Tips and Advice For Buying A Used Tractor
By Linda Williams
Photography by Mark Coffey
Sure, you can kick the tires, but if you're planning to buy a used tractor this spring, you'd better look a little harder and a lot closer.
"Always remember," says David Laughlin, of Laughlin Farm Equipment in Butler, Mo., "it's buyer beware and once you buy it, it's yours."
They don't come cheap. Used-tractor buyers trying to avoid paying for new machinery (which starts off in the neighborhood of new-car prices and goes steadily up) still can expect to pay thousands of dollars, depending on what they get.
Laughlin and his father, Jim, have been in the tractor and machinery rebuilding business for 10 years, so they're quite familiar with the toll that years of wear and tear can have on a tractor.
First, decide for what uses you want the tractor, and that will help you figure what size best fits your needs, David Laughlin advises. If you plan to use your tractor for hauling and general maintenance around your property, a smaller model would suffice, but if you need it for general farming - plowing, disking, mowing, etc. - then search for a larger model, he says.
When you find a tractor for sale, your first inclination might be to check the hour meter on the tachometer, which marks the hours and tenths of hours that the engine runs at an average RPM.
But, like the odometer on a used car (which registers miles driven), the hour meter can be changed, so don't put a lot of stock in that if you're unfamiliar with the owner, Laughlin says.