Categories Buying & Selling

Used Tractors – How To Inspect Them Before Buying?

Used tractors is the best choice for farmers and agriculture workers. However, we need to thoroughly inspect any used tractor prior to buying to help avoid inheriting someone else’s problems.

Engine and drivetrain components

The engine and drivetrain are the used tractor’s most complex and expensive components. When inspecting a used tractors for sale, carefully check the engine for leaks, strange noises, smoke, and other issues which could signal future repairs. Specifically, examine the following:

  • Oil leaks- Look underneath and around the engine for leaks. Small leaks may be cheap to repair but pervasive leaks indicate bigger issues.
  • Smoke- Have the owner start up the tractor. Blue/black smoke indicates worn piston rings or valves. White smoke points to engine overheating problems.
  • Strange noises- Unusual clanking, grinding or squeaking noises are red flags something is failing or out of adjustment in the engine or drivetrain.
  • Hoses and belts- Inspect all hoses and belts for cracks, frays or other damage. Replacements are inexpensive but failure of these components while operating could severely damage the tractor.
  • Fluid levels- Check oil, coolant, brake fluid and other fluid levels. Larger issues arise when there is low levels or contamination signs.

Hydraulic components 

Carefully inspect the hydraulic pump, valves, cylinders, lines and other components for signs of leakage, damage or abnormal wear as repair costs here can also quickly escalate. Operate lift arms and attachments to check for jerky or uneven movement and listen for strange hydraulic noises.


Ensure all lights, signals, monitors and electrical components function properly. Inspect if the battery is corroded or has cracks. Use a diagnostic scanner if possible, to check for engine codes signalling problems. Faulty electronics is challenging to diagnose and fix.

Tires and chassis

Inspect tires for adequate tread depth and even wear. Uneven tire wear indicates suspension alignment issues. Look if the tire has cracks, bulges, punctures and other tire damage. Check wheels/rims for dents or cracks. Under the tractor, look for collision damage, twisted components or broken welds signalling a prior rollover or impact accident.

Cab and interior

Ensure all controls, buttons and switches function properly. Test power accessories like mirrors, windows and HVAC. Check seats for tears and that all adjustment mechanisms work. Examine the interior for musty odors signalling water leaks. Review any included tractor records, manuals or maintenance history.

Test drive

Only buy a used tractor after thoroughly test driving it first. Pay attention to engine noises or vibrations felt inside the cab. Ensure brakes function evenly without pulling left or right. Verify transmission shifts smoothly both up and down through all gears at different speeds. Make certain 4-wheel drive engages properly. Lifting arms should smoothly raise attachments to full height. Carefully evaluate automated steering if equipped.

Following detailed inspection and test drive guidance when evaluating used tractors helps buyers avoid expensive inherited problems down the road. Let a trusted mechanic examine any tractor you’re seriously considering before purchasing if possible. Take time making any major investment in used equipment.