My advice on buying tractors is If you are looking for used farm tractors for sale the biggest selection here in Ireland would probably be done deal which has been the number one sales website here for some time now. There are plenty other options too especially if you are willing to travel a bit further afield. While there are also used farm tractors for sale here on websites like adverts.ie farmandplant.ie Facebook groups for tractor sales etc. there is also the option of importing a tractor .
Websites like autotrader.co.uk have tractors from all over northern Ireland and the UK a lot of which are sold by traders over there. A garage or trader might offer some guarantee but buying through a private sale is usually a case of sold as seen giving the buyer very little in the way of a safety net if there are any problems with the tractor afterwards.
A local tractor dealer will almost always stand over what they sell and the fact that they are local means you don’t have to travel too far when you need them. You might have to pay a bit extra for this service depending on where you are living. A lot of tractors are imported into southern Ireland every year mainly because people believe that you can get a clean tractor from the uk at a better price.
A lot of tractors are bought and sold privately through online ads among farmers for much the same reasons. Funnily enough unlike cars tractor dealers don’t often have a price displayed on their ads having POA or (price on application) instead. Another thing tractor value is not based on year of manufacture like cars either but more on the condition that the tractor is in and therefore can vary widely even in the same year make and model.
What to watch out for
If you are going to buy a tractor through a private sale it might be a good idea to bring someone who knows a bit about them if you are not sure yourself. Like rattle noise from the engine and other things to watch out for like making sure there is clear smoke from the exhaust white blue or black smoke are a sign of problems listen for any tapping noise coming from the engine that might indicate wear,r remove the radiator cap and look inside. White deposits could indicate a problem with the cooling system.
check that there are no oil leaks not blowing out excessive oil out when you pull the dipstick, breaks working OK and not making any noise when you press them when going down a hill, all gears working OK in all ranges. Check that the PTO is engaging and lift arms are working as they should. Ask about genuine hours on the tractor and what work has been done to it and what it has been used for.
Any problem within the internal workings of a tractor can quickly wipe out any savings that you may have hoped to have made and even something as simple as a pair of tyres can run into a few thousand euros depending on the make and model that you are buying.
Inside the cab check how tidy it is being kept are lights and indicators wipers all working, When started are lights or buzzers staying on in the dash, how many hours is the clock reading. Does the tractor have air conditioning and if so is it working properly
Air conditioning might seem like a superficial thing but its not. Anyone who has worked on a modern tractor with a lot of glass on a hot day will understand what I mean on this one. Older tractor without air conditioning didn’t have as much glass and seemed to have windows, doors and a sunroof that could open in a way to divert air into the cab to give some relief to the driver in very warm days.
Newer models on the other hand seem to have large fixed front windows doors with no air vents and enough glass to slowly bake you inside of the cab. If you are driving a tractor like this all day I feel your pain and all I can suggest is buy a tractor with air conditioning next time or even a cheap 12v fan like the one below that you can stick on the window near some opening to blow more air into and around the cab.
(click on image for price)
Do some research
There are also scams online so if something seems too good to be true it probably is, don’t ever wire or transfer money to someone without doing your homework first. Call to see the tractor and test drive it or if you don’t take the time to do that at least make sure that it is a legitimate company that you are buying from.
Do a search online of what they are like to deal with do they deliver to your area and try to find reviews from people who have brought from them in the past. Some are reputable tractor dealers that will deliver to your door but there are always some few who are out to make easy money by whatever means necessary. I would be very slow to hand over cash for a tractor that I haven’t seen to somebody I know little about no matter how much of a bargain that it seems to be.
Importing a tractor to Ireland has a flat rate of VRT which is 200 euros at the time of writing this. Even though it is more hassle and risk you can possibly save thousands of euros on importing a tractor on some makes and models.
Another way of purchasing a tractor is through an online auction where you place a bidding deposit and bid online much the same as you would at any auction or mart. The problem with this is you have no comeback if something is wrong with the tractor after you buy it.
You are taking a risk that it is what you see and you don’t get to test drive it first either. That being said it is possible to pick up a bargain at an auction too but you could just as easily end up paying too much for one depending on who is bidding against you and how badly they want it.
Another thing that would be worth considering is where is your nearest dealer that stocks parts and has experience working on that make of tractor. That could make a big difference when the tractor needs some work or repairs done on it down the road. Simple jobs could be done at home but unless you are a tractor mechanic you might need one that is used to working on your model someday for work that is beyond your capibalities
finally do some research on the make and model of tractor that you are thinking of buying. Some tractors were really well-built and are practically bullet proof in the way that they keep going and give very little trouble. Others have well-known defects and manufacturer faults that can be very expensive to repair.
Even well-known reliable brands of tractors produce a dud once in a while but a quick search on the internet with make model followed by problems will usually show these faults up fairly quickly. likewise, YouTube Facebook groups and discussion forums can all be a good source of information