Do it yourself and save some cash

We’ve got a large yard. Well large for New England standards anyway. As the weather started getting nice, Jeff and I had to consider the chore of mowing. Neither one of us likes to mow but we’ve got a nice tractor to make the job easier. A few weeks, we went to start the tractor and, of course, it wouldn’t start. Usually at the beginning of the season, we call the local lawn and garden place to do routine maintenance on it. This time it was going to take a month to get someone out here to look at it. We couldn’t wait that long so we decided to do it ourselves.

I downloaded the operations manual from the John Deere website. We needed to change the oil, filters and spark plug. I wrote down all the info and headed to my local Home Depot. I was impressed to find they sold a maintenance kit which included everything we needed for the bargain price of $44. It was about a 10% savings from purchasing everything separately. We got the kit home and with the assistance of the operator’s manual, changed the oil and got everything installed.

It still didn’t start. I mentioned this to my friend, Jim, who has got to be one of the handiest people I know. He came over and we started taking the tractor apart. He explained to us that one of the mechanisms that is supposed to move up and down when the tractor starts wasn’t moving. I started to worry that this was going to be expensive. When we took the cover off the engine, a whole bunch of leaves and grass fell out of the compartment. Apparently, a mouse had built a little home under the engine cover. We blew out all the debris and the mower started!

Having the tractor repair guy come out would have cost us $200-400. Between the operations manual and our friend Jim, we got the mower running. Before hiring someone to do minor repairs for you, try seeing if you can fix it yourself. There are tons of online resources out there. Before picking up the phone, open your browser first.

Now the hard part, actually mowing the damn lawn. Sigh. Did I mention I HATE mowing?