A couple of days ago, Consumer Reports did an article about lawnmower starting guarantees. It hit home that even with this guarantee in place, only under certain conditions will the manufacturer honor the guarantee. Once limits are placed on a guarantee, does this not then become a warranty? In other words, a guarantee is not limited while a warranty is limited.
Both Toro and Briggs and Stratton have put a claim of “guaranteed to start with one or two pulls” on their engines. This means that if the end user cannot start the engine within one or two pulls, the manufacturer will fix the reason why. However, (there always seems to be a “however”), if the engine is not maintained properly, the engine is not covered. The burden of proof naturally falls on the end user to try and prove that everything was maintained as per the owner’s manual. Even then, if the machine was just pulled out of storage or cold (or too hot) the guarantee may not cover the repair.
Another issue that manufacturers have is old fuel. Experience has told me that this often overused excuse leads to a repair not covered under warranty, even in cases where it is not a fuel related failure. “How can this be?” one might ask. Service centers have been left unpaid on warranty claims far too many times when the manufacturers claim it was old gas that was the problem. Now service centers are twice shy to submit a claim if there is a chance that “old gas” might have caused the problem.
To be fair to the manufacturers, my experience with B3C Fuel Solutions has opened my eyes to the world of gas related issues. It only takes a short time (30-60 days) before gas starts to go bad. The gas that has started to go bad is called marginal and it can destroy an engine. Marginal gas will start and run but will be hard to start and it will be low on power.
Now dealers can check the gas in a customer’s unit to see if it is a fuel related issue by using our Gasoline Test Swabs. The Test Swabs will check the gas to see if it is fresh, marginal, or bad. The service center can then inform the customer the status of the gas and use it as part of their diagnostic service. This can also inform the dealer if the repair is covered under warranty. The great part of the Test Swabs is that it only takes a few minutes to perform the test and it can be done right in front of the customer so that there are no questions.
So, how can a person make sure that the unit will start? By using Ethanol Shield in the gas at all times, the fuel will stay fresh and the ethanol will not be an issue either, and the fuel will not be the reason the engine will not start. This means that there is an actual issue with the engine that needs service and very well could be covered under the manufacturer’s guarantee.
To read the article by Consumer Reports, click here.