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Why Condition Matters So Much At Farm Equipment Auctions

Thursday, October 18th, 2018
common items sold at auction

Despite the benefits, many businesses avoid purchasing used farm equipment. This is because there are some risks to buying used items. But, if you take your time and inspect the machines, you can usually find a great deal. This post will go over why condition is important to understand at farm equipment auctions.

Reputable sellers

Although it may be tempting, it is not advisable to buy a tractor from your cousin, friend, or acquaintance. Go with a company that is reputable, has a paper trail, has reviews online, provides customer testimonials, and has a good rating with the Better Business Bureau. After spending a small amount of time researching records and reviews, you’ll have a decent idea on if you can trust the auction house.

Background checks and authority to sell

Make sure the auction house you choose has the authority to sell equipment. Check the public records for any liens and to see if the equipment is legally sellable. If you’re getting farm equipment through an auction, the staff should be able to provide you with this documentation.

As part of this check, make sure the seller owns the equipment outright. If he or she does not, they do not have authority to sell. They will need permission from the bank to authorize the transfer of the mortgage to you.

Payment documentation

Make sure you have a paper trail for your payments after an auction. You may find that an item was not actually in good condition, although you inspected it, or that it may not be delivered or moved properly. What if it doesn’t arrive at all? You need proof that you purchased an item to ensure the seller provides the equipment or to get the charges reversed or returned. One important step to protect yourself is to make sure you have inspections records.

Look at the farm equipment

You should always inspect farm equipment before you bid on it at auction. Check its inside and outside appearance. Does it have maintenance logs? How does the engine sound? Pictures do not often do justice, so make sure you or a trusted agent have a chance to inspect the equipment physically. If you fail to inspect farm equipment, you could end up with a machine that doesn’t run well or that doesn’t work at all.

How to inspect farm equipment at auctions

If you’re buying a tractor or any major piece of equipment, take the time to inspect it first. Most experts recommend you start from the front and work your way back. The following can help you do a quick, comprehensive check of the items you are interested in.

Turn on the equipment

First, turn on the equipment and make sure the engine works. Once it is warm, remove the oil cap to see if there is an issue with blowing. If you notice blowing, that could be an indication that there is a compression leak somewhere in or around the pistons. You should also check to see what type of coolant is used. Don’t be afraid to remove panels and get into the machine if the auction house will allow it. You should be able to tell if there is any major damage or issues like leaks once you have turned the machine on and back off.

Conduct a visual inspection for quality

Next, you should check the cab of the equipment. Make sure all the dials, gauges, and lights work. You should also look at the windshield wipers, steering wheel, and pedals to test if they work. Next, move to the back. Do the steering arms have too much give and is the hitch working? Don’t forget to see if the tires are worn on the sides or if there are cracks. Check the power takeoff shaft for usability and verify it is the proper specification that you will need as well.

After the visual inspection, see if you can test the equipment. If the auction house will let you do this, check the handle and listen for suspicious noises. How do the wheel and clutch handle? Finally, review the maintenance logs to see if they match what you have found.

Do an oil analysis

Another step you can take to inspect the equipment is to do an oil analysis. Visual and auditory inspections are great, but they can’t tell you what’s going on inside the engine. Consider purchasing an oil inspection kit before the farm equipment auction. This kit will tell you the status of the engine, hydraulic systems, and transmission.

Next, consider the age of the engine. The older the engine, the more likely that deposits will litter the inside, potentially blocking fuel injectors. This issue may not prevent you from bidding on the equipment, but you will have to consider future maintenance.

Looking for farm equipment auctions in Texas?

If you would like to learn more about these auctions, contact the experts at High Plains Auctioneers. We hold many auctions throughout the year and can help you Bid or Sell. Call us today at (806) 244-6776 or Contact Us by email to find out more and view our Upcoming Auctions to see what we have available.