Nothing, the ads say, runs like a Deere — John Deere that is. That ad campaign, and the reputation of Deere’s farm and construction equipment, led me to buy an L130 lawn tractor when we moved to the county.
The L130 seemed, at the time, ideal for tackling our spacious front yard — otherwise known as the Lower 40. Our yard is two-and-a-half acres on a hillside where the steepest grade is about 35 degrees. With a 24 horsepower v-twin and a 48-inch cutting deck the L130 came highly recommended.
For a while, nothing ran like the Deere. It always started and tackled the massive yard with ease, pulling the hill, trailer and other accessories with ease. When the driveway needed regrading, it pulled the DR PowerGrader with ease.
Until about a month ago when the transmission started slipping. Like most modern lawn tractors, the L130 has a “hydrostatic transmission,” meaning a hydraulic drive. The tractor became sluggish on hill and, after a hour or so of use, would just stop while the engine spun on.
With the tractor still under the 24-month factory warranty, I trailered it over to S.G. Wimmer & Sons in Christiansburg, the nearest authorized repair shop. The service department promised to get right on it.
That was 11 days ago. I called last week and was told they were waiting for authorization from the John Deere center in Atlanta to repair the transmission under warranty. Check back in a couple of days, they said.
So I called on Wednesday.
“What’s up with my L130?”
“The one with the slipping transmission.”
“I don’t know.”
“I was told last week that you expected the word from the factory earlier this week.”
“That must have been our other tech. He’s off for the next two days. I’ll have to check on it and get back to you.”
I had hoped to get a call Thursday. Didn’t come. I was worried because the warranty expired while the tractor was sitting at the shop awaiting approval from John Deere.
Finally, today, the word came down. The L130 is ready for me to pick up, complete with a new transmission, all covered under warranty. Turns out the problem was with Home Depot, where be bought the tractor in 2005. The Home Depot Store in Christiansburg filled out the warranty card and said they would take care of registration.
They didn’t. The John Deere warranty department had no record but Wimmer registered the warranty and then replaced the transmission.
Something to think about before shopping next time at Home Depot.