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Guide to Buying Used Tractors

on Monday, 16 March 2015. Posted in UK, Eamonn Tinney News

Are you thinking or purchasing a tractor but you’re confused by all of the different models, their features and the additional equipment you might need? We’ve created a simple guide to buying new and used tractors to help you make an informed decision.

What Do You Need?

Before deciding to purchase a tractor, consider you needs. What will you use the tractor for and what do you expect to get for your money? Narrow your choices down to a few tractors and study their specifications and the statistics of the quality and performance. Finally, decide which tractor is capable of doing everything you require it to do.

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Check the Tractor Model

Never purchase a tractor until you are certain that you have checked the model of the farm equipment you are buying. Tractors can break down, so it is essential that you know where you can source parts easily and at what cost. Parts for some tractor models will be more expensive than others. Well known tractor models are generally cheaper and easier to source. Ask the seller for the tractor’s serial number so that you can carry out a valid search.

Check the Year

If you’re buying a used tractor, it can still have many years of operation left in it. However, it is also possible that the tractor has been overworked. Ask the seller what age the tractor is and use the serial number or documentation provided to confirm these details for your own peace of mind. Also remember to ask how many hours the tractor has worked. This will be clocked per annum on the dial. Finally, ask the seller why they are selling as this may be an indication of any potential problems.

Horse Power

Ask the seller about the tractors horse power to ensure that it has the capability of pulling heavy machinery – if this is your requirement. Finally, ensure that the PTO’s rotating shaft connects securely and that it is fully functional.


Inspect the Tractor

Below are some things that you should look out for when inspecting a used tractor for sale:

Air Filters

Ensure that the air filter seals and intact and that no dust has reached the engine.

Oil Leaks

Inspect the tractor for oil leaks – look on the ground and around the yard to identify potential hazardous signs. Check the tyres for spots of oil as this can identify a faulty shaft seal. Also remember to check for diesel or oil leaks when the tractor’s engine is hot.

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Switch on the ignition and perform a routine check to ensure that all lights are in operation including those on the dash.


Remove the cap and inspect for white spots which could be an indication of an issue with the tractor’s cooling system. Also look for damage to the fins and corrosion inside the radiator.

Smoke Colour

If the tractor is excreting blue or white smoke, this could be an indication of a problem with the fuel injector. Dark smoke indicates an issue with the tractor’s piston rings.

Gear Changes

Switch up and down the tractor’s gears and inspect the feel and sound of the clutch. Use your own initiative to judge – while listening for noises as an indication of wear.


Inspect the tractor, looking for welds in and around the wheels. Also look for uneven wear including cuts and cracks to the tyre.

tractor wheels -tractors for sale donegal

Tax & Test Drive

In Ireland, all tractors must be taxed and the driver must be 16 or over with a category W license to drive on public roads. The driver must be covered by third party insurance. Ask for the tax book to establish the appropriate payment. Vintage tractors have a lower tax bracket than new models. General haulage tractors also have a higher tax payment applicable than agricultural tractors, diggers and excavators.

Vehicle Registration

If you intend to use the tractor for the sole purpose of land use, you are not required to register the vehicle. However, tractors used on public roads must be registered. Vehicle registration tax (VRT) must also be paid on new and used tractors that are imported into Ireland.

Finding a Tractor

Tractors are most commonly found online or in dealer magazines and newspapers. To ensure you know what you are buying, we recommend following our guide and locating a reputable machinery sourcing agent.

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FTMTA member Ireland

Eamonn Tinney Agri-Sales

F92 W6D6

Tel: 074 91 29317

Tinney Agri Spares Tel: 074912-2374 

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