How to buy used tractors for sale – Expert tips and tricks


Looking for a reliable used tractor but don’t know where to start? Buying a used tractor is a smart investment for small farms, hobby farms, or landowners who need an affordable machine to take care of property maintenance. Important factors to consider are horsepower, transmission type, PTO HP, hydraulic capacity, hitch type, and whether you need a 2WD or 4WD model. Match the specifications to the work you plan to do. For example, a small hobby farm may only need a compact utility tractor in the 25-40 HP range, while larger farms need at least 40-100 HP tractors for field work and hauling. Research different tractor brands and models within your preferred HP range to get an idea of prices and options.

Check hours and conditions

Once you’ve identified some potentially used tractors for sale, dig into the details of each machine’s condition. Low-hour tractors under 2,000 hours generally command higher prices but have more working life remaining. Inspect paint, metal, and fluids for signs of wear a tractor in rough shape likely indicates neglect or hidden issues. Well-maintained machines should not show excessive rust, leaks, missing parts, or other damage. If possible, get a sense of how the tractor was used. One owned by a small hobby farm will likely be in better shape than a tractor used for heavy commercial activities.

Test drive and inspect functions

If you are interested in buying a used tractor, schedule a test drive before making a purchase. Check that all controls, implements and PTO/hydraulics work properly. Listen for unusual engine or transmission noises. Monitor temperature and pressure gauges to ensure everything is in the normal range during operation. Watch for smoke, vibrations, or hesitation as you put the machine under load. Utilize the test drive as an opportunity to experience the maneuverability, steering, braking, and other handling characteristics firsthand. Taking the tractor for a test drive minimizes the chance of buying a lemon.

Compare prices of similar listings

Pricing for used tractors can vary widely depending on age, brand, condition, features, and local market. Before making an offer, browse tractor classifieds and auction sites to compare prices of similar models and specs. Most used tractors depreciate significantly in the first 5-10 years but remain useful for decades if properly maintained. Models with desirable features like loaders, belly mowers, or brush hogs can command higher prices. Use price comparisons from recent sales to negotiate a fair deal.

Consider a dealer over private sellers 

Although you may save money buying from a private party, there are benefits to purchasing through a reputable used tractor dealer. Dealers typically offer some type of warranty and allow you to test drive before buying. They also take care of title transfer paperwork that private sellers may not. Dealers have servicing facilities to address any issues and stock parts for common repairs. Purchasing from a private seller is riskier since they cannot guarantee condition or provide warranties.

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