Buying Advice Test drive and Dealer interview

   #1  

Annihilator26

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2016
Messages
29
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
Tractor
LS/XJ2025H
Everyone says I should test drive a tractor before I purchase it, but what should I do on a test drive of my first tractor? The things I have come up with so far are:
  • Spend at least 15 minutes in the seat to make sure it is comfortable
  • Cycle the loader and see how the controls feel. Is everything smooth? Is it fast enough?
  • Should I actually scoop something and move some snow around, or is that frowned upon?
  • Drive a few laps around the lot in forward and reverse to get a feel for the transmission.
  • How is it changing between 2-4WD, HI-LO gears, mid-rear PTO settings?
  • Move the 3-point up and down. Is the control ok, or do I need to find a tractor with true position control?
  • What is the cost for filling the tires, and welding two hooks on the bucket?
  • How much to add a set of rear hydraulics? How much more if I do it later rather than now?
  • How much will you charge for delivery?
  • How much for the extra items I need? (service manual, set of filters for 50hr service, matching hat)
  • What is the total "out the door" price with all of the above plus the implements I need? (box blade, auger)
  • After driving and shutting it off are there any leaks or wet areas around seals?
  • Ask to see all of the daily check items. How easy is it to access the dip stick, coolant, ...?
  • Switch out the bucket for a set of forks a lift something of a known weight to check the relief valve settings.

What else should I make sure to check on the test drive?

I know the dealer is also an important part of the selection, and I want ot make sure I am buying for a good place. What should I ask the dealer? My current plan is to check the following. What else should I ask them about before I buy?

  • How long have you been selling this brand?
  • How many of these tractors do you sell per month?
  • How may of your mechanics are factory trained?
  • What would you charge for pickup/delivery to come to my house X miles away for a repair? What if it is a warranty item?
  • What spare parts do you keep on hand for this tractor?
  • Do you do on-site maintenance or repairs?
  • Have you ever had any warranty work denied by the manufacturer?
  • What are the fluid and filter requirements to keep the warranty?
  • Will you drop-ship parts like filters directly to me?
  • Will you take the used fluids for disposal if I do the oil changes myself?
  • I am also considering Kubota/JD from this other dealer. How do your tractors compare?
  • Should I ask to see the service area and talk to one of the mechanics?

I am sure there are at least one or two big things I am missing, so please add to the list, or let me know if I am not on track.
 
Last edited:
   #2  

murphy1244

Super Star Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2011
Messages
19,961
Location
Ohio
Tractor
Kubota 1120 RTV Kioti DK-40, MF-135, Ventrac 4500Y
I always walk the service area. If it is a mess their work probably is too.
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#3  
OP
A

Annihilator26

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2016
Messages
29
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
Tractor
LS/XJ2025H
I always walk the service area. If it is a mess their work probably is too.
Thanks. I agree you can tell a lot by looking over the service area. I just wasn't sure if it was usually appropriate to do so, or if many places will try to keep you out for liability reasons. It sounds like I should make sure that I can at least take a look.
 
   #4  

George2615

Super Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Messages
8,734
Location
Central Square, NY
Tractor
LS XR3037HC
That's a pretty good check list.
Upon purchase, most dealers will deliver for free. After that, most charge for pick up and delivery. Ask what their rate is..

Items such as rear remotes, bucket hooks, filled tires, first 50 hour service, service manual, hat etc. are tools that can be negotiated during pricing the tractor. Tractor prices don't have much wiggle room unless you're paying cash. But I've found that if you buy implements at time of tractor purchase you usually get a better price on the implements but you have to ask them to do better.

As long as fluids and filters are changed according to the owners manual, you can do it yourself and it won't affect the warranty. Just be sure to keep records of the date and hours you do the service.

My dealer will have parts drop shipped to me directly. Just have to pay the dealer to get them ordered. Most times I just go pick them up at the dealer so they don't forget what I look like.
 
   #5  

RNeumann

Elite Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2016
Messages
4,136
Location
North Idaho
Tractor
Mahindra 1538
I talked to others who owned the tractors I was looking at in the area and asked them about dealers. I was new to the area I purchased in and literally pulled over to ask folks- most are willing to talk and provided good info. Rental yards will have good info too. I also found out how long someone had been in business and how long they carried a brand- tough if someone had been around for 5 years and have a new line or are new to a line you are looking at.
Sales tax is also an issue. Depending on your area traveling a bit can save you a lot of money.
With regards to actual machines I look at the statistics. The forum has a pined post about manufacture quality and satisfaction. I also studied what machines did what I wanted best.
Lastly, and probably most important, I took my wife. Some may roll your eyes but who really knows you better or what your needs are than a spouse, sibling or good friend. It helped that she wanted the tractor too!
 
   #6  

dadster4

Gold Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
427
Location
NW Wisconsin
Tractor
KIOTI CK3510HST
I would try the SSQA to remove the bucket, put on a set of forks if possible, and lift something of a known weight that is near the max rated capacity. It will tell you if the relief valve is set correctly, and if your rear wheels come off the ground, you will need more counterweight...think heavy boxblade :thumbsup:
 
   #7  

Grandad4

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
2,712
Tractor
Kubota BX2230, Farmall Super M
The things you're thinking about do make good sense, but only if your test drives involve more than one tractor and brand to form a basis for comparison. Do a "seat of the pants" comparison between several similar models from different manufacturers and you'll soon identify qualitative differences between them that may well define whether one will be more suitable for you personally. If you plan on keeping your tractor for a long time, having one you're comfortable with can mean a lot.
 
   #8  

airbiscuit

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Joined
Aug 28, 2004
Messages
4,582
Location
NW Wisconsin
Tractor
New Holland T2310, Kubota L3010 GST, New Holland TC21DA, Farmall H *** Previously - 1941 John Deere B, Shibaura SD1500, John Deere 850, Bobcat 642, New Holland 1925
I would ask that about a competitor's brand. If they are quick to badmouth, I would be skeptical. Dealers who are confident about their product, don't need to run down the competition.
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#9  
OP
A

Annihilator26

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2016
Messages
29
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
Tractor
LS/XJ2025H
I talked to others who owned the tractors I was looking at in the area and asked them about dealers. I was new to the area I purchased in and literally pulled over to ask folks- most are willing to talk and provided good info. Rental yards will have good info too. I also found out how long someone had been in business and how long they carried a brand- tough if someone had been around for 5 years and have a new line or are new to a line you are looking at.
Sales tax is also an issue. Depending on your area traveling a bit can save you a lot of money.
With regards to actual machines I look at the statistics. The forum has a pined post about manufacture quality and satisfaction. I also studied what machines did what I wanted best.
Lastly, and probably most important, I took my wife. Some may roll your eyes but who really knows you better or what your needs are than a spouse, sibling or good friend. It helped that she wanted the tractor too!

I haven't actually seen any LS tractors in the wild, but I would consider stopping to ask someone if I saw one. Maybe I will consider asking the dealer for references.

I will definitely bring my wife to take a look before I buy. She isn't too interested in the shopping process though, so she will mostly just take a look and confirm I am not making a mistake before we spend the money.
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#10  
OP
A

Annihilator26

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2016
Messages
29
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
Tractor
LS/XJ2025H
I would ask that about a competitor's brand. If they are quick to badmouth, I would be skeptical. Dealers who are confident about their product, don't need to run down the competition.

I already did that on my first trip through the dealer, and I will add it to the list above. The LS/ Kioti dealer was pretty nice when I mentioned comparing to Kubota.
 
 
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