Buying a New or Used Tractor: What to Look For

| 10/5/2010 8:25:01 PM

Which tractor should I buy?

So you've decided to invest in a tractor. Good choice. Tractors are very versatile tools for homeowners and farmers alike, but which one should you buy? The choices are dizzying to say the least, and new tractor prices can rival the cost of a new car so the investment merits heavy consideration. If you choose wisely and follow wise maintenance practices your new tractor can provide you with a lifetime of rewarding use.

What about used tractors? Is a used tractor a good investment? When you look around at the many older models still in use today, I think the answer would have to be a resounding "YES." A good used tractor can still provide many years of service, but again, what should you buy? Is one brand really better than another? Should you buy a gas or diesel model? What should you check before purchasing any used tractor? I'll try to shed some light on a few of these questions.

As far as any particular brand of tractor is concerned, it's mostly a matter of personal or regional preference. In the South “Green” is as good as gold, but in Northern and Midwestern areas, you find more “Red” models. Around here, the majority of small, used tractors are Ford blue. That's not to say there aren't other models around, these just seem the most popular and more affordable in this particular area. Some remember when grandpa bought his first Ford 8n back in the 1950s and farmed a whole 640 acre section with it. Others remember hearing the ol’ “poppin’ John” Deere of the same era. Each make has its own peculiarities and different layout of controls and such, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference far more than anything else. If you have a local dealer for a specific brand, that might come into consideration as to the availability of parts and service, but if you're mechanically inclined, parts for most anything are available via the Internet, even for makes no longer in production. There are a few exceptions, for example the International 414 gasoline model. Certain engine parts for this tractor are no longer manufactured or available. It's a good tractor, and the diesel counterpart is still well supported, but if you strip a distributor drive gear, the entire tractor becomes a yard ornament. I know. I have one.

The diesel engine is superior to the gasoline model in power, torque and longevity. They're just plain built heavier to work harder. The flip side of that is if it breaks, it's expensive to repair, far more expensive than a gasoline model. Diesel shops around here charge $90 and up per hour, and that gets expensive quick. But if you're serious about farming, I would still recommend investing in a diesel. That's not to say that an old reliable gasoline model wouldn’t provide years of good service. In fact, if you live in a colder climate and intend to use your tractor in winter for feeding livestock, dragging firewood or even grading the snow off the drive, a gasoline model would be a good choice as diesels do not like extreme cold. Temperatures below freezing are likely to cause starting problems with a diesel left out in the cold, and much below 30 degrees Fahrenheit you will start having problems with the fuel gelling if you don't add fuel treatments prior. Diesel models can be used in colder climates, but should be parked inside if possible or at least under a shed, and/or electric engine block heaters should be utilized. And definitely treat the fuel in winter!

If you're interested in a particular tractor, try to get a hands on experience with it without advance warning, in other words, show up when it hasn't already been started that day. How an engine starts from stone cold tells you a lot about its condition.

4/7/2015 2:46:49 PM

Great article. The Ford 2000-5000 models would be good choices for used tractors. Also, make sure you know how to run and maintain the tractor! You can find manuals online, here

4/7/2015 2:46:42 PM

Great article. The Ford 2000-5000 models would be good choices for used tractors. Also, make sure you know how to run and maintain the tractor! You can find manuals online, here

3/6/2015 4:56:17 AM

If you are looking at buying a used tractor, you will find many different models of tractors for sale at auction here: Enjoy your visit on TradeMachines!

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