Briggs and Stratton® · 17 August 2007
Although I am not a paid endorser of Briggs and Stratton®, I would entertain offers. However, even if the company never contacts me, I still think that they make great small engines. As a matter of fact, when I bought my first lawnmower at the age of 43, I got one with a Briggs and Stratton engine because of what happened with two second-hand mowers.
I would call myself frugal. My dad and my wife would say that frugal is just another word for cheap. Regardless of what it is called, this character trait is why at 43 years old I had not yet bought my own brand new lawn mower even though I had owned three houses since I was 25. I do not even know how I got my first lawnmower. I think that my brother, Scott, and I found a lawnmower at a garage sale after I moved in to my first house. Being a first-time homeowner, I never even thought about all the equipment I would need to run a household. And being frugal, I figured that a used lawnmower with a Briggs and Stratton engine would be just as good as a new one. I was right. It lasted until I moved four or five years later and is still probably running. Wherever it is.
That first lawnmower did not make the move with me so several years later when my new bride and I got into our first house together, Dad gave me a hand-me-down mower. It was great! It started on the fifth or sixth pull almost every time. And when it was it was warm, it started on the second or third pull. But the best thing about that old Briggs and Stratton engine was that it had an automatic oil level sensing mechanism.
I did not realize that such a feature existed on the mower until my wife and I moved into our second home. By that time, the mower had gone through at least eight years with me and who knows how many good years of service before that. One of the wheels was wobbly and the deck did not adjust and the blade needed to be sharpened but it was and still is a great mower.
I had said that when we got into the new house we would get a new mower too but the old one kept chugging away. I figured that it would die one day soon but it just kept going. It still started on the fifth or sixth pull and was ever the reliable machine. The new yard was quite a bit bigger than our old one and it was tough going around and around with the wobbly wheel. Still, I did not get a new mower.
Then one day, I found out about the automatic oil level sensing mechanism. After five or six pulls, the mower started and I was mowing the lawn. I had already made a couple turns around the front lawn when the engine just quit. I checked to make sure there was fuel. There was plenty of gas in the tank so I pulled the starter cord a couple times and it started again. I made a couple more cuts in the front when the mower stopped again. I pulled the air filter out and checked the spark plug. Nothing seemed to be amiss so I started the mower again. It started and I made almost a full turn around the small front yard when the mower quit again. Then I thought about the situation a bit. There was plenty of gas. It was mowing for a while. What it seemed like was that the engine was too hot. It seemed to be overheating. That was when it hit me.
I checked the oil level by opening the filler cap and tilting the mower. There was no oil. In reality, there was probably a drop or two but none was visible when I tilted the machine. I hit my head in disgust at how poorly I had maintained this wonderful machine all those years. I put some oil in and just like magic, I was able to mow again without the interruption of a quitting engine.
I was impressed by the fact that the small engine did not need any oil to run. At least for short amounts of time. I was ecstatic that I had not ruined my old hand-me-down lawnmower. And I was sold on Briggs and Stratton engines. When we got our new mower the next mowing season, I made sure that it had a Briggs and Stratton engine.
I hope that I take better care of this mower than the last one but whether I do or not, I am sure that it will take care of me and my yard. With a little maintenance and a little luck, it will be another 20 years before I buy another new mower. I already know what engine will power it. One of those Briggs and Stratton engines with an automatic oil sensing mechanism.
© 2007 Michael T. Miyoshi
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Published 14 August 2007 in The Monroe Monitor & Valley News
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