Consumer Reports: Most reliable lawnmowers

Summer isn't far off and just in time, Consumer Reports has some tips on how to get your lawn mower into prime shape.

Having to get your lawnmower fixed - or even worse - having to buy a new one is annoying.

So if you're going to get one now, make sure it'll last.

Eric Miller has been fixing mowers for 22 years and says it all starts with which brand you buy.

"You want it to work. The good brands, they hold up," says Miller.

A Consumer Reports survey of almost 20,000 subscribers found some brands to be more reliable than others.

When it comes to gas-powered push mowers, the survey found Murray and Troy-Bilt push mowers are more reliable than Toros.

For bigger jobs, gas-powered self-propelled mowers will do some of the work for you.

The self-propelled brands reported as among the least reliable are Husqvarna and Snapper. Conversely, Honda is a brand you can depend on.

"Each brand has different models, but if you choose one from a more dependable brand, you improve your odds of getting a mower that will hold up over time," says Consumer Reports' Peter Sawchuk.

Proper maintenance also goes a long way. The most common cause of engine trouble is old, or bad, gas.

"Gas that's more than a month old or has ethanol in can really damage the fuel system and clog up the carburetor," says Sawchuk.

Aside from using fresh fuel, at the start of each season it's also important to change the oil, check your filters, and sharpen the blades.

Sharp blades save fuel and cut cleaner, keeping your lawn healthier.

If you've got more than an acre to mow or if you're mowing for more than an hour with your walk-behind, it might be time to consider a riding mower.

Consumer Reports survey finds John Deere tractors are more reliable than other brands and that Cub Cadets are more likely to break.
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