7 Tips & What to Look For When Buying a Used Tractor

7 Tips & What to Look For When Buying a Used Tractor
7 Tips & What to Look For When Buying a Used Tractor
Author: Small Business Expert | December 11, 2020 | Topic: Used Equipment

7 Tips and What To Look for When Buying a Used Tractor

Buying a used tractor is one of the best financial decisions you can make for your company. Used tractors can provide plenty of productivity for many years and help you accomplish tough jobs quickly. Not all used tractors are the same, so it's crucial you go into the buying process fully informed.

Our used tractor buying guide can help you better understand the advantages of used tractors and find a machine that fits your company's goals. Additionally, this guide can help you learn more about how to properly inspect a used tractor for possible damages and other warning signs.

Benefits of Buying a Used Tractor

There are many advantages to buying used tractors. When you invest in used tractors, you can get them at lower costs and have a wide inventory to choose from. A reputable seller can also offer used tractors that perform well and contain features that improve efficiency. Check out the following four advantages of buying a used tractor:


1. Excellent Pricing

One of the top advantages of purchasing a used tractor is that it comes at a reduced cost. Tractors can be big investments, so the affordability of used tractors makes them attractive for companies looking for a deal. Many used tractors can handle all the tasks you need them for without breaking the bank.


2. Flexible Options

A great benefit of purchasing a used tractor is the many options you're able to choose from. You can often find used tractors from various years and models. Instead of paying for a tractor with extra features or power you won't use, you can purchase equipment at a reduced cost that fits your work requirements.


3. Exceptional Availability

If you need a tractor as soon as possible, used tractors can be an ideal option. They usually don't have to go through registration, loan approvals and availability holdups. When purchasing a used tractor, you can often take it off the lot the day you buy it. Companies needing tractors at a moment's notice may appreciate the simple process of purchasing used machinery.


4. High-Quality Equipment

Used tractors that have been well maintained can give you the performance you require to complete jobs with greater speed and accuracy. In addition to top-tier performance, used tractors can also feature useful technology that comes at a lower price than the latest tech.

Using maintenance records and inspections, you can verify the used tractors have been kept in good condition. Used tractors that have been well taken care of over their time in operation are usually great options for long-term quality. You can expect used tractors from reputable dealers to hold up long after you've initially purchased them.

What to Consider When Buying a Used Tractor

As you look to purchase a used tractor, you should consider a few factors to ensure you get a tractor that fulfills your company's requirements. Find out more about what to look for when buying a used tractor with the questions below:

What to Consider When Buying a Used Tractor


1. What Type of Job Will You Use It For?

One of the first factors you may want to consider when purchasing a tractor is determining the type of work you're going to use it for. You may need it for tilling, snow removal, haying, grading, field mowing or material moving. You may likely require it for farming and agriculture applications, so the tractor you purchase should be able to handle your toughest jobs.

By knowing the types of work you'll need the tractor for, you can ensure you don't purchase a tractor that doesn't have the performance to handle crucial tasks. You also can avoid overpaying for a tractor with more power than what you'll need.


2. What Size of Tractor Do You Need?

One of the things to look for when buying a used tractor is the size. Your tractor's size will play into how efficiently it can complete tasks and the power it can offer. If you're planning to use the tractor on large work sites or fields, a bigger tractor may be better suited for your needs. For those with smaller areas or work sites who need a tractor to fit in tighter spaces or take sharp turns, a more compact tractor could be the better choice. The size of your tractor will also play into how and where you can store it when it is not in use.


3. What Attachments or Accessories Do You Require?

Tractors can come with a variety of accessories and attachments. You may need a tractor that can accomplish more than its base functions, so it's crucial you determine which attachments will be needed for your applications. Do your research on the attachments and accessories compatible with a tractor before you make a purchase.


4. Who Owned the Tractor Previously?

Before you purchase a used tractor, it's a good idea to know its history. Part of that history should take into account who previously used it and what they used it for. This information can alert you to a tractor with heavy workloads or extensive repairs in its history, which could be warning signs that you'll want to look for a different option.

7 Inspection Tips for Used Farm Tractors

There are a few used tractor inspection tips that can help you find a tractor in good condition. By knowing what to look for when buying a used tractor, you can ensure the tractor's main components are working correctly and are likely to last a long time before needing repairs. Below you can find the main things to check before buying a used tractor:


1. Appearance of Body and Tires

One of the first things you should inspect on a tractor is its overall appearance. If it looks beaten up and nearing its end of use, it may have been poorly handled and may be close to the end of its life span. Alternatively, if it looks like it's been taken care of and well maintained, it probably has been.

Tires can be especially expensive to replace, so cracks or bulges are major warning signs. You can also check the tread depth of the tires to see how worn they are before you make a purchase. After measuring the tread depth, cross-reference the measurements with the tire manufacturer's site to compare the tread depth of brand new tires and the depth of the used tractor's tires. Comparing the tire tread depth can help you know how much longer the tractor's tires will last before needing a replacement.


2. Engine Compartment

As far as tips for buying a used tractor go, ensuring the engine is in good condition is one of the most important recommendations. To check the engine, lift the tractor's hood and start the tractor. While it's running, see if there any leaks from the hoses, hydraulics or engine. Also, inspect the engine for cracked or worn fuel, coolant or hydraulic lines. You can check the engine plate to ensure the engine meets your area's emission standards and has the amount of horsepower you require.

Next, hold a mechanic's stethoscope to the engine block and listen for sounds like scratching or knocking from the engine cylinders. With the tractor shut down, take the air filter off and look at it. If the air filter has been changed regularly according to the manufacturer's recommendations, it shouldn't appear dirty.


3. Articulation Point

The articulation point of the tractor is key to the machine functioning properly. Start by performing a visual inspection. Look to see if the articulation point has been properly greased, and check if there are any metal shards. These shards are an indicator the tractor hasn't been maintained properly.

In addition to your visual inspection, you should also conduct an operational inspection. To begin this inspection, start the tractor and begin to drive it forward and backward. While driving the tractor, listen for a knock, which could be a sign there's an issue with a transmission slip.

After moving the tractor back and forth, turn the tractor left and right, feeling for any wandering or looseness in the steering wheel. If you feel any looseness or wandering, the tractor's primary pin could've been bent or otherwise damaged. Tight or hard steering could mean the pins require some grease or the tractor's hydraulic cylinders may not be functioning correctly.


4. Power Take-Off Shaft

To check the power take-off (PTO) shaft, run the tractor and turn the PTO. While turning, make sure there's a smooth rotating movement and there are no strange noises coming from the running output shaft. If you hear any knocking or the rotating movement isn't smooth, it could be a sign the PTO shaft is damaged, with potential repairs being quite costly.


5. Hydraulic System

Checking the hydraulic system is another major piece of the inspection process. If you see loose seals or leaks in the system, the hydraulic tank or the outlets could be damaged. If you plan to use attachments with your tractor, check that there are enough auxiliary lines and hydraulic outlets with the appropriate power to handle all the attachments you want to use.


6. Cab

The cab is another good place to inspect for proper functioning and signs a tractor has been taken care of well. A muddy and dirty interior is a warning sign the cab hasn't been properly maintained. For cabs with a guidance system, inspect the receiver, electronic components and displays to ensure they're in good condition.

While in the cab, you can also see how many hours the tractor has been in operation. High hours of operation could be a sign the tractor is going to need maintenance sooner. However, a tractor with higher hours that's been taken care of properly can still be a smart investment.


7. Maintenance Log and Other Documentation

Any used farm tractor inspection tips should include the recommendation to check the tractor's documentation. When you go through the tractor's work orders, inspection lists and maintenance logs, you can get a clear picture of how the tractor was used and the types of repairs that were performed on it.

Why Buy a Used Tractor From Cat Used?

One of the main things to look for when buying a used farm tractor is that it is coming from a trusted dealer and brand. As you look for a reliable used tractor, Cat Used can be your go-to destination. Our Cat® dealers' inventory, comprehensive dealer service and flexible financing options make us the trusted supplier for clients around the world. Learn more about the many advantages of buying from Cat Used:

Why Buy a Used Tractor from Cat Used?


  • Long-lasting machinery: The tractors available on Cat Used are built with high-quality materials and expertise. Accordingly, many clients trust our equipment to last for a long time and use these machines for years to accomplish even the hardest jobs. When you buy a properly-cared-for used tractor, you can put your trust in it to show up daily and provide the power and performance you need.
  • Vast inventory: Our equipment has been serving businesses and individuals for generations. As a result, there are tons of machines on the market today. Additionally, you can find tractors designed for a variety of jobs, making it easy for you to find the tractor that meets your requirements. Our Cat dealer network can connect you with the equipment you need to reach your goals.
  • High value: If you're looking for equipment that's going to stay valuable for a long time, consider looking through the Cat Used inventory. Our used tractors feature long-lasting parts that allow them to keep their value longer. This allows companies to sell their used tractors and recoup a part of their investment when they're ready to upgrade. Tractors from our Cat dealers also have a higher resale value since many of them have a documented service record, Cat parts and meticulous dealer maintenance.
  • Flexible financing: Your Cat dealer is equipped to serve companies no matter their size or budget. Their flexible financing options allow you to find equipment at a price fitting your company's financial goals.
  • Dealer support: Our Cat dealer support is another offering many of our clients appreciate and rely on. This support system can help you determine the best tractor for your needs and budget, as well as give you information on how to use your equipment effectively. After your purchase, Cat dealer support doesn't stop. Your Cat dealer will be available to help you find replacement parts, provide tips and answer questions you have about operating your tractor.
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Ready to Buy a Used Tractor? Turn to Cat Used for All Your Tractor Needs

With all the advantages Cat Used provides, you can trust us for all your tractor needs. Browse our inventory of used tractors online to find a dependable piece of equipment for your company. If you have any questions or want to inquire about a specific model, find and contact your local Cat dealer to learn more. If a piece of equipment isn't available, you can sign up for email alerts that'll let you know as soon as the tractor is available.

Ready to Buy a Used Tractor? Turn to Cat Used for All Your Tractor Needs

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Ready to Buy a Used Tractor? Turn to Cat Used for All Your Tractor Needs
Ready to Buy a Used Tractor? Turn to Cat Used for All Your Tractor Needs