The Complete Guide to Buying a Tractor
If you are looking to buy a tractor then you are in the right place. In this buyer's guide we will give you all the key information you will need to help you choose the best make, model and type of tractor to match your individual needs.
Buying a tractor can be a challenging and complicated business - especially if you've not done it before. There is a massive range of models and different manufacturers out there to choose from. Choice is good, of course, but when there's so much it can be difficult to see the wood from the trees. We will arm you with the nuggets of knowledge necessary to be able to narrow down your search to hone in on the particular types of tractor that are best suited to you.
So let's begin...
New or used?
Tractors can be very expensive and the price of brand new models from some manufacturers can be very, very expensive indeed. If you are completely new to the world of tractors then you will more than likely be looking at the used tractor market rather than the new market, but new models do have certain advantages.
Whilst the price might put people off, with a brand new model you are likely to see the very latest of technology and cutting edge engineering innovation. On top of that, you get the peace of mind of more comprehensive warranties. If you have the money and you really do need the highest specifications in a tractor, take a look at the wealth of new tractors that are available on the market.
Buying a used tractor will give you significant savings when compared to the prices of brand new models. It's also pertinent to remember that tractors are expected to last a long time and are built with this in mind. It's not uncommon for tractors that have been well-maintained to last for decades and to remain in full working order, so they are a fantastic investment.
The purpose of a tractor
The starting point when starting your search for a tractor to buy has to be you thinking about what you are going to use it for. Is it for domestic or light yard use? Is it for light farming and agricultural use? Is it forestry work or grounds care? Is it for heavy or commercial agriculture? Is it for industrial work, such as construction?
Thinking about how the tractor is going to be used and the nature of the activities you expect to complete with it is crucial. It will determine how powerful the tractor you buy needs to be and what features it needs to have - or attachments/implements you need to use with the tractor. All of these are very important considerations to make.
The tractor you buy needs to well-matched to the type of activity it will be engaged in. There is little point having a top-of-the-range, gadget laden super-beast of a tractor to transport your speedboat to the water's edge a few times a year!
Similarly, a tractor that isn't powerful enough to do the tasks you want it to do will struggle to cope and is much more likely to experience technical and mechanical problems as it is being continually pushed too hard.
Where to buy a tractor
Online is definitely the best place to look to buy any tractor. Online listings give you vast options to choose from and the basic information that seller's include in their listing is usually sufficient for you to decide whether or not you might be interested in a particular model. Online browsing also means you can take more time before settling on your final choice. Other key outlets to source a tractor from: local dealers and auctions, for example, tend to advertise online anyway.
It's likely that you will have a budget in mind of what you are prepared, or able, to pay for a tractor. The best bit advice is to remember that you shouldn't base your final buying decision purely on price.
Very low priced machines and deals that appear to be too good to be true are probably exactly that - too good to be true. Some tractors with very low prices will be ones that are of poor quality and ones that aren't particularly user-friendly or missing key features that you really need. A tractor that has been manufactured cheaply and to poor standards of production will not have the longevity of well-built machines and offer a very poor return on your investment.
What to look for when buying a tractor?
It is always best, if at all possible, to physically see the tractor you are considering buying before committing to a purchase. Obviously, this isn't always practical or possible, but if you can, look for the following:
Inspect the overall condition that the tractor is in. Wear and tear is natural and to be expected with a used tractor, but the amount of wear and tear that is visible should really tally with the age of the machine and it can also indicate how heavily it has been used. A good indicator is to look at the state of the pedals and see what amount of wear is visible on and around them.
Tyres are relatively easy to replace but it is still important to look at the age and tread depth. Tread that is worn down by around a half will result in it kicking and it will be not be able to transfer the full extent of the tractor's power to the ground. Factor in the cost of tyre replacements if it looks like they are needed, or negotiate on the price with the seller.
Fan belt and Fan bearings
Check over the fan belt and look for any signs of splitting or if it is looking worn. Have a look at the state of the fan bearings too.
Test out the steering wheel and move it with some force in all directions to see if it feels normal.
Look for signs of any leaks. If you can see any oil streaks on the tyres or hubs, it could be that the shaft seal of the tractor is defective. If you see any leaks, you need to inspect the hydraulics for leaks too.
There are 3 things that should raise the warning bell: a moist layer of dirt/debris on the top of the battery, any deposits of a green colour, and a low level of water. All of these are clear signs that there might be issues with the battery.
Look a state of the cables on the tractor. If they are damaged, this could well mean that a repair or replacement is necessary - but it's also a sign that the tractor has not been well-maintained and cared for.
The engine of a tractor is essentially its beating heart, so it needs to be checked over. Listen to how it sounds and whether it starts first time. Look at the amount of smoke that is emitting and check the ventilation around the engine
Frequent misuse of a tractor can cause damage of the pins of the hitch if the brake have been applied with trailer lifting, so have a look at how worn the pins appear to be.
The above checks are to help to give you a clearer idea of the overall condition of a tractor but you also need to think about any of features or equipment that might be needed for how you intend to use the tractor.
Examples of this could be the ergonomics of the can, power steering or whether the tractor has dual rear wheels. Anything that makes a tractor easier or more comfortable to use will usually mean additional costs. Again, it's about weighing up what you absolutely need, what you might want, and what you are prepared to pay to get those things.
You need to think about the machinery you would like your tractor to power. For example, a hydraulic loader will need to have dual hydraulic hook-ups and you'll also find that dual remote connections are necessary to use many other implements as well, so bear this in mind when choosing a tractor to buy.
Power take-off (commonly referred to as PTO) is crucial. 540RPM is adequate for most needs and is the most common PTO to be found on tractors. This enables the power to continue to run when the clutch is depressed. Similarly, live hydraulics allow the hydraulic functions to remain functioning when the clutch is down.
So, there you have it - everything you need to know to start your search to buy a tractor off in the right way. There is a lot of information here to take in, but it's this information that you should remember when looking at tractors for sale.
Follow the advice and tips given here and you'll seen be in possession of the perfect tractor!