbished” for another $250 profit for them! And to add insult to injury they refused to refund the $75 it cost me to have their guy do NOTHING (and no offense, but, he was about 5′ 9″ yet weighed like 400lbs., not sure he could even really get down low enough to actually see under my machine) and then try to rip me off! 🙁 Plus, the attitude I have run into again and again with them on this makes me believe this is SOP for Sears repair; do nothing, lie to people, get them to buy new and then resell their old appliance. what ever happened to making money by selling a good product and giving a crap about the people who spend their hard earned money on your stuff? Guess that ALL went down the $%@! drain at Sears….

  4. ghost rider says:

    as a previous employee of sears, i wouldn’t buy a clothes pin from them. when you buy something like a mower, don’t ever get the extended warranty. its a rip off! and if it breaks down take it to another reputable shop because any repair center from sears, is actually a processing center. they get semi truck loads of mowers every day for repair and they have what they call a production rate. dose’nt matter what kind of repair, its 16 to 18 mowers required per day per individual repair personal or guess what? you get lay’ed off when the season slows. if you repair it to last 30 days thats all they care about. they rush you so much iv’e seen mechanics leave gasket material they ground off in the oil to save a few minutes so they can make that rate. and their responds to any mechanic who might do the repairs correctly, or as if it was their personal equipment is “its only a mower”. well since its sombody elses mower i think I would rather let lowes of maybe the dime store do the repairs. maybe they will treat my equipment like they are supposed to. and another thing, most of the people doing the repairs aren’t qualified to pick fruit! as a qualified mechanic for 25 years I used to cringe seeing what others did to make that rate. from down right improper repair procedures to not even doing the repairs. and guess what? sears gives out bonuses to employees with the ability to fool customers with rotten work that allows them to make that rate! so be aware, all they care about is getting your money from the original purchase and after that its rip you off time. and all the managers of the different repair centers care only of the metrics, not the quality of the work, so they can keep getting them monthly bonuses . i will never take anything to sears. buy lowes or home depot unless you like to get “jacked”.

  5. Xiaoding says:

    Don’t bother sharpening lawn mower blades, you can’t do it right. Just buy a new set every season. Most hardware stores have them, cheap. Yes, they are soft, to prevent fracturing.

  6. ComputerBob says:

    Thanks for posting, but I disagree with your advice — it’s not hard at all to sharpen mower blades correctly. Plus, as I described above, replacing them once every season would not have worked with the blades on my Sears Craftsman rider mower, because they got extremely dull every 2 weeks, to the point of tearing the grass instead of cutting it.

  7. Thetruth247 says:

    I found this web site by typing “Craftsman lawn mower is crap” in my search box. I replaced my high-wheel 4.5 HP Power Pro push lawnmower that I purchased from Kmart with a 6.75 HP push Craftsman Lawnmower from Sears beause I thought I needed more horsepower to cut grass better…BIG mistake. The Kmart 4.5 HP performed way better than the 6.75 HP Craftsman. Apparently horsepower is not an issue when you want more power cutting grass. Must be the quality and workmanship of the product. The Craftsman feels like a toy compared to my Kmart brand lawnmower. It takes a lot more effort cut the grass with that Craftsman. Now that Kmart only sells Sears Craftsman crap, I cannot even replace it. (I sold it to my sister, regretfully, and she won’t sell it back!). I’ve been wanting to vent about this for a couple of years now (since the purchase) and I’m glad I found the opportunity on this web site. If I find others, I will vent there too!! Thanks ComputerBob.

  8. Nancy Shadlow says:

    I googled “Hate Sears” and this was the first entry. I’ve already given 9 phone calls and hours of my life trying to get an issue with a refrigerator resolved, but if writing will STOP one person from even considering SEARS it will be worth it. I agree with absolutely everything said about Sears just wanting the inital sale and then not so politely brushing you aside when you expect the product to work. It’s difficult to find enough negative adjectives to describe their “Customer Solutions” department. I just want to encourage people to stand up to them and document everything–especially who you spoke to. If something was promised on the phone through Customer Solutions and then wasn’t delivered, reference that since the call has been recorded, you want it reviewed.

    PS. It just so happens that my father owns a regional Power Equipment Business that does service. A craftsman that operates well is the exception, not the rule. Also, consider buying from a place that does offer service on the premises. Most places will service anything, but craftsman’s are so low end…it’s designed obsolence…and you get hit with a huge service bill and then most people are annoyed with the service provider rather than Sears. Lastly, some brands, like Honda Mowers are the same price at a local lawn mower shop as the Home Depot. Buying it locally ensures good service and taxes going into your back yard.

  9. Nick says:

    I’ve also bought a piece-of-**** craftsman self propelled for $240. Within two weeks right wheel stopped self-propelling. I took it to the nearest SEARS repair center. Two weeks go by, I pick it up with problem fixed as they told me. Within a week same story with the right wheel. I get out my own tools and take it apart to see what’s wrong. I see. There is a steel gear on a shaft coming from the drive train. This gear spins the wheel by pushing plastic teeth on the wheel. The gear and the wheel are not aligned 100%. In the fight of steel and plastic steel wins, plastic teeth are ground into dust. What a bunch of idiots who designed this POS! Why not make teeth on the wheel out of steel as well? Why not check the alignment at quality control??? The problem was unrepairable so I sold it “as is”. Also, the front wheels kept on snapping off the height adjusters which I fixed by tieing them together with a bungee cord. Craftsman – NEVER AGAIN!!!

  10. Teebirdrose7 says:

    Well, All Your “Inferior Sears Products/Poor Service” CommentsTruly Made Up My Mind With Major Purchase:
    I was toying with Craftsman Rider Mower…something @ about 15-19hp for about 3/4 acre yard w/many trees/some hilly area, etc.
    My current 1988 11hp Craftsman Rider I bought from my neighbor 4 yrs ago finally has massive oil leak= think motor is shot. Now it has grinding sound when starting..but no turnover. Since last year, replaced solenoid, mandrel assembly, ignition switch, 2 batteries, belts. Time to put it to rest:(
    Does anyone have thoughts on Cub Cadet, John Deere…even used???? Somehow, I think there is better quality in older models vs. recent ones. Current models at Lowes/Home Depot in $1500 range…OUCH FOR MY BUDGET…HELP>>>PS: I’m reading/or hearing that Lowes “John Deere” Is a FAKE…Any comments.???? ((((((((HAVE A NICE DAY)))))))))

  11. Jworths says:

    funny, been having problems with my craftsman mower to the point i want to return/exchange whatever & googled and found this. i’ve had it for two years now and have had problems so many times with it. took it to get fixed about 5 times now. everytime it’s like they don’t really know what the problem is but they always seem to put something new on it just because, yet the problem starts up again. fed up! called sears, and they said it must be unfixable before anything can be done but who knows they might just throw some “new” part on it and be like, it’s fixed. watch me come back.

  12. JR says:

    I also have a self propelled Craftsman that I will sell for 1/2 price. It mows 2 – 3 minutes, then starts acting like the choke is on. It clogs easily and shuts down. I hate it. I had a Lawn Boy (I think that’s what it was called) for about 15 years that never had a problem…this Sears mower is just 1 1/2 years old… : (

  13. MarCus says:

    I have sears riding mower for about three years now. This year it tore up and they replaced the spindle first, then the blades and belts on it. It then developed a oil leak which they never diagnoised at all as I had to finaly tell them what was wrong. This took about 3 months of them lieing and causing me to miss work and all. They replaced sump gaskets, oil seals and everything else before i finally told them the motor had blow by from bad rings. Immediately they aggreed. Ordered a new rebuilt “POS” engine. Put it on and it leaks oil and has no power to mow lawn at all. Belts got oil soaked and tranny went out. Technician came out again and didn’t know his rear from a hole in the ground. Have to replace belts and the other spindle before he can diagnois what is wrong with motor ? OMG… Another two or three week wait. Well I finally after weeks of talking with customer relations talked to a lady who said she would send me a $100.00 and if I had any further problems with this lemon they would replace it. I had been rudely talked to and a lot of nasty things said to me at times when I called sears. The phone calls and missed apointments went on the whole time I have been trying to get it fixed. I never used the mower in 3 years but maybe 15-20 hours total and it is still almost new as I bought it for a second mower when my wheelhorse dies from 1960’s. Not joking Anyhow guess what the mower is still tore up and after I was told they would replace it they are now saying that she was not authorized to tell me that or replace the mower. Excuse me she works in that department!!! Well I am smart as i record everything on my phones and tell people that I talk to, they are being recorded and she was. I filed a complaint with the BBB tonight as the lies are just too much for me to handle that they would do that. I am going to see what comes of this and if they don’t replace this lemon, I think I may sue them as I have proof of what they told me and let a judge decide. If anyone of you buy a craftsman new mower with hydrostatic drive you will do so at your own risk. Believe me when I say this Sears are a bunch of lier to me so far. I will get back to this site and post an update later, but as of yet no money and I still don’t have a mower. If you use your Sears credit card and think they will help you guess what, “don’t think that.” You might get your money back if you defraud the card by not paying, but it took me three years to pay it off and now I wished I had not. Anyhow if you need a mower go to home depo or anywhere else as they are all now pretty much made by MTD or some China source .

  14. Ron C. says:

    I’ll jump in . . . I’ve been looking at riding mowers for several weeks comparing and reviewing online information as well. One thing to keep in mind when reading online product reviews (as at this web location) is that the info is anecdotal, limited in numbers of cases and tilted in favor of the folks who are internet savvy. You will not get the entire user community of any brand of product by reading online reviews. Unfortunate but true. So take online reviews with a grain of salt.

    If you were to take photos of the chassis of the following yard tractors – Cub Cadet, Toro, Simplicity, Husqvarna, John Deere and Craftsman and all in the $1500 to $2000 price range (with applicable discounts), here is what you would note. The John Deere, Husqvarna, Simplicity and Craftsman all share the same basic underpinnings. The Cub Cadet and Toro share a different platform. The lower priced Craftsman mowers (below about $1500 with discounts) may not fit this pattern and may have been manufactured by MTD, a large producer of several brands of cheap mowers. I should add that the parts man at a Cub Cadet dealer told me the entry level ($1500 to $2000) Cub Cadets were built by MTD. The first set, sharing what I will call the H (for Husqvarna) platform seem to have the stoutest components and what appears to be the most durable blade drive (PTO) system. Cub Cadet (the CC platform) and Toro are (unfortunately for Toro – a once respected brand) a cut below (pardon the pun) although Cub Cadet has an innovative deck with overlapping blades kept in synch by a timing belt. Specifically these latter two have a very light duty pull cable to engage the PTO and flexible cables to raise and lower the deck instead of sturdier linkages of the H platform. The lower priced H platforms also use a cable to engage the PTO but it is heavier duty than the CC. Pricier H platforms have an electric clutch (like the air conditioner clutch on your car) to engage the PTO, a more durable feature, IMHO. The lowest price CC and H platforms use a mechanical gearbox of questionable durability. Higher priced versions are hydrostatic. In these mowers regardless of brand or cost, the hydrostatic tranny will not have an oil filter or an easy way to change the hydraulic oil. However the tranny on the HH platform can be removed, drained and refilled if that is desired. This tranny also includes a cleanable magnet to catch ferrous particles and an internal filter. You’d have to disassemble the mower to do this. Oil changes are advised at around 500 hours of use – if you mowed fifty hours a summer that would be ten years – that’s a lot of mowing.

    Engines – very important. The lowest priced Craftsman mowers use a Briggs engine with splash oiling. Seems primitive, however splash oiling has properly lubed these single cylinder engines for tens of decades and worked well. Mid-level Craftsman products use a Briggs engine with a limited pressure lube system and oil filter. I cannot say whether this engine will be durable – some anecdotal info leads me to believe that these engines were not exceptionally reliable, but were updated for the 2009 model year. When you get to around $2000 (with typical SEARS discounts) Craftsman mowers use the Briggs ELS (Extended Life Series) engine with full pressure lube and other increased durability features. If you can afford the price tag you should get this engine. SEARS info on mowers will specify which model gets what engine. Deere uses a specifically branded Briggs for their L100 series mowers. I have neighbors with this series mower and they have had good experience (with both mower and engine). Others (online comments) have apparently not done so well. If you go to a Deere dealer you could ask – Is this Briggs engine the Briggs ELS version or just a version of the Briggs Intek series? One thing you get with Deere if you buy from a dealer is the probability of good service. You may need it. I cannot speak for the mowers powered by Kohler. However once again anecdotal evidence suggests Kohler makes a more durable power plant than Briggs.

    Engine size – For a while I considered my mower choice would lean toward a lower horsepower engine. Use less gas, etc. After looking at various models and giving it all some thought I feel higher HP is better. Why? If you buy a rig with a bigger engine the drive components will be designed by the engineers to that horsepower. Things like the transmission will be sized accordingly. When mowing, the higher HP rigs are not working as hard as the lower HP rigs. So, Higher HP equals longer life. Again my opinion.

    Summary – All the mowers in the price range (with applicable discounts) of $1500 to $2000 are built to a price point, and none are of particularly high quality. I believe the HH platform units are stouter than the CC platform units. Electric PTO clutches would be preferred over the mechanical engagement system. Briggs ELS engines would be preferred over the cheaper Briggs versions. Kohler might be superior to Briggs. Buying from a mower dealer or a tractor store like Deere may offer a higher probability of good service. Buying from a big box store will get you minimal to zero service. SEARS offers fair follow-up to customer problems and (again by anecdotal evidence) have supported buyers with either replacement of complete units or on-site corrective action. Units delivered to you by SEARS also may have some initial setup problems requiring a service call to SEARS to get corrected. If you are at a mower dealer consider asking what attachments a particular mower will pull. Mowers with better and stronger designs will pull ground interfacing attachments like a rototiller or de-thatcher and can handle a snow plow or snow blower. Such mowers will be at the top of the price spectrum. Light duty mowers can only handle a small trailer. And any and all mower info you receive should be confirmed by manufacturer catalog data not just what the sales guy says. Good mowing!

  15. ComputerBob says:

    @ Ron C.

    I approved your extremely long comment even though I strongly disagree with you.

    At the beginning of your second paragraph, you wrote:

    “If you were to take photos of the chassis of the following yard tractors – Cub Cadet, Toro, Simplicity, Husqvarna, John Deere and Craftsman and all in the $1500 to $2000 price range (with applicable discounts), here is what you would note. The John Deere, Husqvarna, Simplicity and Craftsman all share the same basic underpinnings.”

    In my experience, that statement is simply not true. My first Sears Craftsman rider mower cost around $1900. I quickly upgraded it to a Sears Craftsman rider mower that cost about $2300. Both of those Sears Craftsman rider mowers had lighter frames, undercarriages, mowing decks, steering knuckles, etc., than the comparably priced John Deere rider mower that I replaced them with.

    In your comment, you generally criticize anecdotal evidence as being weak, but then you contradict that anecdotal evidence with many generalizations that appear to be solely your own opinion, without giving any evidence or examples at all to back up any of your claims.

    A wise analyst knows that one piece of anecdotal evidence by itself is suspect. But that a whole lot of anecdotal evidence may indicate a trend.

    This thread contains a whole lot of anecdotal evidence, posted by people who are reporting their own personal experiences — not just their unsupported personal opinions — to try to warn others not to make the same mistakes that they made.

    Thanks for your concern, and thanks for some of the factual information that you presented, but we can all decide for ourselves whether or not we believe that the anecdotal evidence that is presented in this thread indicates a trend.

  16. NBG says:

    I was stupid enough to buy the 54″ 26 hp version two years ago and will never buy Sears again! If i don’t dig grass clippings out from under the deck twice per mowing the blades disintegrate in one month. And at $20.00 per blade (three bades required each time) this has become the most high maintenance machine in the valley. All ready all three spindles need replacing. I have always been one to do overkill on maintenance with oil changes, greasing, cleaning (etc.) of everything I own and there is no keeping ahead of this one. I would still be using John Deere if they weren’t so popular among thieves. The 54″ John Deere tractor I had got cleaned under the deck only twice per season which was more than it ever needed.
    When I worked at a refrigerator factory that built for Sears I remember well how they mandated the specs. they wanted us to build to even though we tried to tell them what they wanted won’t be reliable. Their attitude is if we couldn’t they would find a supplier that would. I’m sure they micro manage their lawn mower suppliers as well.

  17. Richard says:

    I found this article while searching for info on why my Sears riding mower won’t start. I suspect the ignition switch, but I’m no mechanic, so I can’t be sure.
    I’ve had this mower for 7 years now and every year it goes to the shop. Belts fall off (not break, just fall off), the deck adjustment lever broke ($175.00 for a new one), headlights never worked.. I can deal with that one, but I would expect them to work. I push mowed the lawn during 2007; at least we didn’t have any rain that summer so I only had to mow 4 times all years. Shifting gears is very awkward, the shift lever does not want to move so you have to wiggle it back and forth and hope it goes into the gear you need. I leave it outside with the key in it but nobody will steal it. 🙂
    My advice is if you are going to buy a Sears riding mower, go ahead and invest in a small trailer too, you will need it to take the mower to the shop.

  18. Rick says:

    I have had the opposite experience. I bought a 15 horsepower Craftsman 42″ riding mower back in ’91 and if finally gave out this spring ’09. I had it for 18 years and couldn’t ask for a better piece of equipment. Yes, I had to replace the muffler twice, the starter twice, the blade belt once and some parts on the deck, but considering what I paid for it, and the parts I figure I have paid about $60.00 per year for the mower. We have a one acre lot, all grass. I usually pick up new blades at Tractor Supply every spring, and sharpen as needed. I kept the oil changed regularly (use only Castrol GTX).

    I hope the new one I bought to replace that one is just as good!

  19. robert says:

    I have had a sears craftsman 42 inch mower for 19 years, Briggs and Straton engine. This mower has worked like a mule on 5 acres for 13 years mowing and hauling with a trailer. apart from the odd mower belt and spark plug , and blades,its been great… built in canada i guess.

  20. Bill says:

    My craftsman rider is 20 years old replaced belt, fuel filter, battery and blades. Leaks oil but for 20 years old great mower.

  21. ted romanik says:

    I hate Sears also. I have a Sears “Eager 1, 20”, 4 hp, mulching mower that I am not able to find a description for in any Sears web searches. I need to order a service manual so I can figure out the part number for an engine that has NO identifiable markings on it as to who made the damn engine. All this after swapping out the cheesy, plastic fuel tank that Sears has the audacity to push off as a quality product. What rubbish! I agree that Sears “customer service” sucks! The shop here on Maui is ridiculously inept! How they stay in business is beyond me. Thanks for providing a site to vent frustration on.

  22. Carl Fowler says:

    Im in SW Florida and I also have a 42 inch 20 hp Briggs and Stratton two cylinder riding mower from Sears which I bought slightly used for $900 back in 1998. It was my first rider and I was told at the time of purchase that I should not expect to get more than 3 years out of any riding mower, yet it is now 2009 and I finally have a problem big enough to warrant consideration of another mower. The transaxle is skipping, so it is minutes from stopping. I am not particularly kind to this mower when I use it on my 3 acres, but it has performed pretty well. Yes, I have replaced blades a couple times each year (and they are a pain to find except at the Sears store for $30 a set- ouch) a couple starters, spindle replacements every 3-4 years, steering wheel shaft bearing, and some welding on the deck- Hey it rusted through and I had to patch it to keep the stuff from getting in my eyes. In the first few years of use, I kept hitting cypress roots coming up through the yard, and that did a number on the leading edge of the deck, so I took a piece of stout angle 1.5 inch angle iron, bent it and welded it on, then sharpened the front edge- viola, no more problems with that part of the deck and it now cuts the roots off as they grow into its path. Having a welder has certainly been handy in extending this mowers life. It has been a challange for me to keep this mower running, but Im out to prove to the naysayers that it will last WAY more than the 3 years they told me it would. But back to the present, I am now looking for another 6 speed MST type peerless tuscumsh transmission with 3/4 inch axels, and thought I found one on ebay the other day for $25 but somebody else beat me out of it at the last 3 seconds. Rats- I found a free manual for the trasmission on line and after reading it, I think I might take mine apart and fix it. Like the others in this post, I find dealing with Sears Parts to be a royal pain and frustration, as well as overpriced. They never have any parts in stock at stores (even Sears Parts) and you always have to wait…meanwhile the grass grows! My model was in fact made by MTD, so some parts can be had at mower repair shops. I do have a bunch of new spindles, belts, blades in reserve for this mower that I may need to resell if I cant fix the tranny. BTW, the engine runs beautifully, in spite of the fact I have only changed the oil a couple times over the 11 years Ive had it, and I have been pretty hard on it. The mower rolled out the back of my truck one day while pulling out of my driveway- That tore the hood off, and spread the front wheels somewhat, but I was able to rig new custom made hood hinges so it continues to work and the wheels have not been an issue in the last 2 years since that happened. Overall, I am not really unhappy about my experience, for it did last 11 years, but all this talk about newer models being so unreliable is scaring me. If this transmission thing doesnt work out, I will probably get an MTD.

  23. Bill says:

    I have a craftsman rear tine tiller. It worked great for 25 years. A bearing went bad in the transfer case and I could not replace it. You had to take the tiller completely apart. Why did they not put a simple grease fitting so you could keep it greased. Who designs these things.

  24. Levi says:

    To- Teebirdrose7-
    I just went to my John Deere dealer (Southern York Turf & Tractor) I told them I had just bought a Deere LA145 tractor. Price-1999.00. It comes with a briggs engine. A neighbor got his at the Deere dealership and said they had better machines than Lowes or Home Depot sell. Here’s the scoop. The John Deere dealership receives every tractor sold in the area. They set them up for Lowes & Depot. In fact when I brought the 145, they gave me a booklet with Southern Turf & Tractors business card inside. When I talked to the dealership, they told me ALL LA145s have briggs engines. In other words, they are the same tractors no matter where you buy them. HOWEVER, the neighbor didn’t buy an LA 145, he got an X-300. Price-$2999.00 The 300 has a heavier duty transaxel, and commercial kawasaki engine and a completely different mulching system. He went on to say the 100 series tractors are meant to last between 5-10 yrs whereas the 300 series top out at 25 yrs. In other words, you get what you pay for. I cancelled the Lowes 145 and ordered the X300. Don’t get me wrong, the Deere 100 series is still better than a sears because your local dealership will service it. It’s just that John Deere and Cub Cadet started building cheaper mowers to compete with the other companies. There are far more people cutting grass every week than there are farmers plowing gardens and fields etc.

  25. Aaron says:

    Yeah, I’m still trying to get my two year old craftsman mower to start this summer. It’s a bunch of bull****.

  26. tom says:

    I don’t think I’ll buy a craftsman next time I buy another tractor. We bought our first one back in 80 and it lasted almost 17 years. The next one we bought died after only 5 or so, and the one I’m using now is almost dead.

  27. sumncguy says:

    Sorry. Cant go with you on this.

    I have a 1998 Craftsman and its still going strong. Old and crickety … but still going.

  28. Terry says:

    Fellow lawnmower people. Sears is the Hechingers of the 2000’s. They are antiquated in how they think, how they treat customers, how they do business. They are a dinosaur in need of demise. I can’t stand going to their store and all the salespeople prey on you for their commissions. They need to change dramatically or they will be gone. We are not our parents. We have much more info at our fingertips. I find their appliances to be respectable but I wouldn’t touch their mowers. They’re crap. Don’t buy them. They will get the message. Look long term buy a better mower (Deere,Cub Cadet etc.). A little more money is a lot better than a whole lot of aggravation at a good price.

  29. Sean says:

    Sears Canada is no better.

    I have a 6.5 HP 21″ mulching mower, with a rear wheel that broke off after 3 years of medium use.

    Went to Sears here in Ottawa to find what I thought would be a common replacement part: a simple wheel. No such luck: the store doesn’t stock any replacement parts. Nada. You have to order them from “Sears HomeCentral” – a 1-800 call centre located in God-knows-where (it sounded like I was taking to someone in Mumbai).

    The bottom line? It will be at least two weeks before they mail (not even courier) the replacement part to me. My grass should be about a foot high by then…

    Oh, and by the way, they’ve already charged the purchase to my credit card.

    My recommendation: Buy anywhere but Sears.

  30. Macoozie says:

    I must take exception to all of this Sears bashing.
    I pull craftsman mowers out of garbage piles all summer long. Usually just a pressure washing, a blade sharpening, and blow out the air filter. 90% of the time, thats all it is. Sometimes i employ a BFH to persuade a errant crankshaft stub back in line.
    I sell ’em to my neighbors cheap, $25-$50 bucks. Gets ’em through a season or two. Then they call me to pick up the junk and we do it all over again. Small lot, use anything that runs. Big lot, get a lawn service.
    Crunch the numbers friends, you will see it worth it.

  31. ComputerBob says:

    “I must take exception to all of this Sears bashing. I pull craftsman mowers out of garbage piles all summer long…”


    That’s exactly where the rest of us put them!

  32. redd staples says:

    One the first mowers I ever purchased was a craftsman walk-behind with a power drive on the front
    wheels. I thought I was buying something special. Heavy oil consumotion, hard starting, loud running,
    rarely working power-drive, front baffle dropping and slamming into my blade told me

    There is a solution…Buy a SNAPPER mower! The initial price may seem high but your
    purchase will last a lifetime. I have a walk behind with power-drive that’s 13 years old
    and a rear engine rider that’s 11 years old. They both look amd run like new. The
    design and worksmanship is so superior that it makes them a joy to use. Worth every


  33. jerry tullos says:

    I purchased a sears zero turn tractor jan 2008,have nothing but problems with it.sears fix one thing another goes bad.The service man has been to my house nine times and they keep backordering parts.I have 3 acres to cut.The mower isw 21/2 years old and i have less than 2oo hours on it.it stays down more thatn it runs>you never know when it will start.they don/t tell you when you purchase the mower that they have two differance warrenty,one is for repairs,one is for repairs and replacement,i purchased the repair one.

  34. Don Roberts says:

    My neighbor gave me a 4.5 HP 20 inch Sears Craftsman II Eager I lawnmower. He said it had a broken magneto and was not repairable and he didnt want to spend $50-60 for the magneto. Now as a pilot, I do a mag check on the two magnetos on the aircraft and have never had a bad magneto yet in the years I have been flying. The problem with this lawnmower was a dirty carburater. The bolt on the bottom is a valve and you must clean out the pinhole in it with a wire. Then clean the bowl and check the float. Tecumseh Engine, carb is the lowest point in the fuel system. Toro makes the lawn mower, which is suprising, because Toro mowers have a good reputation. Tecumseh makes the engine. Get used to cleaning your carb if you have this lawnmower. All of that palaver about Sears service is quite true. it is lousy. Fix it yourself or take it to a little shop in your neighborhood– it is not brain surgery.

  35. Frank says:

    Have had the same problem with the front drive gears stripping as Nick.
    It gets old replacing the wheels 2-3 time a season when the gears strip. Does anyone know if there is a substitute wheel available with steel gears?

  36. ComputerBob says:

    I wondered the same thing myself in the past, but from what I’ve read, the real problem isn’t the wheels themselves — it’s the fact that the drive shaft that drives them isn’t lined up with the wheels correctly.

    All it takes is for the guy who assembled your mower in the store to drop it once, and that drive shaft is out of alignment from then on, before you even buy it, and it will chew up the plastic wheels until someone fixes its alignment. I think there’s supposed to be a way to carefully bend that drive shaft back to the right alignment, or maybe a mower shop can do it for you, but I don’t remember the details, so you might want to do a Google search on it. 😉

  37. Tman says:

    I have a 28 year old craftsman mower still going strong, just lost the bag in the last move. Less lost more squashed, but you get the point.

    I bought a craftsman 6.75 B&S self propelled mower, two primes and one or two pulls to fire for the last 3 years. Been a great mower, even my wife has cut the grass a few times. Drive works fine but I know the self drive may go eventually, might fix it might not, depends on the cost. Ordered a push mower, were out of stock so it was substituted at no aditional cost.

    Seems like money well spent so far.

  38. CT says:

    Yours was the first hit when I Googled “Sears lawn mower is crap”! I bought a high end 6.75 HP Craftsman walk-behind six years ago. That might sound like a long time, but I live at 1500 feet in Anchorage AK. The mower gets — maybe — 10 hours on it each season (June-early Sept.).

    A 6.75 HP lawn mower sounds powerful, doesn’t it? But a drive train is only as strong as its weakest link. On my mower, Sears saved maybe $1.49 by making the pawls that engage the drive wheels out of plastic instead of steel. As a result, my mower is one-wheel or no-wheel drive most of the time. It goes through a pawl or more/year. Given that it weighs as much as I do when its tank is full, and that the handle height is well above my waist on the lowest setting, I end up trying to push it up even modest slopes by angling my body 45 degrees and pushing for all I’m worth. Good thing I’m an athletic, outdoorsy Alaskan. A true push mower would be a lot lighter, though, and would not involve the endless frustration of ordering parts and spending my weekends installing them instead of mowing my lawn.

    I own a lot of Craftman and Kenmore devices. From now on, I’m giving all them the lowest possible marks in Consumer Reports’ annual survey. Sears deserves to go out of business.

  39. jim says:

    I’ll never purchase any type of sears mowers as long as I live the mower decks are junk they rot out quick they eat belts solenoids are junk always breaking down their so called 6.5 hp push lawn mowers junk.. They dont have 6.5 hp their liers do you’re self a favor stay away from craftsman

  40. grant says:

    I have had good and bad experience with craftsman mowers.I bought a 6.75hp self propelled mulcing mower that was woefully underpower and developed a oil leak early in the second season.Far too expensive to repair so I gave it to a friend who has a really,really ,small lawn.But I have a 14.5hp 42″ rider that I have had since 1998 that still performs flawlessly.My lot is only a 1/2 acre tho,so maybe that has something to do with it.I change oil,plug and clean air filter religiously.ComputerBob is right about the blades they are easily sharpened.

  41. Pat Quinn says:

    The gas tank on my Craftsman 17″ rear tine tiller has split open in several places. It is eight years old, but I would think this is a real safety issue! Does anyone know of a replacement tank of better quality?
    Pat Quinn

  42. tazz says:

    I have had a couple of Craftsman mowers over the the years,With regular maintenance, they have preformed well.My biggest problem was the deck rusting out.{and with regular cleaning} I would still buy a Craftsman. Sorry to read all the negative things , but in reality….all companies are that way now days.Call for anything you will be talking to a person from some 3rd world country that you can nether understand or get you message across.And that’s with all companies.

  43. Gila Dave says:

    (Came across this site looking for replacement blade..)
    Spring ’08 I bought a Sears 6.75 21″ cut “push it yourself” mower to replace a (alleged) 4.5hp other brand that “wasn’t cutting it”. I have 2.5acres of which about 1.5a is mowed. Half that is dense grass, half “scrub”. Three seasons later I can say the mower is the best I’ve used in 45 years of mowing grass. Starts 1st pull 90% of the time, sometimes takes a 2nd pull. Engine has best speed (rpm) control I’ve ever witnessed on a mower. Plow into dense grass of a stand of 1/4″ diam willow shoots, no problem. It just takes a deeper breath and keeps rpm up. Source of annoyance is tendency to clog when mowing heavy grass with high moisture content. Only failure in 3 seasons: the hanging-down shield on the back cracked & broke off.

  44. ty says:

    Reading over these reviews, my own reviews, and talking with neighbors and friends, here is my conclusion.

    Craftsman now adays sucks, but most other brands do too. The last decade has seen a shift from quality long term products to products designed to fail after warranty. It is not in the mowing industry only, but everywhere now. (electronics and cars for example). I believe this is due to these manufacturers becoming mega corperations only looking to maximize profits, which they are doing a great job at. That is why you see more and more plastic gears, undersized components, and shoddy workmanship.

    I have found that the best bet is to buy a mower from the 80’s or early 90’s. They are dirt cheap, and one can expect to get more years out of a well built older solid metal mower, than a cheaply made in China plastic POS. Same thing for cars, Toyota and Honda used to make solid cars that would ealisy get into the 300,000 mile range, but now adays they are made from cheap parts to maximize profits and to get you buying again soon.

    I bought an older craftsman mower from the 1980’s used for $400. Came with a plow, bagger, chains, weights, trailer hitch, etc after doing a ton of research and realizing that you really can’t buy a good mower these days. From my research, Craftsman is worse than the rest, but the other manufacturers aren’t much better.

    More and more, I believe that you are taking a big risk buying a product from any mega multinational corperation, and then expecting the product to work as advertised or get customer service. They know they don’t need your money, there is little you can do, and if the brand name gets tainted, they can always make money by selling thier crap under different names or providing parts to a different brand. They I try my hardest to not buy from mega corperations, the problem is that there are not many start ups or small companies able to survive these days, so we are forced to give them our money for poorly made products.

    And never buy anything from sears anyways, if I need a replacement part for my 1080’s mower, I just order it from China directly. Save about 90% for the same part made in the same facotry with little waiting. There is no waranty under Sears anyways without breaking your neck and recording conversations so you can sue them later. Corperate America is the reason why our world is such a mess, and one could argue that Sears (and Cox communications, Chase Bank, and ATT to name some others) are leading the pack.

  45. Joe F says:

    Well said, Ty.

    From my experience, my 1987 Craftsman push mower will be mowing the grass over my grave! It has the Eager One 4.0 HP Tecumseh engine which is bullet-proof. Never more than 2 primes of the bulb will bring it roaring to life – not even a sputter. I will admit that I have taken very good care of it through the years: 3-4 oil changes per season, deack cleaning, the odd professional tune up, etc.

    My experience goes beyond me. My dad has a 2001 Craftsman push mower, and my brother has an ’04 Craftsman – all extremely reliable.

    To paraprhase Ty, “they don’t make ’em like they usta”. That’s unfortunately true; however, I believe that level of care also comes into play.

    For what it’s worth . . .

  46. John Smith says:

    I have to craftsman tractors… I use one for snowblowing in the winter, I got it in 98 and just recently had the carb rebuilt.. Only problems i had with it.. I use a bigger tractor in the summer to cut grass, hall heavy amounts of dirt, pull down trees… In other words I beat the crap out of it. I havent had a single problem with it. I bought it back in 2000… I guess most of you have got bad luck, Craftsman tractors are strong running tractors.. Might not be as durable as John deere or Kubota.. But still one hell of a tractor.

  47. Ken says:

    I have to say that, all things considered, I’ve had pretty good experiences with my Craftsman riding mower (19.5 HP, 42″ cut). I’ve been using it since 2000 (11 years) in a pretty harsh environment. About 1.5 acres, mostly field grass (aka weeds), and some uneven ground. Yes, I’ve had to replace some parts, but all in all I don’t think it’s been unreasonable replacement. The biggest complaint I’ve had is that the weeds tend to cake pretty easily inside the mowing deck. Could be the type of weeds and dirt (mostly clay) or it could be the design of the mowing deck. I’ve tried that spray on stuff that’s supposed to keep it from caking and that’s worthless. But I think I’d have that problem with any mower. My neighbors on both sides have replaced their Bambi’s (John Deeres), but my Craftsman just gets the job done.

  48. Kelly says:

    My sears self propelled lawn mower has been a nightmare, to boot the repair center is rude too. The lawn mower stayed in the shop. It is now out of warranty and broke down 3 times in one month. I was on the phone to my father crying out of frustration over this crappy lawn mower and crappy service I get. The lawn mower is like 1 1/2 years old and broke down like 15 times. When I told co-workers at work about this rotten lawn mower, some of them were not surprised, they are known for being junk. Well Sears, you can forget anyone in my family buying anything for you guys. No more kenmore washers or dryers and none of us even shop in Sears because of the bad rep. you guys have and crappy service and products.

  49. Carol Hastings says:

    I can’t believe we are so stupid as to put up with the bull they dish out. I wanted a Sears lawn mower because I read in the paper they were continuing to pay the families of our service men they employed that were deployed. It never occurred to me I was buying a piece of JUNK. Back in the day Craftsmans had a good name. I mowed my lawn, which is less than 5000 sq. ft., 1 and 1/2 times and the mower gave out. I returned it. However I was told because I bought it in early fall when nobody was mowing their lawns , that it was my problem because you only have 30 days to return merchandise you are unhappy with. I had the mower less than 60 days. The Manager stated that people who bought snow blowers on sale during summer months had the same problem but that had nothing to do with Sears. People should know they need to test the merchantdise they buy. Sorry, my opinion is we should be proud of what we sell and not look for an out. I don’t think they acted this way because I am a woman. I think they believe we are all stupid and will go along with whatever they state their policy is. DO NOT BUY FROM SEARS, ESPECIALLY THE SEARS AT THE SOUTHRIDGE MALL IN DES MOINES IA.

  50. Wesley says:

    Wow!! I am in the same sears sinking boat that many are. In ’07 I purchased a Kenmore front load washer from Sears. Seven months into ownership the control board went out. Had it repaired, two months later that one failed. During this time Sears tells me the boards are not even available yet so you can only imagine the time the POS was down. Sears finally agreed to replace the washer after threats of boycott and suit, but that would be three weeks. Two months into this machine the same issue, the infamous control board. In frustration I took the panel apart myself and soldered the connector (harness) back to the board. Turns out that the “nice feature” of the high spin cycle to reduce dryer time was shaking the machine apart! I will NEVER purchase any type machines or electronics from Sears again. FYI, at time of my purchase, Kenmore was made by Whirlpool. Unless you have money you want to just flush, I wouldn’t buy Sears appliances and especially the fake extended warranty. Just a footnote; The only way I got Sears to replace the washer was to stop payment on the credit card. It is a sad day in America we as consumers have to put up with the arrogance of BIG BOX retailers that sell shyt made in china and charge you BMW prices. I wonder if Sears or any of the big box will ever get it. I Sear-ously doubt it!

  51. Kelly says:

    My Sears Craftsman tractor is a 1998 Model Made by AYP Husqvarna it originally came with a 17HP Kohler that died in 2006 and it was replaced with a 18.5 HP Briggs Twin. It starts a little hard and goes through blade belts about 1 a season (I think this is because I mulch), but it is 13 years old now and still getting the job done. Don’t get me started on my Yard Man (MTD) Self Propelled mower though, or any MTD tractors, they are defiantly the bottom of the barrel IMHO.

  52. steve says:

    I too have a sears 6.75 self propelled mower what a piece of junk it has turned out to be I have had to replace the front drive wheels twice already at a cost of 11 bucks a piece seems that craftsman likes to pair plastic and metal for a drive system not a great idea the wheels will fail if you hit a rock or anything like a hole in the yard watch out because there seems to be a lot of company’s doing the same thing.

  53. Queenbee says:

    Thanks for the postings. I was about to head out to Sears to get a push lawn mower and thought about getting the service plan with it. I’m glad I checked first. After seeing all of your comments, I won’t be making the trip to Sears. I agree with the fact that things are made to break these days. I’m in my late 30’s and I think people in my generation come to expect that because it’s more of a hassel to get it repaired than buy new (for a bit more than the cost of repair). Part of the reason is because there’s no more local “fix it shops”. And forget about the extended warrantees. They are a waste of money–because of the lack of exellent customer service.

  54. carmine says:


  55. ComputerBob says:

    Carmine is absolutely right.

    You can tell by the fact that he types in all capital letters and uses profanity.

  56. Michael says:

    I have repaired small engines and lawnmowers for over 40 years and I will tell you that most mowers that break have reasons for the breakage. Some things to think about.. Why would you mow wet grass and NOT expect it to clog up the deck and rust it out along with corroding the spindles? Mow DRY grass only. also dusty environments tend to be hard on spindles too, not to mention the air filters. For people who use things like “Castrol GTX”” its says in the manuals to use ONLY oil approved for your specific engine which require special formulations. Using other oils void your warranty as well. If you have problems with your mowers take them to a local small engine repair shop and have them tell you why it broke. Blades are intentionally made of soft metal so that if you hit something with it the blade bends so it won’t break and fly out. Wheels for self propelled mowers have gears made of plastic so it won’t ruin the drive shaft and metal gears that would cost alot more to fix. Most repairs come from lack of maintenance or wrong use application. Go to a small engine repair shop and they can tell you what you need for what you are doing. Also Sears/Craftsman does NOT make lawnmowers they only sell them there service is pricey and quality is sometimes lacking so find a good local shop with GOOD people and stick with them. Good luck and I hope this helps.

  57. Thomas Jackson says:

    You are a freaking crybaby, I have one of these mowers and it has had no such problems. Waaaahhh

  58. ComputerBob says:

    Thomas, thank you for your well-reasoned, highly convincing argument. I think it may be time to take your medication.

  59. Robert Collins says:

    Bought a craftsman 6 years ago and shipped to our new house in Philippines. It is a 21″ residental mower and I have been using it on 1 acre of ruff ground and caribu grass in brutal heat. Mower is wearing down but I certainly got more than expected service.

  60. Alan in CA says:

    I remember a long time ago when they rebuilt the local Sears store–they removed the “Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back” signs that had been etched into the glass over the doors. I thought that was a bad sign. It was.

  61. Norman says:

    Hi have had my Sears tractor now for 15 years cut an acre twice a week shes a great mechine.

  62. Dave S. says:

    Just spent about $90 buying 4 new wheels on my Craftsman self-propelled mower. Centers of wheels were plastic and only lasted a few years. Ridiculous. Replacements have metal centers.

  63. john says:

    I have a 22″ inch sears mower that I bought in 1990. I pulled it out after a long winter, primed the carb and pulled cord one time and it cranked. You guys are obviously not mechanical and take care of the little things.

    I have had to replace front wheels a couple of times in the 22years and I also have slowed down some in that time.

  64. ComputerBob says:

    John, you wrote: “You guys are obviously not mechanical and take care of the little things.”

    Judging by the totality of the replies in this thread, it’s much more likely that you just happened luck out and get one of the good mowers.

  65. john says:

    My old engine runs like it always did, the frame after 22 years could be better. If one of you guys want to donate your old front wheel drive to a happy customeer. Please feel free to do so.

  66. ComputerBob says:

    A happy Sears lawn mower customer — apparently one of the exceptions that proves the rule.

  67. Skullywag says:

    It seems the only people happy with their Craftsman mowers are those that bought them 15-20 years ago. Craftsman USED to be a good brand you could trust. Since being bought out by Kmart (even though the name is SEARS holding, it was Kmart that bought Sears in 2005, not the other way around) their quality has plummeted. They are merely selling the cheapest items made, at the highest price they can get away with…to keep from falling into bankruptcy AGAIN. Kmart filed for bankruptcy in 2002.

    Paid $350 for a self propelled mower that refused to start after 9 months. After A LOT of arguing over the phone, got them to honor the 1 yr warranty and replace. 10 months later and the replacement refuses to start. After HOURS on hold via phone, I’m told replacements only have 6 months replacement warranty, and parts will be covered if I pay to have it repaired. 2 lemons same model, no thanks. Mowers were treated as advised…clean premium gas with stabilizer.

    I bought a cheap $99 Murry at Walmart 7 yrs ago, that has ran on the cheapest unleaded, and starts first pull every time I crank it.

    I will never buy another Craftsman ANYTHING….you can get a lemon anywhere, but Sears simply does not honor warrantees as advertised anymore. Arguing on the phone for hours for a resolution 1/2 of what is promised is not going to cut it.

  68. Ford says:

    I am going through the same thing. I have a 4 year old craftsman riding mower with a Kohler pro motor in it. The deck wheels keep getting loose and wobbly, the tires cracked and failed after a year and a half despite being stored indoors all winter and summer between mowing. The pto switch failed the first summer. Now I went to change plugs and one of the wires came off in my hand immediately. Was chaffing under the cover. Well do you think a sears store carries the ignition coil you have to buy to replace the wire? No. Go to parts directs and they now have a replacement one, but it has only two prongs not three and customer submitted questions mentioned they got the wrong part and what do you do? They tell you there are two different ones for different serial numbers. The other one has one prong, not three….still wrong. So, go on live chat. Tell them the issue. They go away multiple times (to look at their own site I could tell after) To come back and tell me the very same replacement parts I knew to be wrong. I point out they are incorrect and that customers were even saying so. He tells me that that is the correct three prong replacement and sends me a picture link which shows a part with two prongs on it… I say, there is no way you can tell me that has three prongs. He tells me I have to contact Kohler direct to verify it. WTF! Why the hell is it so hard to get a stupid spark plug wire for a lawn tractor that is 4 years old? I looked all over the internet and NO ONE seems to have a replacement part anywhere. There was one site that had a repair kit, but it was discontinued. Looked like it had a bunch of extra pigtail wires to make the other ones work… I am done with anything Sears as of this experience. Everything I have gotten there has been junk lately. No service and crappy things means no dollars from me.

  69. Joey says:

    Bottom line, Sear sucks and it’s management is criminal. I bought a new garden tractor and nothing but problems , I feel like a sucker.

    This is the problem with America, all corporations bring in some bean counter CEO with a five year plan . All he does is move assets around making the numbers look good and wow he is a big hero on paper . Then he is off to the next company or Brand to wreck.

    This is why I no longer invest in any stocks !

    Let me say it Sears SUCKs and ita management is criminal, great job at wrecking a 100 year old brand and take this lawn tractor and stick it up Your @ss!

  70. Dennis says:

    When I bought my current home in Alaska, a Sears riding tractor/mower came with it and after a quick examination I gave it away. A 7 HP garden tiller also came with the sale and it looked almost new so I kept it. Today I changed the oil in it, changed the spark plug, filled the tires with air and lubed the gearbox. It started, I made one pass around the garden and it ceased its forward motion.
    Taking the side cover off and checking the drive belt, everything seems ok but the power goes into the tranny and nothing comes out. I will at some point disassemble the gear box and see what’s broken but I have had too many bad experiences with Sears, especially here in Alaska. I will most likely salvage the Briggs engine and throw the rest away. For the time being, I’ll rent a tiller.

  71. Gail says:

    I have had horrible experiences with Sears. Washing machine I ended up giving away. Was the motherboard. Told would cost about as much as I paid for the machine. Repairman said they were having a lot of the same problems with this machine. Gave it away after many calls to Sears. Then my mini tiller was repaired by them. Cost almost as much as I paid for it to repair. Year after repair the gas tank was leaking on top where the seam is. Guess what? The gas tank is no longer available and do not make them anymore. Wonder why, haha. Frustrating. Can not even find a replacement part for my tiller that was only 3 years old. My riding lawn mower 5 years old was repaired by Sears, normal yearly check up I have them do on it. They replaced the carbrator. Week later when trying to shut off the lawn mower it would not turn off. When I was able to shut it off I find wires inside not connected and multiple of them. How did it even run? I was so mad I just gave it away. Done with them! Customer service sucks. They do not have replacement parts on hand and you have to order on line, pay for postage and wait for part to come in the mail. Did this with my kitchen stove. Then had to send the part back since was not the part needed but they said it was. Had to pay some stupid fee guess was restocking charge and the postage.

  72. DanO says:

    I purchased a 917.273143 mower and to its credit – it worked well for a number of years before I damaged one of the blade mandrels and then discovered that the bolts that held it in place were either welded on or over-tightened to the extreme – in either case, I was never able to get them off – I will never buy anything with the Craftsman name on it again.

  73. Thomas Ozarowicz says:

    I have a searscraftsman lawnmower for 3 years. 1st year died $250.00 worth of repairs, Last year died at end of season, this year I’m told it needs new moter, cheapest we can find is $250.00.

  74. Earl says:

    I will never buy sears craftsman lawn mower again, ever, ever, ever!

  75. dale frans says:

    wow I do say I do have to say sears does suck it used to be a good place to buy in the day but you all so have to rember sears does not make any thing they sell it only I think all their riding mowers are made by ayp husky sears poulan an a few others are made by ayp also just a drifferent color an also every thing is made now a days to throw away not like the old stuff it was made to last an a lot of folks use them to mow dirt rocks an use them for a brush hog an they don’t service them at all an then wonder why they broke down I have worked on small motors for 20 years an have seen it all from oil that has never been changed to dirt in gas you name it I have saw it any way good luck to all of you an have a nice day an happy mowing thanks

  76. Tyler Hatfield says:

    We have a 1970’s lawn tractor with a 26 hp Kohler engine and my great grandpa bought it for my grandpa, and so one time my grandpa rolled it over upside-down and broke the steering wheel, then he hit a big rock while mowing, and the Kohler leaked oil every where. That was the last time it ran till 15 years later. Today, I, the 4th generation of owning it had started it back up and drove it all around our yard. It ran fine for it being 40 years old and sitting in a barn being neglected for so long.

  77. AB says:

    There is a one word answer to these problems. HONDA

  78. Dave says:

    well come to Ameica >>> keep buying foreign Crap and you get what ya pay for stop USA companies from going over seas > dont buy their Crap > plain and simple !!!!

  79. Greg says:

    Lawn mowers. The cheapest 42″ers are good for the money if you can fix em yerself and don’t mind doing so. The upgrades(blade clutches, oil pumps, hydrastatic drives) are cheaply made, so why buy top-of-the-line if cheaply made? Askin for expensive problems, if ya ask me.
    The old style briggs engines are pretty bullet proof, why seek more expense, with lacking track record of proven reliability?
    If I buy any mower, these things I do my best to insure;
    The tires spindles and hubs are square and aligned as they should be.
    The mower deck hubs, pulleys, belt/s are aligned as well.
    The hubs are bolted to mower deck with 4 bolts a piece, not 3.
    The blade is closely tucked up under the deck, not sticking down on long spindles.
    It’s on sale for under a 1000.
    I would probably be ahead to buy one good mower instead of the 3 I have bought in the last 15 years, but the parts are cheap when used junk sears mowers are so plentiful, as no one wants them, and I have plenty of room. Besides define good, when most consumer brands are made in China, is there really a difference? We are very luck to still have Briggs/Stratton in US, and they still make their old reliable oil splash engines.
    Ask GM about cost savings. Are they in a multimillion dollar liability suit over faulty ignition switches? Weren’t those switches made in China? Wonder how they feel about that risk vrs. reward scenario now.
    A few cents per ignition savings and how many poor people have died or suffered?
    I buy very little new, when China is my only choice.
    I tried an expensive sears frontload washer. Mistake, broke twice, same china part, in less than 2 years.(part was 240ish cost)
    I replaced washer with an old used top load washer, worked flawless for 3 years for 1/10 the money. I recently replaced that used washer with another used one, working flawlessly, and will continue to do so until American companies quit buying China Sh*^.
    Sears service men, I have had good experience with, believe it or not. One was excellent, one got the job done but not excellent.
    Sears parts service………… I avoid, unless feeling up to a 3 ring circus with curly moe and larry. The parts service experience from about 5 years ago was enough to insure me of sears ultimate corporate dust bin fate. I am surprised that someone is still financing this lead life raft.
    I go to the store; need mower parts, can’t buy there, they order from parts supplier. Hell, I can do that, and did, and didn’t have to drive to do it.

    SEARS; you will only understand your product if you yourself service and supply parts for it. You do Not understand your products or the ignorance of your customer service, non-service. YOu grew on quality, and died on crap. You are what you sell.
    Stick to a basic standard, don’t change it, don’t revise it, unless you make it better. Extended warranty…? Quality negates the need for extended warranty.

  80. GaRTH says:

    Don’t get it Big Bob, I’m 62 and have used every type of lawn mower out there. For the last 8 years I’ve had a craftsman self-propelled lawnmower. It has been thoroughly abused and cut some of the tallest, toughest hillside grass around. Too steep for riding mowers.
    Once it needed a new spark plug and the shade tree told me to get a new mower. All I’ve ever done is change the oil and clean the filter every two years. Never had a mower hold up like this Craftsmen.

  81. ComputerBob says:

    Dear GaRTH,
    Apparently, yours is the exception that proves the rule. 😉


    I wouldn’t trade my gravely for any other mower on the market had it for 32 yrs just brought couple battery and a coil and rebuild the starter which was only 30.00 not bad for a 34 yr machine

  83. Kenny Kulbiski says:

    I bought a new Sears mower blade two weeks ago and mowed my average sized lawn twice. It’s now a blunt instrument. I’m headed for Wally World and an el cheapo universal blade. No wonder Sears is going under.

  84. Jon Drowsky says:

    Sears was bought out by KMART. They have no idea what had made Sears a great store for over a century. The products they sell now are crap. They have zero support. Too bad. Sears was a great store for over a century. End of an era.

  85. Ray says:

    Please take the time to research who makes mowers.
    Sears don’t make Craftsman mowers. As a matter of fact there is a lot of things Sears sales that they don’t.
    But you will not believe who does.
    And I will leave it at that.
    It don’t make any difference to me about what you buy, I am not a Sears lover.
    So don’t think I am taking up for Sears or Craftsman.

  86. ComputerBob says:

    I think that everyone who cares already knows that “Sears Craftsman” mowers have actually been built by MTD (which Sears reportedly owns), along with Husqvarna, Murray, Snapper, Simplicity, and other manufacturers. But they also know that Sears has always spec’d the mowers that carry the Sears name. The evidence is overwhelming that those specs have seriously declined in quality over time.

  87. Gary says:

    I have a Craftsman LT1000 lawn tractor that is about 12 yrs old so I guess I can’t complain TOO much.Everything works pretty good but the brakes needed replaced.The brake disc was frozen to the shaft and after dousing it good with WD40,heating it up,banging on it with a chisel and hammer,prying on it,it wouldn’t come off. While my son was trying to pry it off a piece of the disc broke off. I found one easy enough on Ebay for real cheap. Using a cutoff wheel,chisel and hammer, we finally got the old disc off in pieces. Low and behold the replacement disc has a splined shaft hole and the original was smooth with a key slot.They have the splined disc everywhere but nobody has the keyed disc,it is no longer made,no replacement is known,and it is no longer available. My son is now trying to grind out the splines so it just fits on the shaft and then cut a slot for the key. It’s either that or throw out the whole thing with the trash next week. Can’t cut my lawn (too many little hills)without brakes. I hate sears!!!

  88. Mike says:

    SEARS WARRANTY IS A JOKE- spent $2100 on a new craftsman pro riding lawn mower and another $350 on there grass catcher. With 15 hours on the mower the mantle bearing went out so I called sears and they told me that the bearings are not covered. So I ordered a bearing from sears $6.99 plus 6.99 shipping. I heard sears is closing there stores well GOOD RIDDANCE

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