used farm tractorSome people are extremely nervous to buy used equipment. A used tractor can serve you just as a new one if you choose wisely; a well maintained one. You only need to know what to look for in a used tractor.

So you want to invest in a used farm tractor. When it comes to purchasing used tractors California, farmers often know what they require. Most farmers visit our equipment shop knowing precisely what they need – whether it is a Mahindra 2555 4WD HST tractor, a 2003 Jinma JM224 tractor, or a Jinma 354 tractor with a certain number of powerful hydraulic outlets to run an air drill, scraper or several other farm attachments.

Although they know the exact model, make and the specifications, farmers, will almost always inspect a used tractor before they bid. To help you make the right decision, we’ll provide tractor inspection tips as the general guidelines and be prepared to find a used tractor you require at our equipment store, California.

Essential parts to inspect include:

  • Engine Compartment
  • Articulation point
  • Tires, body and overall appearance
  • Cab
  • Hydraulic power
  • PTO (Power Take-Off) shaft

Engine Compartment

As with any other piece of equipment, start your tractor up, and lift the hood. Let it run sometime and look for any signs of leaks from the hydraulics, hoses or engine. Check for any worn or cracked fuel lines, coolant or hydraulic. Locate its engine plate and find out the amount of horsepower and ensure that the engine of the tractor meets all the emission standards for your jurisdiction.

Use the mechanic’s stethoscope, although we have seen some customers use a screwdriver, and try to hold it up to the engine block. Listen for any scratching sounds or knocking which come from engine cylinders.

Remove the air filters, when the machine is off. Air filters need replacement after every 100 to 200 hours, 300 to 400 hours for in cab filters. Check the manufacturer’s recommendation from the operator’s manual. The air filter shouldn’t look dirty if regularly replaced.

Articulation point

Carry out both an operational and visual inspection of the entire articulation point. As the main moving part on the used tractor, it should always be greased. Check for metal shards. Shards are the signs of wear and most probably a result of poor maintenance.

For an operational inspection, start up your preferred tractor and drive it back and forth. If you can feel any knock when moving, then a transmission slip could be the problem. Also, turn the steering right and then left.

Check for any looseness or wandering in the steering since this could signify that the major pin may be damaged or bent and should be replaced. Difficult or tight steering could mean that the hydraulic cylinders might not be in proper working condition or that the pins require greasing.

Tires, body and overall appearance

A tractor which looks well-maintained often has been well-maintained. Dents, peeling paint or even bulging, cracked, weathered or tires are clear signs that the tractor was stored outside and possibly even abused. Based on the type of the tractor, the replacement of those tires could cost you up to $31,000.

Before you decide to buy any used tractor, check the tread depth measurement left on the tires using a tire gauge and compare to the measurement of tread depth on the tire manufacturer’s website to get a clear idea of the life span of the existing tires.


Open the cab’s door and take a look inside. Mud and dirt in the cab could be signs of poor maintenance. Step inside the cab and check the number of hours of operation the tractor has operated.

Keep in mind that some tractors may have up to 4,000 to 5,000 operating hours but may still be in excellent shape since they’ve been maintained well. If the cab has a guidance system, ensure that all receivers, displays and other electronic components are working properly. Guidance systems can be very expensive to repair or replace.

Hydraulic power

Look for poor seals and leaks when inspecting the hydraulics, potential signs which damage to the hydraulic tank or outlets may exist. Consider what kinds of attachments you’ll be running when carrying out the inspection of the return/auxiliary lines and hydraulic outlets.

For instance, many air drills now require a minimum of one auxiliary line with 38 GPM of hydraulic power and three hydraulic outlets, but some may need up to three auxiliary lines with 98 GPM of hydraulic power and five hydraulic outlets. Make sure that the tractor has the right number of lines and outlets for what you require to run now and a year from now.

PTO (Power Take-Off) shaft

Anything having a mechanical drive – manure spreaders, grain carts, augers, etc. -will need a functioning PTO shaft. First and foremost, make sure that the PTO has the correct specification for the attachments you’ll want to run.

It’s better to purchase a used tractor which has more of what you require when it comes to PTO power specification, horsepower, etc. That would mean better fuel economy in the field and the capacity to handle any large jobs which could arise as your operation changes or expands.

Start up your preferred tractor, turn on the PTO and check for a smooth rotating movement. Listen for any weird noises, such as a knocking sound, that comes from the running output shaft. Remember that PTO repairs can be expensive as the rear end of the tractor, and often the rear axle also needs to be detached for access.

What type of tractor do you want to purchase? Find Used Tractors California being sold at our shops.

Call us at (866) 363-8193 or email us at for custom recommendations that meet your needs.