Buying tractors

Please note that these guides do not constitute legal advice and any information provided in the guides should not be construed as legal advice or legal interpretation. We do not accept any liability for any loss caused by your reliance on this guide.

The DoneDeal guide to buying tractors

Know your needs

  • Before trading for tractors, dig the dirt.
  • Study the stats on the machine you want to buy.
  • Is it capable of doing everything you require?

Check the model

  • Before buying research the make and model of the tractor
  • Tractors break down, so check and ensure that spare parts are easily sourced
  • Get the serial number to look up the year and model

Check its age

  • Used tractors can have many years of life left in them, but not if they’ve been over-worked.
  • Always ask the age of the tractor
  • Ask how many hours it’s worked - the more hours it’s clocked up per annum the greater chance of trouble
  • Ask the seller why they are selling. Has there been a problem?

Horse power

  • Before purchase ask about the machine’s horse power.
  • Has it got the pulling prowess to meet your needs?
  • Does it have a power take off (PTO) which is needed to attach implements that draw power from the tractor engine
  • Check to see if the rotating shaft of the PTO is operational and connects properly

How to inspect a tractor

Air filter

  • Check to see if the seals are intact and check that dust has not gotten into the engine.


  • Check for oil or leaks.
  • Look at the ground. Do you see any oil spots in the yard?
  • If you do, ask the seller if the tractor had been cleaned and degreased prior to viewing
  • Look for oil on tyres too as this could point to a broken shaft seal
  • When the engine is hot, double-check for diesel or oil leaks


  • Turn on the ignition. Do the oil and alternator lights come on?
  • Start the engine fully. If these lights remain on, watch out.


  • Remove the radiator cap and look inside. White deposits could indicate a problem with the cooling system.
  • Look for corrosion inside the radiator, or damage to the fins.
  • Also check that the tractor’s temperature gauge is ok.


  • Blue/white smoke from the exhaust indicates an issue with fuel injection.
  • Dark smoke could be an indication of worn piston rings.
  • If the tractor spits out caked oil from the breather tube, the engine needs an overhaul.


  • Check how the gears change. How does the clutch feel?
  • Try all the gears in both ranges.
  • Listen for squeals or tapping noises which indicate wear.


  • Examine the hydraulic system, or three-point hitch.
  • Attach it to a plough. Does it lift the plough without jerking?


  • Look for welds around the wheels.
  • Is there uneven wear on the tyres?
  • Check to see if tyres have cuts, or are weather cracked. Tractor tyres are expensive to replace.

Sit down

  • Is the seat comfortable?
  • Tractor owners can have long working days and a comfortable seat is desirable.
  • Seats can be expensive to replace.

Test driving

  • When driving any agricultural machinery on a public road you must have a category W licence
  • The minimum age to get this licence is 16
  • Agricultural machinery driven in a public place must be covered by third party insurance
  • Third party insurance cover must extend to all trailers, even when not being drawn by a tractor, when they are in a public place
  • Read the Road Safety Authority of Ireland specific guidelines relating to agricultural machinery on public roads.


  • Tractors must be taxed. Ask if there is tax on the vehicle
  • Agricultural tractors, trench diggers and excavators have a lower tax rate than general haulage tractors. Check the appropriate annual rate at motor tax online
  • Vintage tractors have a lower annual tax rate than newer models
  • Ask for the tax book


  • Tractors used solely on the land are not required to be registered
  • Any tractor that uses a public road at any stage must be registered
  • The VRT rate for all tractors, new or used, is €200
  • Tractors must be presented at NCT centres for registration


  • Check that the suspension and tyres are in good nick and look for any damage to the floor
  • Is the hitch compatible with the vehicle you’ll be using to tow it?
  • Do the brake lights work?
  • Check the weight. Is the vehicle you’ll  use to tow it capable?
  • How many axles? Fewer axles carry smaller loads

Need something?

  • If you need farm items or spare parts check DoneDeal ads for what you need.
  • Ask for specific items through DoneDeal's wanted ads section.
  • Set up an email alert for items you may want.