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Tip of the Day

Tips for Buying a Used Tractor - Locating The Tractor
(3 May 2016)

Buying a used tractor may be the most economical and practical method of obtaining adequate power for the small or part-time farmer.

A tractor becomes "used" as soon as it is put into service and is subjected to wear and deterioration. Proper maintenance and timely repair can keep it in good operating condition for many years. On the other hand, a tractor subjected to abuse and neglect can soon become a poor risk. The condition of the tractor, then, becomes an important factor for the prospective buyer to look into when entering the used tractor market.

There is no way of being absolutely certain of the condition or dependability of a used tractor. One important factor is to attempt to determine why the unit is for sale. A used tractor is usually put on the market for one of two reasons: either it no longer has the dependability required by the owner, or it no longer fits into the pattern of operation required by the owner, even though it may be reasonably dependable. The degree to which the first reason is present signals caution. Genuinely good buys are more apt to occur when the tractor is being sold for the second reason.

There are five common sources of used tractors. Some offer a better opportunity for obtaining a reliable tractor than others, but no potential source should be overlooked. The principal sources are:

  • a local farm machinery dealer;
  • used machinery dealers;
  • a friend or neighbor;
  • a farm auction or dispersal sale; or
  • a commercial farm machinery auction.

    For the inexperienced buyer, dealing through a reputable local farm machinery dealer is undoubtedly the safest route. The dealer may have two or more units to choose from, will frequently have some knowledge of the history of the tractor, and will have the facilities for assisting in checking it out and for giving it any presale or postsale servicing or reconditioning that may be needed or agreed upon. They are also always there in the community to back up any guarantee or warranty given .

    Buying from used machinery dealers may or may not be a high-risk approach to tractor buying. If the tractor was obtained from a local farmer and its history is available, the inexperienced buyer can properly evaluate the unit. In some cases tractors handled by dealers of used equipment may be trade-ins wholesaled by full line dealers because of their age and condition. Again a good, thorough inspection of the tractor should be made. The experienced, knowledgeable buyer often find used machinery dealers to be a good source of reasonably priced tractors.

    Buying from a friend or neighbor is usually not a high-risk undertaking. In most cases the buyer will have some prior knowledge of, and some degree of confidence in, the integrity of the seller. Here again, much information relative to the history of the machine can be obtained from the seller.

    Good buys can sometimes be picked up at farm auctions or dispersal sales. Unfortunately, there is usually little opportunity to more than casually inspect the tractor before the auction, and sales are usually final and on an "as is" basis. If you are seriously considering bidding on a tractor advertised for a farm sale, plan to visit the sale site a day or two in advance and thoroughly inspect the tractor while there is less rush and confusion. This can greatly reduce the possibility of overlooking a potential problem.

    Buying at a commercial farm machinery auction is probably the most hazardous of all ways to buy. Commercial auctions are designed for highspeed, high-volume selling, and most of them are geared more specifically to the needs of dealers and wholesalers. It is a rather fast pace for the occasional buyer to step into.

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