Guide to tractor buying
SECOND-HAND is not always second best.
Running farm equipment and machines on a small block is part of the fun of owning some land.
But spending a large amount of money on something that sits in the shed most of the time doesn’t always make sense. Buying second-hand machinery – at a lower capital outlay – can be a good option.
Clearing sales are often a great place to secure additional machinery. But sometimes the only way to assess whether this machinery works or not is to hear it running on auction day.
So, it’s best to do your homework on the vendor. Try to find out if they have a reputation for keeping gear in good condition. If you’re considering a tractor, find out if it has been serviced by a local dealer.
Dealers will often be able to tell you how much work has been done on a machine and the kinds of things that could go wrong given its age.
Plus, know the value of the item you are bidding on.
Many of us have bid close to new value for something at a clearing sale, caught up in the fun atmosphere of an auction.
The internet is a valuable place to source used farm machinery without the hassle of driving to a clearing sale.
There are many websites dedicated to advertising farm machinery for sale, with listings from registered dealers as well as private farmers who are selling excess gear.
There is clearly room to negotiate on price with both dealers and private sellers.
Shiny new tractors and spray units are usually in a dealer’s front yard, but down the back there could be older models that have been traded in. Some of these may be sold “as is” – without repairs – and the dealer should be able to tell you what condition they are in and how much work is needed to bring them up to scratch.
Some dealers also offer warranties or customer protection plans, but check the fine print, as warranties may only last for 30 days.
If buying a reasonably modern second-hand tractor, some companies may allow you to transfer an existing warranty to the new owner.
Ask to be sure, as it is not always the case.
However well looked-after a piece of machinery is, there is often a hitch – and a big one can be access to spare parts.
Before you buy, definitely check whether it is possible to get replacement parts for a piece of machinery.
ON YOUR GUARD
Be aware that workplace health and safety rules have changed over the past few years. No longer is it considered safe to have an exposed power take off on a tractor, or a grain auger that does not have a guard around the drive belt and auger itself. Basically, anything that turns needs to be guarded. Though you may be aware of the dangers, accidents happen.
If you don’t have the expertise to know whether a tractor or spray unit is a good one, ask someone for help.
Consider offering to pay for advice from someone with expert knowledge, such as one of the mechanics from a local tractor dealership.
One final warning: while general consumer guarantees do exist to protect buyers, they may not apply to farm machinery. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the “rights to a repair, replacement, refund, cancellation or compensation do not apply to items worth more than $40,000 purely for business use, such as machinery or farming equipment”.
Many pieces of farm machinery, including tractors, cost more than this, so know that you may not be covered if you buy something that does not do what you believe it should.
HANDY TIPS: Similar to the used-car market, watch out for lemons when buying tractors, spray units, motorbikes or virtually any type of equipment.