Three Considerations When Purchasing Used Equipment


Sponsored ContentBuying used equipment can be a large investment for a farm operation, so it’s important to notice the details.

Todd Monroe, CHS manager of Cenex branded lubricants

Equipment can be one of the largest investments that farmers make on their operation. And with today’s lower grain prices and tighter budgets, many are considering used machinery as an alternative to buying new. Even though farmers can find good deals when purchasing used equipment, the hours logged on a piece of machinery are not always a reliable indicator of the health of the engine. Extra attention should be paid to three considerations to help make a final decision and protect your equipment investment.

1. Get an oil analysis.

Potential buyers can look for leaks and damage when inspecting used machinery, but even if a piece of equipment looks good on the outside, it’s harder to tell the condition under the hood. That’s where an oil analysis can be a valuable tool for the buyer. It is like a blood test for a machine’s engine, transmission and hydraulic systems. If you’re interested in a specific machine, ask the farmer and auctioneer for permission to take an oil sample before the sale so you have a better idea of the condition of the engine and hydraulics prior to making a purchase.

The cost of an oil analysis kit ($15 to $25) is minimal considering the valuable insights it can provide on a machine that likely costs tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy.

2. Consider the age of the engine and the fuel it’ll need.

Tier 3 and Tier 4 engines require a higher quality fuel to run at peak performance. Traditional #2 diesel fuel can leave deposits on vital engine parts, which may clog fuel filters and cause injector failure. A premium diesel fuel like Cenex® Ruby Fieldmaster® is specially formulated to protect modern engines from deposits and buildup left by #2 diesel. Its special additive package helps increase engine power by 4.5 percent and increase fuel economy by up to 5 percent.

Most equipment found at an auction is not new anymore, but fuel choice is still essential to protect equipment investments and ensure your machine runs efficiently throughout the year.

3. Enroll the equipment in a warranty program.

Another reason to assess the engine age prior to purchase, is to consider if it’s eligible for a warranty program. There are very few “quick fixes” on today’s modern farm equipment. When a system fails or a critical engine or hydraulic part is damaged, repairs can cost thousands of dollars and can take days to complete. The Cenex Total Protection Plan® covers both old and new equipment that use Cenex premium diesel and lubricants products, and conduct regular oil analysis.

If the piece of equipment is less than two years old or under 2,000 hours, it falls under the expanded warranty. If it’s a tractor, for example, that warranty potentially covers the engine, differential, transmission, hydraulics, fuel injectors and fuel injection pump. If the equipment is older than two years or has been used for more than 2,000 hours, the engine and injection pump are still covered for eight years or 8,000 hours. New equipment is protected for 10 years or 10,000 hours.

Once you’ve committed to purchasing and maintaining a used piece of equipment, another smart practice is to do an annual OEM inspection with your local equipment dealer at the end of each season. An annual equipment tune-up and inspection is crucial to having machines that will serve you well each season and give you an edge in keeping your equipment running for years to come.

For help with specific equipment performance issues or to purchase an oil analysis kit, contact your local Cenex dealer or Cenex certified energy specialist. To learn more about the Cenex Total Protection Plan and Cenex products, visit