What should I look out for when purchasing a tractor?
The heart of the tractor, the engine provides the power to do heavy work. Most tractors run on gasoline or diesel fuel, with diesel engines usually offering more power than their gas counterparts. The strength of the engine is measured in horsepower; a higher number means more power, so a large tractor with high horsepower is needed for intense farming tasks.
The type of transmission is a key feature to consider, because it will make a big difference in the way the tractor performs. Some tractors, such as those with hydrostatic transmissions, are driven with foot pedals, and increasing the speed of the tractor is as simple as pushing harder on the pedal, making these types of tractors very easy to drive.
This is a major contrast to tractors with manual gear-driven transmissions, such as synchro-shift transmissions, where changing speed requires the operator to physically shift gears using a control stick—sometimes while the tractor is at a complete stop. This type of transmission makes it easy to maintain a constant speed; the operator simply puts it in the appropriate gear and lets it go. However, they’re not as simple to handle as tractors with foot pedals.
In order for a tractor to be used with other equipment, it has to have at least one type of attachment hitch. One of the most useful is the three-point hitch, which includes a hydraulic lift for raising and lowering attached equipment; simple drawbar hitches are also common, as well as specialized hitches for attachments such as front-end loaders and forklifts.