Five Common Myths About Buying a Used Compact Utility Tractor

posted on Friday, July 6, 2018 in Dealer News

Sunshine’s experts set the record straight on shopping for a used John Deere tractor

1023E_Compact_Tractor_John_DeereWhen you’re looking for a compact utility tractor, a little homework goes a long way. For starters, our experts recommend knowing how much grass you’ll mow regularly, what other chores you’ll use it for, and who all is going to be using it. Use that to determine what size compact tractor you need to handle Louisiana property.

Beyond that, a big question is if you’ll consider both new and used tractor models. While there are many opinions out there, one thing’s for sure: knowing fact from fiction will improve your experience. To help you out, our experts are sharing the most common myths around used compact tractors. As you read, remember it’s up to you to decide what you want to consider ultimately.

Myth #1 – You get way more for your money buying a used tractor

We chalk this one up to sticker shock. When you see the bottom line you might think you’ll struggle to afford a new tractor. But, once you break things down, factor in incentives and financing—most of which are unavailable on used tractors—you’ll realize buying a new one isn’t that scary.

In fact, the difference between a similar new and used tractor may only be around $50 a month! And with around 75-80 percent of buyers financing, you’ll be in good company. So, come in knowing your budget and you might be surprised what possibilities are open to you.

Myth #2 – You’ll never know the true condition of a used tractor

You might worry that even if a used tractor passes the eye test, it may hide some problems. Here’s how to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into.

  • First, take it for a test-drive! Make sure the engine sounds clean (no knocking, clanking or squealing), that it shifts smoothly through all gears, that 4WD engages, and that all hydraulics work properly. Make sure it’s not leaking any fluids; to find out, park it on pavement or something similar after you test-drive it so you can see if there are any oil, gas, hydraulic or coolant line leaks.
  • Look under the hood at the engine components and check for any rust, which would be a big red flag. Examine the oil and filters to see they haven’t been neglected. If the inside of a tractor is clean, it’s a good sign it was serviced regularly at a dealership.
  • See how well it was cared for by looking for dings and dents to the frame, mower deck and implements. Check that the lights are in good working shape. See how worn the seat and wheel are, if they’re peeling or moldy. Was it stored inside or left out in the elements? You’ll definitely be able to tell.
  • You want to make sure the tractor you’re considering was well maintained, so ask to see service records; make sure there aren’t gaps longer than one year or 500 hours between service appointments. Make sure it went through any recalls issued for that model. Check any warranty claims for larger problems.

If the tractor you’re considering passes these tests, you should feel good moving forward. If you have doubt, opt out! Either move on to another tractor, or consider sticking with new models if you’re not confident in your ability to discern.

Myth #3 – Technology is immediately outdated on used tractor models

You’re not shop2025_Compact_John_Deere_Swamp_Implementsping for a smartphone here, so while tractor technology evolves every year, life-changing advancements are not made continually. You’ll find some features come standard today that weren’t always available, so make sure to ask the right questions and don’t make any assumptions.

Our experts recommend confirming any used model you’re considering has a 3-point hitch and a front-end loader (some older models’ loaders are now out of production). Confirm it can accommodate (or already has) a drive-over mower deck, as that’s a huge convenience for regular mowing around your Louisiana property. Think about other features you know you’ll need in order to care for your property, like 4WD or power steering, and make sure any used tractor you consider has those features.

Myth #4 – There’s a drop-off in value after five years of use

OK… *deep breath* This one gets under our experts’ skin. It’s not at all unusual for property owners to enjoy their compact tractor for up to 20 or 30 years! When maintained properly, John Deere equipment will last decades. When shopping for used tractors, pay attention to hours logged more than how old the tractor is.

A good number to aim for on a used tractor is around 1,000 hours; it’s similar to 100,000 miles on a car. You know it’s got a good track record, but it’s far from being worn out. If you’re looking at a model that’s only a few years old with 1,500+ hours, do some extra scrutinizing before moving forward with a purchase.

If you’re a collector or someone who’s looking for a tractor like the one you grew up with on the family farm, make sure it hasn’t logged a crazy number of hours, and you should be good.

Because tractors hold their value so well over time, you’re not guaranteed to find an amazing bargain shopping used. It’s one more reason to consider buying new, especially with financing and warranty options new tractors afford.

Myth #5 – It makes no difference if you buy a used tractor from a private seller or a dealer

This is wrong for a few reasons. First, you can be completely confident in the quality of our inventory. If a Sunshine dealer has acquired a used tractor to sell, you can be sure our experts believe it’s a high-quality machine with good value. It doesn’t mean you can’t find a great tractor in the wild; it just means you’ll have more questions to answer. Second is the ownership journey. When you buy from an individual, you’re on your own. When you buy from Sunshine we’re here for you for everything that comes up.

4052M_Compact_Tractor_John_Deere_MulchSome big advantages to shopping for used tractors at Sunshine are:

  • You’ll know it’s up to our standards because we put every tractor through inspection before adding it to our inventory.
  • We encourage you to test-drive the equipment and test the mower decks or implements before you buy.
  • You can get financing with low monthly payment options through us.
  • The used compact tractor may qualify for an extended warranty, which should give you great peace of mind (so long as it’s within the timeframe specified by John Deere).

Feel informed and confident so you can start shopping for your new compact tractor? Start here by browsing our current inventory of new and used tractors. As always, if you have any questions, stop by a Sunshine showroom near you in Louisiana or reach out over email or phone.

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