Guide to trac­tor buy­ing

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - INSIDE ABOUT YOUR RURAL WEEKLY - Fiona My­ers news@ru­ral­

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.


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.

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