Farm Progress

4 tips for buying a used combine

Buying a used combine can save a lot of money, so we offer up these tips for going through the buying process.

Jodie Wehrspann

December 26, 2013

2 Min Read
<p>An oversupply of used combines is putting buyers in a good position for snagging a deal.</p>

With the record run in new combine sales over the past two years, used machines are building up on dealer lots. In an effort to reduce those inventories, some manufacturers are offering incentive programs to encourage the purchase of used equipment.

“The industry is seeing a very large build up because we’ve probably had one of the best years ever selling new combines,” says Jeff Lentz, marketing manager for Claas of North America, citing an industry total of 14,000 new combines sold in North America this year. “Every time a dealer sells a new combine, it generates, on average, three used combines before the trade-in is washed out of the original deal.”

Lentz says those used combines create a bottleneck for dealers trying to sell new combines. “So doing everything we can to alleviate that problem.”

At farm shows this fall, Claas exhibited a late-model Lexion combine to call attention to its Lexion Field Ready Reconditioning program. Under the program, now in its second year, Claas puts each trade-in through a 250-pt. inspection, which takes about 7 to 8 hours. Repairs are made, and dealers are handed a full report of what has been done. Combines that are made “field ready” are backed by a 75-hour warranty.

 “We are only manufacturer that literally backs the dealers’ used inventory with a manufacturers’ warranty,” Lentz says, adding that customers biggest fear with buying used is the risk of equipment failure. “Farmers equate used equipment with auctions, where there is no warranty on the combine once you make the purchase. Having the combine thoroughly inspected upfront alleviates those worries.”

Buying a used combine can save farmers anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 over the cost of a new one, which can list anywhere from $450,000 to $500,000.  Lantz, who has overseen hundreds of deals, gives farmers these pointers to ensure they claim that savings.

1. Ask for an inspection report. Inspections can identify any major problems that will lessen the value of the vehicle.

2. Ask to see service records. Check what kind of warranty claims have been made on that combine. “If there are a lot, I’d veer away from it because there are plenty of combines out there with warranty left,” he says.   

3. Deliver it early. He encourages farmers to bring in their trade-ins as soon as they are done harvesting so that dealers can get it reconditioned and on the lot before the next selling season, which helps to ensure everyone gets a good deal. 

4. Bring it in clean. Lenz advises buyers to clean the combine prior to trade-in so that the dealer doesn’t have to spend time to wash it. “It’s just one more thing a dealer puts in his trade evaluation that can affect the trade value on that combine because they would have to pay someone to clean it.”

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