Doing Your Research Applies to Everything

It’s Spring.  The time of the year when the sun actually makes things warm again.  When allergies wreak havoc on the population.  When the grass starts growing again.

Last year, I was anticipating a new lawn mower.  A long time ago, I had gone to electric lawnmowers and never looked back.  They are dead simple.  There is an electric cord, and electric motor and that’s about it.  No cleaning out the carburetor.  No clogged gas lines.  No oil.  No gas.  No real maintenance.

When you buy the thing, spray the underside with Pam cooking spray and that’ll keep the grass from sticking, then once a month or so, hose it off.  When winter comes around, the extensive end of season maintenance involves unplugging it.

Mine appeared to be getting long in tooth.  It just wasn’t cutting effectively.  Anything other than already low grass would cause it to jam and I couldn’t keep the bolt that holds the blade on tight.

I did my research on new lawnmowers and found a similar model for only $200.  Unfortunately, I don’t really have a spare $200.  It doesn’t sound like much, but the missus is in grad-school… all student loans.

So, I took a few minutes and did some research online.  I found that a common problem is that there is a plastic grommet that holds the blade in place and is basically the attachment point between the blade and the driveshaft.  I also found that the fan had two broken blades, which would make the whole thing out of balance.

About five minutes with a crescent wrench and sure enough, the plastic grommet was in tatters.  Black and Decker has a fantastic ordering service.  They present an exploded view of the device and number the parts.  The part order form is directly below.

So, I ordered the two parts I needed.  Total cost $25.  I went ahead and ordered another blade for $15 too.  I could probably get the one I have ground and sharpened… so I’ll have a spare.

The parts came in a few days later.  I looked at the parts diagram to make sure I knew where everything went and ten minutes later, I have a perfectly running lawnmower again.

If I hadn’t done that 2 minute internet search, I would be scraping to get a new lawnmower.  I saved a $150.  And even if my time is worth $20 an hour (which is what I base economic decisions on), I still saved over $130.

Research works.

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