The most important “C” when purchasing a used combine is condition. Modern combines typically have around 17,000 parts, compared to a car having around 6,000. Because so many things can go wrong, it’s important to verify that everything is in working order. When assessing a used combine, be sure to check out:
- Hours of operation - Like tractors, the condition of the combine isn’t based on the number of acres worked but rather on the total hours that the combine has been in operation. The total hours indicate how long the engine has run and the separator hours show how long it has spent threshing. Pay attention to mismatches between the engine hours and separator hours. If the engine hours are higher, this could indicate that the drivetrain is worn down. While low hours are obviously preferable, be sure to take the overall condition of the combine into account. A poorly maintained combine with low hours can have more issues than a high hour combine that has been kept up well.
- Header - Your used combine will usually come with a generic pick-up header. Be sure to record the serial number in order to check the year, make, model, and size. It’s important that the combine’s capacity isn’t greater than what the gathering head can handle, otherwise your harvest may be wasted or damaged. Be sure to look for signs that the combine has been used on stony or flinty ground. You may see scrapes or dents on the cutterbar. Peeking at the header can give you an idea of how well the combine has been cared for.
- Rear attachment - Look for the style of the chopper, as well as any missing blades. Make sure the combine you’re purchasing has the type of rear attachment that you’re looking for, whether that’s internal, fine cut, extra fine cut, or integrated.
- Unloading auger - Be sure to look at the type, size, and condition of the unloading auger. There are many different sizes, and you’ll need to know the approximate length to reach your trailer or grain cart without fighting with your header. For example, if you’re running a 40 ft header, a short unload auger just won’t work. Check for any wear and tear while inspecting the auger.
- Engine - Whenever you buy a piece of equipment, it’s always important to look under the hood. Check for any cracked or worn parts, and look for any signs of leaks. Be sure to run the engine for 15-20 minutes so that you can see how it operates at a working temperature. Taking it for a little drive and going both forwards and backwards can help you see if the transmission operates smoothly. Don’t forget to engage the threshing components gradually to make sure that they all function properly.
In order to make sure you’re seeking out the right size combine, consider how large or small your operation is. While a big combine with large capacity is tempting, if you don’t have the acreage that requires that level of power, then you’ll be wasting your money. Think about what you really need the combine for and what features are a need vs a want.
You’ll be spending a lot of time in your combine, so it’s important that you’ll be comfortable during the hot harvest conditions. Check out the wear and tear in the cab area, and make sure to sit in the seat, stretch out, adjust everything, and test the controls. While some features may seem unnecessary, like bluetooth capabilities, they may actually make a big difference when you’re out in the field for hours at a time.
What Is the Lifespan of a Combine Harvester?
It depends on the conditions it has been used in, the number of hours it has been operated, and how well it’s been maintained. If a combine has been well maintained and taken care of, then your combine could easily last 15-20 years. However, the most important metric in terms of lifespan is hours of operation.
How Many Hours Will a Combine Last?
Combines typically run for around 4,000-5,000 engine hours. Separator hours usually clock in around 2,500-3,000 as their lifespan. However, it is possible to extend the lifespan with regular maintenance and replacing broken and worn parts.
What Is Considered High Hours on a Combine?
Most farmers expect to start doing repairs around the 4,000 engine hour mark. Any time a combine is getting near the 3,000-4,000 hour mark, that would be considered high hours.
How Much Does a Used Combine Cost?
The price of a used combine will vary greatly depending on the condition, age, model, size, features, and included attachments. At MachineryPete.com, you can find combines selling anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $600,000. Whatever your budget, you can find a used combine that will work for you.
What Is the Average Cost of a Combine?
It depends on the type of combine being purchased. With such a wide range of options, it’s hard to state an average. Instead of focusing on what others are paying, think of your purchase in terms of what you should pay—select a combine that is right for your size operation and budget.
Where Can I Find the Best Combine for the Money?
At MachineryPete.com, of course! With our easy-to-use filters, you can easily search and sort to find the perfect used combine for your operation. We have thousands of listings from dealers, owners, and auctions. You can also find headers, harvesting attachments, and corn pickers. Find your new-to-you used combine today with Machinery Pete.