Buying a Used Tractor? Be Sure to Know Your Stuff, First
1) What will you use the tractor for?It's an obvious question, but think about the work you're currently doing, and the work you will (or may) be doing in the future. In doing so, you'll help yourself in narrowing down your choices of used tractors by make or model. It's pointless to consider a construction tractor with a brush hog attachment if you're looking to till and seed. Why bother buying a used tractor that includes a snow plow, if you'll never use it? Save yourself money, space and shipping charges by buying only what you need, for your next used tractor.
2) Is more power "better?"You'll save money by choosing the lower torque models, but will you be sacrificing labor and long term investment? That's right: your used tractor is much more than a tool, it's an investment. It's a short term cost that provides long term results and revenue. So, if you're working with heavy clay or hilly terrain, going for the tractor with that higher-end engine and torque output might be the best bet. Remember, the attachments you use will require their own amount of power, too. Your two plow might take 30 horespower, whereas a two-plow might take 75. Equipment that works well with round balers will not necessarily work at the same level with square balers.
Using the wrong tool for the wrong application always results in diaster, and you won't want to be replacing tractor parts or tires on a regular basis from excessive wear and tear! Note that all tractor makes and models have their own capabilities in terms of the attachments they use.
3) Attachments and your used tractorAlways consider which attachments you'll be needing after buying your used tractor. Looking for a hydraulic loader? Seek out tractors that have dual hyrdaulic connections. These tractors' hookups require hydraulic parts, natrually.
4) When "antique" doesn't cut itAntique tractors are a charming addition to any home or farm, but they certainly are not the choice of any working agricultural professional. Be sure that the used tractor you're scoping has a power take-off (PTO). The PTO is a splined driveshaft that provides power to tractor attachments, including but not limited to post hole diggers and other rear attachments. Many older tractors do not include a power take-off, specifically mid-century or older tractors. Today, common PTOs operate at about 1,000 RPM, and are also commonly seen at 540 RPM.
Everything is harder without a power take-off. Without one, your attachments will cease to operate if the clutch is pulled in. This is the benefit of the "live PTO," which ran, regardless of the clutch.
5) You'll need parts - make sure you can find 'em!Used tractor age, make & model are all important considerations for the prospective tractor buyer. Naturally, they all play a part in the availability of tractor parts that may be needed for future maintenance. It's best to stay away from those lesser-known brands, typically foreign brands that have been discontinued or are considered rare. Their parts will typically require hefty shipping expenses, and may be rather difficult to locate. This is why the top name brand tractors, including John Deere, Case, Farmall and Yanmar have been fan favorites for many decades: it's easy to find parts. Remember, nothing is worse than a tractor sitting idly while you're waiting for parts to arrive!
ConclusionThinking ahead is key when you're making a major purchase, whether it be a used car...or a used tractor! Know what you're getting into. Know the differences between makes and models, and the availability of their replacement parts.
Know your attachments, what's available, and what's compatible. When shopping for used tractors for sale, select the one most compatible with your daily routine, and your terrain. All of these tips are a step in the right direction toward the longevity of your 'new' used tractor!