Since many folks buy used equipment, I thought I would post a review of the 2012 D100 Lawn Tractor. It is similar in specs and price to the previous L100 series and the current 100E lawn tractor.
I purchased the tractor new in April 2012. At the time we has just purchased a cabin in the Ozark's, and needed to mow approx 1 acre on our 13 acre property. For those familiar with the Ozark's, the primary crop produced by our soil is rocks. At the time, our bank account was down to almost nothing due to the cabin and property purchase, so cost was a major factor. I opted for new since my previous experience with a used lawn tractor was less than stellar. I compared the JD to other brands, and liked the basic JD D100 with the manual transmission.
Year 1: No issues. Changed the oil at 10 hours.
Year 2: Annual service showed no issues. The battery was replaced mid-season. Bent one blade on a rock--replaced both.
Year 3: Annual service showed no issues. No brakes one day....that made life exciting. Figured out how to adjust the brakes. Replaced broken throttle lever. About $30 at the dealer, fairly easy to replace. Repaired two tires due to Black Locust tree thorns while "mowing" the deer plot.
Year 4: Annual service showed no issues. Deck starting to show some signs of wear and tear due to the rocks. Another brake adjustment.
Year 5: This year the tractor was used by my dad and my son who mowed for me while I was dealing with a medical issue. No services were done. My dad replaced the blades and a hinge on the front hood.
Year 6: Annual service showed no issues. Adjusted brake again. Removed deck for good cleaning. Replaced battery. I am still on the original belt and tires.
Over the course of its life, the D100 has mowed brush in the deer plot (prior to owning a rotary cutter), pulled a garden trailer loaded with saws and wood, and given the grandkids tides. It has seen summer and winter duty hauling firewood, mowed the culvert along the highway, and shot a 3" rock through our kitchen screen and window. It has hit countless other rocks, and way to many branches over 1" to count. It's not lived an easy life, and yet it is still going strong. That's why I bought a John Deere, and it has served us well these past six years.
The Briggs and Stratton 17.5 hp motor has served us well. It runs out of traction before it runs out of power.
Servicing the oil is very easy--a 2 minutes task.
The 8 cubic yard garden cart/trailer that came with the tractor has been very handy.
The brakes are poor...this has been an observation since new. The combo clutch/brake works, but is a compromise, IMO.
The battery cables are too short. Come on, John Deere--give us an extra inch or two.
The seat sensor does not always work...sometimes I have to sit down two or three times to get the engine to start. I'm tempted to override the switch.
The headlights are not effective. I guess they help others see you, but they don't really illuminate the lawn. Since I occasionally have to mow before sunrise, better lights would be nice.
Servicing: As noted, the oil changes are easy. Great job, John Deere. There are several places that need to be greased, which I am sure is overlooked by many owners, since some require a clean deck and knowing where to look.
My experience shows the 100-series lawn tractors provide a solid value. I am confident one used for a typical smooth lawn would last forever. I'll be happy with 10 years of rough service, so hopefully I can get another three or four years of the the tractor.