Do not buy MTD or Kawasaki.

Well, obviously. This is a site about Honda, after all. But let me explain.

Last year we needed a new lawnmower, because our 2-year old Briggs & Stratton gave up the ghost. Yes, Chinese-made American rubbish. So I researched lawnmower brands. A Honda-engined one would have been nice, but was waaaaaayy beyond our budget. But then I saw an MTD, at a reasonable price, with a Kawasaki engine. Now Kawasaki (although not a Honda) is still Japanese. Got to be good, right? Not only that, it came with a TWO YEAR WARRANTY! So we bought it.

We used it a few times, and it did the job. Well, this spring we trotted it out of the garden shed to start cutting the grass again. It wouldn’t start.
I changed the fuel. Nothing. Checked the spark plug. Sparking fine. So I was about to start dismantling the carburettor when I remembered: TWO YEAR WARRANTY!

So we took it back to Weldom in Aubigny where we bought it. Their repair boffin took a look, and found that fuel was not getting to the carburettor. He fiddled with the float mechanism for a while and was rewarded with a gush of fuel all over his hand. “There you are,” he said. “All fixed.” So we brought the machine back home again.
Yes, but.
Although the engine was now starting, it lacked power.
Back it went the following day.
The boffin had another look, and diagnosed a faulty carburettor. It would apparently have to be sent away for cleaning, so we left the machine with him.

One week later, still no news.
Two weeks later, still no news.
NINETEEN DAYS after taking the machine back to the dealership, we received a phone call.
“Right, your machine is ready. The carburettor had a problem, so I fitted a new one. And this is not covered under your warranty, so that will be €137. Thank you, kerching.”
We went to get the machine.
“Yes, I’m sorry about that. I spoke to MTD on the telephone, and they told me to install a new carburettor to resolve the problem. But they said it’s down to user error, so it’s not covered by the warranty. Nothing I can do about it, I’m afraid. You can pay at the cashier over there. Strange though, we’ve sold ten of these machines last year and yours is the only one which has come back.”

So be warned. Two-year warranties are not worth the cash register receipt they’re printed on.

Oh – and if you’re in the market for a new lawnmower – buy a goat.

DO NOT buy an MTD lawnmower, especially if it has a Kawasaki engine.

Some Japanese technology is not what it used to be. Kawasaki is, basically, Krap. (Kawasaki Rarely Attains Perfection).

You have been warned.

2 thoughts on “Do not buy MTD or Kawasaki.

  1. Will Burton

    Went the Honda powered Husqvarna route and don’t regret a single sous of the purchase price. I’ve been using it to mow under canoe racks at our canoe & kayak shop near Ottawa (Canada) as well as tending the jungle that is our ‘lawn’ at home. Keep it oiled, clean fuel (hi test to avoid gasohol & it’s water component), check the plug yearly, drain fuel for storage and replace blades as they age or get bent out of shape. I’d buy another but this one seems reluctant to give up the ghost in spite of my best/worst efforts. Five years and still going!

    1. ST1100 Post author

      Well, after the Mrs contacted Kawasaki Europe to voice our displeasure at their (lack of) warranty, Kawasaki have now responded. They have instructed MTD Europe to instruct MTD France to instruct Weldom to refund our payment for the new carburettor. Weldom have offered us a credit note. We’ve declined, and are waiting to speak to their accounts department to arrange a refund cheque. So it’s not Kawasaki that has the poor customer service, it’s MTD. Yes, a Honda-powered unit would have been nice. But at over three times the cost of the Kawasaki…


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