A strong compact utility market has many buyers looking on the used lots. Perhaps you’ve always looked at the used market first, or you just don’t think you’ll put the hours on a tractor to justify buying new, or maybe you are always in search of the great deal for that nice tractor with a few “gentle” hours. No matter what the reason, there are certainly great tractors sitting on the used equipment lot that can do the job.
But buying used equipment does require a bit more legwork to ensure what you are buying will meet your needs without becoming a never-ending shop headache.
“The first thing to understand when you are on the used equipment lot is that you are looking at used equipment,” says Matthew Carrigan, product marketing specialist, Kubota. “That sounds obvious, but it’s important to realize that this equipment has a history of use, and you need to find out as much as you can about the tractor.”
It starts with a visual inspection. First impressions here can give you a good idea of how the equipment has been operated and serviced. “Walk around the unit and assess how it has been used. Look at the body, the tires, inspect the hoses and belts, and if it has attachments and implements inspect those as well,” Carrigan says.
An obvious area to research is the number of hours on the tractor. “Try and find a tractor with low hours,” Carrigan says. “More hours also can mean more wear and tear on components and systems.” But hours alone might not tell the whole story. Carrigan adds low hours on a tractor that’s been pushed to the maximum can cause issues down the road. “A close visual inspection can provide some insight as to how the tractor was used,” he says.
Look at the tires to see how much life is left before replacement is needed. “Replacing tires can be expensive, so you want to ensure you know how much life is left on the tractor’s tires,” Carrigan says.
Closer inspection of the critical components can also provide a wealth of information. “Examine the engine,” Carrigan says. “Is the engine dirty, or is it clean? Are the belts, and hoses in good condition? He says not only can this help you determine if the tractor is in good working condition, “it can give you insight as to how it was cared for by the previous owner.”
Then there are the service records. “If the tractor has been regularly serviced by the dealership, they will have a detailed record that you can review,” Carrigan says. “Even if most of the service was done by the previous owner, look over those records to see if regular maintenance was performed.”
A good used compact utility tractor can provide years of reliable service and can be a great option for some buyers. It just takes a little bit of legwork.