How to buy a used tractor


Big Brian has been driving tractors all his life and here are his top tips when looking for a used tractor to buy:

Wear & Tear – look inside the cab and at the tyres, the wear and tear should be consistent with the tractor hours.  Low hours should show little wear on pedals, carpets, mats, interior, etc.  Check the battery for low water levels, green deposits on poles or a moist layer of dirt on the top.  Has the tractor been treated rough?

Tyres – If the tread depth is worn down to half its original depth, the tractor will not transfer all of its power to the ground, watch for even wear.  If the manufacturer’s number is ground off the tyre may be a second.

Steering – move the steering wheel back and forth with some force, it should feel ‘right’.  Whilst driving, turn a corner to make sure the differential locks into place.

Leakage – look for leaks, streaks of oil on tyres, hubs, radiator, anii-freeze, defective shaft seals, hydraulics.  Oil in rad and antifreeze indicates a problem.

Damage – to cables, lights, windows, consoles.  Check for fire and flood damage.  Has there been a repaint job?  If any fire damage the cab, engine, rear differential my have been replaced.

Engine – inspect the O rings on the crankshaft.  A cold engine should pick up speed right away.  Black smoke billowing from a diesel on start up is okay, however if it doesn’t clear and is not black there is a problem.  Check engine’s ventilation by closing the end of the pipe with a piece of paper on your palm to collect any oil that blows out.

Take out the dipstick! – Oil indicates timely fills.  Dark black or burnt smell suggests oil was not changed at proper intervals.  A grey tinge or tiny water bubbles suggest water has mixed with the oil.  If the oil spills out the rings are probably bad and oil is in the oil pan (the engine needs an overhaul).

Swivel pins & hitches – check the swivel pin at the pivot point.  Look closely at the hitch hole, an oblong hole indicates high hours, or has the hitch been replaced?

Road test – always take it on a road test.


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