Follow These 6 Tips When Buying Used Farm Equipment

Buying used farm equipment can not only help your bottom line, but you can often find a high quality, top-of-the line used piece of equipment that is far better than the new base model you would get for the same price. That doesn't mean you don't need to be careful throughout the process. Follow these guidelines to make sure you're getting the best quality and price when you buy used farm equipment.


1. Examine The Overall Appearance

The first thing you should always do when you're buying from ads or auctions are to examine the piece of equipment you want. Look for things like chipped paint, damaged hoses, leaks, bent or missing components. Is the piece of equipment sitting level? Does it look well maintained or weathered? These will be the first things you'll notice if the equipment you're interested in is poor shape. 


2. Inspect Tires Or Tracks

Whether your piece of equipment has tires or tracks, check the size, depth and condition of the tread. Make sure there isn't uneven wear or cracks in the rubber or links. This is especially important if you've traveled some distance to get to the auction. It's costly enough to have to replace tires or tracks with a technician you know and trust. It's much harder when you're in an unfamiliar place.

3. Inspect The Undercarriage

The equipment you're thinking of buying may look good outwardly, but you also need to look under it to assess any fluid or oil leaks. Make note of the condition of the undercarriage. Be realistic, it will, of course be more worn than other parts. Especially if it's a moving vehicle, the undercarriage will come in contact with more dirt and vegetation. But be aware of holes, cracks and signs of repair that aren't noted by the seller. 


Expert Tip: Bring a flashlight so you can see the undercarriage more clearly.


4. Make Sure The Specs Match

You may be looking at a superior piece of equipment, but you need to make sure the specification match in two different areas: Do they match what was advertised? Do they match what your farm needs? After a thorough inspection, the equipment you're thinking of buying may seem like a great deal, but you need to look at the advertisement again to make sure the real thing matches what the owners describes. There may be an honest explanation if they don't match, but it's always good to check and ask. You may discover that the owner left something out of the advertisement for a reason. 

You also need to be sure that this is something your farm needs. It may be a spectacular deal, but buying it won't pay off unless you can put the equipment to good use. Make sure the equipment you're looking at is right for your terrain and acreage. 


5. Compare Serial Numbers

Once you've made sure the specs match the advertisement, you also need to make sure the serial number matches the actual piece of equipment you see before you buy it. Looking up the serial number will tell you the make, model and year of the equipment you're looking to buy. So, if you're looking at a disc drill and the serial number is for a bale processor, you know there's something wrong. Use the same caution if the type and make is correct, but the model and year are wrong. These signs of tampering that should definitely be a red flag to those interested.


6. Always Look At The Supporting Documentation And Maintenance Log 

Always ask the owners of the farm equipment to show you inspection lists, maintenance logs, work orders, repair orders or any other supporting documents that can illustrate the history of the piece of farm equipment you're looking at. 


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