A new-bought tractor can last 15 years or longer depending on how well you maintain and repair the equipment. A used tractor can last up to 15 years or more, but this will impinge on the brand, the previous owner’s care, its use and age.
Tractors are a tough feat of engineering and manufacturers build them to last a long time. Therefore, even though tractors are pricey on the outset, they will pay for themselves over years of use.
What Is the Lifespan of an Average Tractor Bought New?
When you buy a tractor brand new, you can expect it to last for about 4,500 to 5,000 hours. This translates between 10 to 15 years or more. But, it depends on frequency of use and how well you stay on top of its upkeep.
How Long Will a Used Tractor Last?
A used tractor can live up to 15 years or more. But, the condition it’s in will determine the length of its life expectancy. So, this will rely on how often the previous owner used it and what kind of repairs you need to make it operational for your purposes. Then, your care, maintenance and upkeep will also factor into the equation.
You can roughly figure that the average used tractor can last for around 4,000 hours of use. Some can last as long as 10,000 hours if you’re lucky enough to find one in tip top shape.
How Do You Predict a Used Tractor’s Lifespan?
There are several points you can take note of when attempting to make an educated guess about how long any given tractor will last. While these aren’t hard and fast rules, they can be a guideline to devise the closest estimate possible. Consider the points below.
Estimating Accumulated Use
The use of a tractor develops wear and tear on the equipment. There will be a feel and appearance at certain stages determined by the number of hours someone used it.
Keep in mind that the average tractor experiences somewhere between 100 to 200 hours of use per year. You can guesstimate the hours of use by the following:
- After 500 hours the tractor loses that “new” feel
- Around 2,500 hours the injectors, clutches and hydraulic pumps require maintenance
- Around 5,000 hours the transmission, engine or other major repair will be necessary
Brand & Type of Tractor
Long-time trusted names in tractor production will likely have a much longer lifespan used than others that are more obscure. For instance a used John Deere or Kubota will probably have a lifespan for 10 years. This is less likely for a Bearcat or Maverick, which are defunct brands.
Previous Owner’s Efforts
If the owner prior to you took good care of the tractor, it should last for a sufficient amount of time. If they skipped certain regular maintenance issues or failed to handle problems immediately, you can expect the tractor to have a shorter lifespan.
Where the tractor rests when not in use will have a big impact on its lifespan. This will be true for how you choose to store it as well as the previous owner’s choice of storage.
While these feats of machinery are for the great outdoors, they shouldn’t sit out in the elements all year round. Outdoor housing will decrease a tractor’s lifespan than keeping it in a garage, barn or other covered structure.
How the previous owner used the tractor and where you plan on operating it will affect the tractor’s overall life expectancy. If it hauled heavy loads over rough terrain for many hours at once, it will not last very long. However, if it only hauled light cargo over a short, easy distance, the machine should last for quite some time.
What Questions Should You Ask a Previous Tractor Owner to Determine Its Lifespan?
When you come upon a used tractor you want to purchase, there are five simple questions you should ask the seller. If they answer the questions honestly and to the best of their knowledge, you can get a good picture of how long the tractor will last.
- What kind of land or surface did the tractor traverse?
- When the tractor wasn’t in use, where did you store and keep it?
- What kind of work did the tractor do?
- Did you have any major repairs, replacements or upgrades made to the tractor?
- Has anyone else owned this tractor? If not, how much do you know about the previous owner and their use of it?
How Can You Make a Tractor Last as Long as Possible?
To ensure the best return on your investment, you should attempt to make your tractor last as long as possible. While you can expect the average machine to last 15 years, it is possible for the tractor to last as long as 20 or 30 years.
- Maintenance is the most important thing. If you do not stay on top of repairs, replacements and problems when they arise, it will lower the life expectancy of the tractor.
- Keep water away from your tractor as much as possible, especially within the fuel pump. Unfortunately, fuel pumps aren’t often covered under warranty and it has very little tolerance to water. This gets in through rain, condensation and after the winter.
- Always ensure your diesel fuel is clean. Don’t hesitate to use an additive on occasion to increase the injector’s performance and the fuel’s economy. These products lubricate pumps, injectors and manage water resting in the tank.
- Create a schedule for oil and filter checks and changes. If the owner’s manual doesn’t give any recommendations, call the dealer or manufacturer for their suggestions.
- Thoroughly understand your warranty in case something goes wrong. This way you can buy the right kind of insurance to cover whatever the warranty does not.
- Never force your tractor beyond its perceived limits. You can create more problems and damage that will be more expensive to fix later on.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.