Maintaining Tractor Value
5. LIGHTS. If they aren’t working on your tractor, that’s another trip into the shop after trade-in. If they have to be replaced, it can easily cost $500-$600.
6. Dirt and dust. This one is closely related to cosmetics, but not quite as visible at first glance. Tractors get dirty, in the corners, cracks, and crevices. It’s not a bad thing, says Smith. “You’re using it for what you intended. But don’t leave it that way. Clean it up. Like you wash your car, wash your tractor and keep it looking new.”
7. engine oiL and grime. Clean it periodically to prevent buildup. If it has a small oil leak, get it fixed. You’ll either pay for it now, or at trade-in value later. “When I see an oily engine, I start looking more closely,” says Smith. “If I’m not sure about something, I go to my shop technician to inspect it and ask him, ‘What’s it going to take to fix this?’ ”
8. tires. Usually not much goes wrong here, normal wear and tear is unavoidable. Check your manual and keep tires inflated at proper levels. Sometimes, Smith says, people over-inflate for a heavy load, then forget to go back to normal inflation. That can cause uneven wear, and may impact value. “On the smallest tractors, it’s about $1,000 to put on a set of tires. For bigger ones, it can easily get to $2,000-$3,000.”
9. WARNING LIGHTS AND GUAGES. Again, nobody would buy a used car if the gauges don’t work. If a warning light is broke, that’s a $50-$60 fix to make it salable, Smith says.
10. CLUTCH, BRAKES, EXHAUST. Smith looks for a brake that grabs on one side. On newer tractors, the exhaust is usually protected under the hood and not likely to get damaged or need maintenance. The most important thing is that it be tight and not leak. You can have engine valve issues if the exhaust leaks.
“These things are important regardless of the brand,” says Smith. “You really can’t do much about the hours of use you put on a tractor, they are what they are. But the maintenance and looks of the machine, you have complete control of that.”
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