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Top 10 Things to Consider Before Buying Used Tractors

Posted by Evergreen Tractor on 5 June 2023

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The used tractor market is better than it's ever been, thanks to improving build quality, better parts availability, and more. Of course, not all used tractors for sale are of a quality that you want working for you, so it's important to make an informed decision and to avoid common pitfalls of preowned tractor buying.

In order to help you make the best decision possible, Evergreen Tractor has put together this list of our top 10 things to consider before buying a used tractor. If you have any questions as you're shopping for a new tractor, you can always give us a call. We're happy to answer any questions you might have!

Identify your needs & determine a budget

Assess your specific farming requirements and the tasks you need a tractor to perform. Think about your horsepower needs, size, and the attachments you'll need for the applications you'll use the tractor for.

Evergreen Tractor carries all the best Kubota, Stihl, and other farming equipment for sale near Covington, so whatever you're looking for, you can probably find it here. We carry agricultural tractors, utility tractors, compact tractors, specialty tractors, and lawnmowers for every need.

Depending on your needs, you'll have to determine a good budget to spend on a used tractor. This is where doing your research and shopping around will come in handy. You can also call us for an idea of what you can expect to pay for the tractor you need.

Visually Inspect the tractor's condition

When you visit the seller to take a look at the tractor, take a walk around the vehicle, looking for rust, missing paint, or dents. While some wear and tear is to be expected, extreme denting or scratches can mean it was in an accident or neglected, which can point to mechanical issues as well.

You should also check the tires for excessive or uneven wear, as well as the depth of their tread, damage, or repair signs like patches or plugs. While bad tires aren't necessarily a deal-breaker, replacements are pretty expensive—so replacing them right after you've bought a tractor might not be what you want to do.

Check safety features

As with any heavy machinery, you need to ensure that your next tractor is as safe as possible before using it. The following features are absolutely necessary:

  • Check the ROPS – rollover protection structure. Almost all new tractors have these installed, but some older ones don't. If you're looking at a newer model that's had the ROPS removed, ask if the owner still has it.

  • If the tractor has a roll bar, it should also have a seat belt, which you should wear every time you're on the machine. If there isn't a roll bar, however, there should not be a seat belt.

  • You should also find safety switches in different locations on the tractor. Check the clutch and brake pedals, transmission, and PTO. Safety switches won't allow the engine to start unless the transmission and PTO aren't in gear and the brakes are engaged.

Check Maintenance and repair history

The seller should have a record of the tractor's maintenance and repair history—if they don't, that's a red flag as to the tractor's quality. Owners with documentation of their tractor's repair history should provide it so that you can make sure it's been well-taken-care of.

Check the water pump

Make sure the engine is not running when you perform this check! Stick your hand in the water pump and try to wiggle the fan blades, checking if the fan is stable. Check the belts for tightness, as well—a broken water pump can easily set you back a day or two if you're out in the field when it happens.

Check the fluids

With the engine off and cool, pop the hood to check all the tractor's fluids.

  • Make sure there's no oil floating in the radiator and that the coolant levels are good.

  • Check the engine oil level and make sure there's no water on the dipstick.

  • Check levels of transmission/hydraulic oil. The hydraulic oil should be almost clear, so you'll probably have to run your finger on the dipstick to feel the level.

  • Screw off the cap on the power steering pump to check its fluid level as well.

Check the exhaust

Lock the brakes, take the clutch out of gear, and start the tractor. After letting the engine idle a few minutes, look at the smoke out of the exhaust. The smoke's color can indicate engine problems:

  • White smoke can indicate something wrong with the head gasket or water in the fuel.

  • Blue smoke means the tractor's burning oil, which could be costly to fix.

  • Black smoke is usually a cheap, easy fix—likely a clogged air filter or something similar.

Ideally, the tractor's exhaust should be clear and smoke-free. If the tractor belches smoke long after you first start it, you could have bigger problems.

Look at the hour meter

On the dash, the tractor will have an hour meter that indicates the length of time it's been in use. If the hour meter is still working, you should see it ticking away while the motor's running. If you don't see that, there's no way of knowing just how used the tractor is, and you could be buying a lemon.

Verify legal documentation

If everything looks good, make sure the owner is who they say they are by inspecting their tractor's title. As long as that looks fine, you should be good to go.

Take it for a test drive

If possible take the tractor for a test drive. That'll give you a lot of information about how it handles and more, just like an automotive test drive will.

When you're in the market for a used tractor in Louisiana, Evergreen Tractor has you covered! We have a wide selection of used tractors for sale, so we're sure to have what you're looking for. Plus, our deals can't be beat! Come see us today.