Buying a Used Farm Tractor: What to Look For - Pt. 2

3/2/2017 12:50:40 PM by Carissa Shaul

Last week we took a look at important areas to inspect when purchasing a used tractor. You can find that information here (insert link) if you missed it. This week we will continue to look at a few additional important areas to look at before making your next big purchase.

5. PTO (Power Take-Off) ShaftAnything that has a mechanical drive -€” grain carts, manure spreaders, augers, etc. -€” will require a functioning PTO shaft. First and foremost, ensure that the PTO has the proper specification for the attachments you will need to run, for example, 540, 720, 1000 or Big1000 RPM. It is better to buy a tractor that has more of what you need when it comes to horsepower, PTO power specification, etc. The end result will be better fuel economy in the field and the potential to handle any large jobs that could come up as your operation expands or changes.

Start up the tractor, turn on the PTO and check for a smooth rotating movement. Listen for any odd noises, such as a knocking sound, coming from the running output shaft. Keep in mind that repairs to the PTO can be costly as the tractor'€™s rear end, and usually the rear axle as well, needs to be removed for access.

6. Hydraulic Power

Look for leaks and poor seals when inspecting hydraulics, possible signs that damage to the outlets or hydraulic tank may exist. Consider what types of attachments you will be running when inspecting the hydraulic outlets and auxiliary/return lines. For example, most air drills now need a minimum of three hydraulic outlets and one auxiliary line with 38 GPM of hydraulic power, but some may need up to five hydraulic outlets and three auxiliary lines with 98 GPM of hydraulic power. Ensure the tractor has the proper number of outlets and lines for what you need to run now and a year from now.

7. Maintenance Log and Supporting Documentation

Sellers are encouraged to supply maintenance logs, inspection lists, work orders and other supporting documents. Make sure to ask at the auction site or private seller for these documents. They provide valuable insight into how often and what types repairs were performed.

If you would like to know for what specific farm applications the tractor was used, an auction site can sometimes, with the seller'€™s permission, provide you with the sellers contact information.

Use our farm tractor inspection tips as a general guideline and be sure to look for replacement parts at and you will be well on your way to a new reliable, used tractor.