At what point is my yt4500 a lemon?

2012 Craftsman YT4500 – 54″ Deck, 26hp Briggs Twin

Mower deck belt has come off at least 10 times and I have personally reinstalled. Belt has broken (snapped cleanly) three times that Sears has attempted to repair. Last time out, the technician noted that my grass was really long and recommended that I get some goats in the interim. Grass hasn’t been cut since July 19th. Technician ordered a new mower deck. Sears called me with a fictitious tracking number for a deck that was never even sent. (Tracking # 1z1986481292356497) Called Sears again today and was told that the deck was on backorder but was being expedited. How do I get a tracking number for a deck that isn’t even available TO SHIP TO ME?

When hot, the engine seems to vapor lock in that it won’t turn over. Technician recommended that I turn over the flywheel over by hand and then it will start. Hot engine anyone?! Technician did replace a suspect battery but did not improve hot re-starts.

To everyone at Sears who still cares;

Despite my ranting here, customers such as myself are the ones you want to keep. I am the new wave of people who are very familiar with how social media works. I’ve been buying from Sears for 20 years (since I was 16) and would like to continue to do so but the lack of caring for the customer’s plight is disgusting.

Case # 1619599

Help me out or I’m gone.


13 answers

  1. Dear dustingrieser,

    We're sorry for the delay in contact from your Case Manager. In researching your case, I see that she has notes in your case to contact you tomorrow as she is off today for the Labor Day Holiday. Your tractor issue is very important to us and I will forward your post to her and ask that she contact you as early as possible tomorrow. Thank you in advance for your patience and we look forward to speaking with you soon.


    Susan R.
    MySears Community Moderator

    1. In response to SHC-SusanR


      My case manager has been in contact with me now on a regular basis and has processed a replacement tractor for me. Now, my problem is the store manager that I have been dealing with will not return my phone calls. According to my cm, she emailed the store on September 3rd. I called the store a couple days after that and their response was that they have not gotten anything as of yet. I have tried calling again three times, leaving messages with name and phone number and, again, no response.

      • San Jose, CA

    Have the anti-scalping wheels on the deck been lowered to allow the deck to ride out any landscape dips?

    How "flat" is your mowed area?

    While the wheels will help with the dips, bumps in the mowed area can be problematical to any ride-on mower deck.

    Something is clearly tearing up your machine.

    How many pass heights do you make at the tall grass?

    One-third the height of the grass is the recommended maximum depth of cut, to avoid yellowing your grass.

    Deeper cuts could be putting excess strain on your deck and belt.

    When is the lest time the blades were sharpened?

    1. Adam,

      My mower is tuned up, leveled, sharpened and I have the knowledge in the correct way of cutting grass. The ground is level and this tractor does a wonderful job of handling what I've got -- WHEN IT WORKS. I don't need any other equipment besides a functioning tractor. Coming from the line of work that I do, I understand mechanical failures but I am also charged with fixing that and taking care of the customer to make sure their expectations for repair are met. If problems arise, you had better believe that I am snapping to attention to make sure that the situation is FIXED.

      This isn't so much a question of mechanical repair as it is the response from Sears as far as attempting to repair. At some point, everyone must realize that machines are not built by hand and that sometimes inherent problems that are not fixable are present within them. It's all about the company's backing of their product and their response.

      A very nice lady from Sears called me yesterday and explained the situation and what happened. She apologized profusely for the errant information that was given to me and I accepted. She promised me a replacement tractor due to the fact that my mower deck won't be ready for shipment until September 24th. We'll see what happens with that as this is the third time that a replacement has promised to me but has not come to fruition.

      I'm crossing my fingers.

      • San Jose, CA

    You might benefit in your grass cutting by using a High-wheel trimmer, before trimming everything "even" with your ride-on mower.

    Part of our property has long/ thick patches of wild grass and some very invasive black-berry vines that tend to really strain mowers designed to mow the more manageable "civilized" grasses, that don't grow to long lengths in the form of thick clumps.

    The high-wheel trimmer is basically a weed-whacker, powered by a lawn mower 4-cycle engine, supported in the back by two large diameter wheels, allow a front nose piece to float above the ground a trim'n down just about anything in its way.

    There is also an advantage of the nose piece on the high-wheel trimmer being belt-driven.

    So. If something foreign is hit or the high grass starts to rotate around the trimming head, the belt will absorb the initial shock more readily than a push mower and it is a little more resilient than the large circumference deck belt of a ride on mower.

    I've had my Craftsman high-wheel trimmer for over 10 years now.

    Once the really long stuff is trimmed short enough to stand up straight, the ride on mower can trim it down to its final desired height, that will be even across your yard.

    A high-wheel trimmer is almost a necessity, if you have above-ground drip irrigation tubing running about your yard.

    I hope this gives you a possible new strategy to maintaining your yard.

    I found the latest Craftsman high-wheel trimmer sold here:

    Mine is a bit older, colored green.

    1. Adam,

      The reason that the grass is so high is that SEARS had failed to fix the customer's lawn tractor and they are unable to mow. The idea that the customer should go out and buy another piece of equipment rather than having the repair done promptly, professionally and correctly is ludicrous.

      The idea that the customer should give Sears any more of their hard earned money, in effect rewarding Sears for their customer service failures is laughable.

  2. dustingrieser,

    We’re sorry to hear about the trouble you’re experiencing with your tractor. We see that you have case open with one of our case managers. We will forward your post to your case manager for attention.

    Thank you,
    David W.
    MySears Community Moderator

  3. Hi there, dustingrieser! Thanks so much for posting on MySears today. Sorry you are having such issues with your tractor! We can get you in touch with SearsCares, the customer service escalation team. They will be happy to discuss the problems you are having with your tractor and come to a resolution that meets your expecations.

    Check back here in a bit for a reply. They will reach out shortly to assist.


    1. In response to SHC-JulieK

      Well, after being promised a call back today (Sunday), it hasn't happened. Again. I called all the numbers that I have for everyone that I've talked to and they all went to voicemail (normal situation.)

      Of all the people that I have talked to at Sears throughout this whole ordeal, not a single person has called me back when they told me they were going to.

      Another in the long line of disappointments in Sears Customer Service.

    2. In response to SHC-JulieK

      Well, this situation is still not resolved. The Sears technician is coming out this Saturday to install a new mower deck. After they install the deck, I will be trading in the tractor elsewhere for a different brand entirely.

      I was really hoping that Sears would step up and make this situation right but they have not. It is now September 17, 2013 and my grass has not been cut since July 19, 2013.

      As I said, help me out or I'm gone. Well, I'm gone.

    3. In response to SHC-JulieK

      This is the last time I will post in this thread as I believe people deserve an ending to a story.

      The technician came out on Saturday and installed my new mower deck. I was able to cut my entire grass for the first time since July. The technician, a mechanical engineer, laughed at the complete mower deck replacement stating that the problem lies in the large mower deck being engaged by the electric take-off with absolutely no slip. As I have explained many times to no avail, the belt is snapping off cleanly. There are no signs of belt wear other than the obvious, clean break. Another waste of time and money.

      - In no way did I ever have an intention of gaining a replacement tractor because I simply did not like my current one. I love this tractor but it has to be useful for me.

      - Sears' response has been nothing short of frustrating, maddening and quite honestly it makes me a little sad that a historically good company has fallen so low in their customer relations that I had to resort to social media to even get a response.

      - The store managers where I purchased the tractor should NOT be in the position that they are in. They are rude, condescending and flat out lie to a customer (me) in an effort to make me feel better about this situation. To tell me that my mower deck is not covered by the manufacturer's warranty or my extended service policy bought at time of tractor purchase is absolutely ludicrous. In calling Sears customer relations, they affirmed that the mower deck is covered if not damaged by use - which it has not been. The store managers told me they "compromised" with me in covering my mower deck due to the troubles that I've had. Come on.

      - Sears customer relations promised me a tractor replacement on two different occasions only to be overruled by aforementioned store managers. At this point, Sears has more money into repairing this tractor than it was purchased for. If you at Sears ever wonder why you're losing money to the point of being borderline bankrupt, this is one of many reasons.

      - Sears has no intention of compensation for the last half of summer lost as far as keeping my lawn clean and maintained.

      If anybody at Sears still cares and is reading this, please take this to heart; you're losing a solid customer with children who will now be shopping elsewhere. I've given 3 months of opportunity to rectify this situation and I kept getting shuffled around.

    4. In response to SHC-JulieK

      One final note: My mother, who has been a loyal customer for 33 years and has purchased over $8,000 worth of appliances in the last year from Sears has cut up her Sears card and mailed it back to the company due to this situation. So, not only are you losing me as a customer, you are losing another in addition to the word of mouth that this has brought up.

    5. In response to SHC-JulieK


      We're sorry you feel this way. We will make sure to forward your post to your case manager's attention.

      Thank you,
      David W.
      MySears Community Moderator