Whether you are adding a tractor to your fleet or replacing equipment with something more reliable, it’s a great idea to look at secondhand tractors. They are often more cost-effective than buying new. No matter if a tractor is new or used, you want to be sure the purchase you are making is a solid investment. Add these five tips to your checklist when reviewing your used tractor purchase.

  1. Look for Certified Pre-Owned

    You may have thought this term was reserved for used car purchases, but many implements offer this designation as well. A certified pre-owned tractor has been thoroughly inspected, and the dealership is willing to certify that all parts are in working order. Dealerships may be able to offer a warranty or include a service guarantee with your purchase. These tractors are typically newer with fewer working hours under their belt, and could be a solid option for your ag operation.

  2. Look Into Hours Used

    When shopping for a secondhand tractor, check out the hours on the tractor. Was it used every day, just during harvest or somewhere in between? The fewer hours it has been used, the more mileage you are likely to get out of it going forward.

  3. Review Maintenance History

    Check the maintenance logs for each tractor. Was it regularly maintained, or is the maintenance history spotty? Take a serious look at the outside — is there visible rust or a touch-up paint job used to cover recent repairs? Are there leaks underneath, indicating cracks or dried seals? Look for signs that maintenance has been neglected, which could be an indication of larger problems.

    In addition to what you can see on a visual inspection, talk to the seller about minor and major repairs. Ask for photos that document repairs. Has the tractor had a history of downtime, or has it been pretty reliable? These factors don’t automatically spell disaster, but can alert you potential issues worth investigating.

  4. Get to Know the Seller

    Whether you are purchasing from a private seller, dealership, auction house or other source, ask around. Look for online reviews and review the seller’s history. Most dealerships and auction houses will have online reviews and plenty of word-of-mouth about their business. Private sellers can be a bit trickier to nail down, so talk to people if you aren’t personally familiar with the seller.

    No matter who you purchase a used tractor from, don’t be afraid to ask specific questions about the maintenance history, how the tractor has been used, and how much downtime you could expect. Has the tractor been examined by a dealership? Is there an existing warranty in place? If there is still a warranty, ask for the paperwork with the transfer of ownership.

  5. After the Sale

  6. Finding the right tractor to add to your fleet is only half the battle. You need to continue ongoing maintenance in order to protect your investment. A small effort on your part can make a big difference in the long run. Consider walking around your tractor every day, looking for cracks or leaks that could lead to larger issues. Check (and top off) fluids, grease crucial components, and regularly check the filters. Maintain a tractor maintenance logbook so that you can document major and minor repairs.

When you add a used tractor to your fleet, don’t forget to add coverage on your policy. Did you know that Farm Bureau offers replacement cost coverage and equipment breakdown coverage for your farm machinery? Your local Farm Bureau agent will be able to answer any questions and ensure you have the coverage you need to keep your equipment running and help you reduce your overall downtime.