In late February 2008 I purchased a Craftsman riding mower, Model 917. 287242. In August of 2009, I had an issue with it: it would not start. The starter had literally fallen apart! Of course I called Sears Home hotline; the first question out of the technician's mouth was, "Do you use fresh gasoline in the mower?" When I told him yes, we always do, he finally, reluctantly, sent a mechanic out to look at it. Sure enough, the starter had fallen apart... It took FIVE WEEKS for the man to return to put a new starter on this riding mower!!!
Now I have a new issue: just for the past week, the selfsame mower has been smoking and stalling. Of course my husband and I both know what the matter is: the oil ring, the compression ring, or both are shot and that engine is not long for this world. So I called the hotline again.
The first question out of that technician's mouth was, did we mow on a greater-than-15-degree slope. Well, no; while we do have a couple of slopes here in the southeastern Ohio hills, we have better sense than to try! The next question was, did we keep the oil changed on a regular basis, and did we at any time overfill the oil reservoir? Of course we kept the oil changed! -- the dratted thing cost us close to $1500 out of our retirement money! And *of course* we did not overfill the reservoir; again, we know better.
The long and the short of it was, the young lady could send a mechanic out, but if this person found *WE* had damaged the engine in any way, the warranty would be void and we would have to pay for the service call. So I hung up.
I firmly believe that the Sears salesmen should be schooled to ask if the buyer is going to use these mowers at any time on hilly terrain. That way, if the answer is yes, the consumer can go away and look for a mower that is up to the task! There are several makes that are. As for Sears "warranties" on their power machinery............