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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | May 1, 2009

My son and I agree on most things, but not everything. He takes things a little more seriously than I do. I like to include some humor throughout the day. While he enjoys a good laugh, there are things I laugh at while he wonders what is so funny.

We both enjoy buying used equipment because there is good value in buying used. I buy used when I have to because I have gotten everything I can out of the old piece I own and it is headed for the scrap pile. Repairs are made on used machinery because I believe I can buy parts cheaper than I can by trading up.

Buying used trucks, tractors, and implements usually works out for the better, but not always. Occasionally, we buy something that would have been better left on the lot for someone else.

Our 1979 GMC semi tractor was something that, in looking back, we might have been better off if someone had outbid us when it was bought at auction. It was our first semi tractor and the fact that we were high bid should have been a clue that other buyers were not willing to pay that much for it.

It was driven home and we were feeling pleased about our purchase. Over the next months and years there were numerous repairs and one trip in particular to the repair facility had us reeling when we received the bill for the work. The repairs were greater than the price of some of the used trucks that were parked on the lot.

I swallowed hard and wrote the check hoping all that money would mean our troubles were over. It was still an old truck and there were more repairs until one day when the engine blew up. We knew the old truck had reached the end of its life. It was replaced with another used truck and since we were a little wiser now in making a truck buying decision, the replacement has proven itself a reliable tool. The first truck was an expensive education.

I tried to put some humor in that expensive repair lesson and told my son our farm’s motto is “New equipment is for sissies.” Anybody can buy new. All they need is money or enough credit. It takes a real person to buy used and live with the decision as repairs are made because there is no warranty to fall back on.

Repairs and buying parts are a way of life around here. However, last week I was wondering if buying parts and repairs are the wiser decisions. Is there a point where you have to walk away? The Steiger, a 1975 model that has had the engine and transmission overhauled, developed a leaky radiator.

Maybe a leaky radiator can be expected occasionally, but this will be the third radiator we have bought this year. The semi got a new radiator and so did the John Deere 4-wheel drive. Did you know that there are not any radiators for sale for a Steiger from 1975? If it has to be replaced, it will be with a custom-made radiator.

For the price of a radiator, I can keep a 300 horsepower tractor running. That is how I will rationalize the repair.

My son did not see the humor when I had “New equipment is for sissies” written on my business cards. I will pay for the third radiator and hope for better days.

Buying three radiators in a year is not funny, but what can you do. It is either laugh or cry. I would rather laugh.

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