do tractors have titles

Do Tractors Have Titles? Do you have to register a tractor in the US?

Surprisingly, average tractors don’t have a title because tractors are hardly stolen. However, in some states in the US, heavy-duty tractors have titles.

Buying a tractor is nothing like buying a car; no paperwork is involved. You only get a receipt as proof of payment, the same as when you purchase groceries from a store.

Since tractors don’t have titles, how can I prove that a tractor is mine? There are many questions associated with this. So today, I will show you why tractors don’t have tractors, how you can identify your tractors, and what to do when your tractor is stolen.

Firstly, let’s understand what a title is.

What Is A Title?

A title, also called a certificate of title, is a legal document establishing your legal vehicle ownership. Usually, this document is issued by the state department of motor vehicles, regardless of whether it is a truck, car, lorry, or luxury van.

In the case of tractors, there is no provision for such. However, some states permit construction tractors to have a title. So when purchasing a tractor, the only proof of ownership you have is the purchase receipt. This is pretty surprising.

This, however, has placed the tractor in a position where it can be easily stolen and difficult to trace. When your car gets stolen, you can easily find it because of its unique title, but this is not the case with a tractor.

However, some states have different regulations regarding this. For example, if you purchase a truck tractor weighing more than 10,000 pounds in New Hampshire, you get an ownership certificate with it. This applies to all tractors, regardless of whether they are new or used.

How To Identify Your Tractor 

Keep the receipt

When you buy a new tractor, you will be issued a receipt. You must request a receipt when buying a used tractor from a second-hand dealer or individual. Never leave without any proof of payment.

After getting the receipt, you have to safeguard it and keep it in a safe place, as it stands as the only valid proof of ownership you have on the tractor.

Find out the serial number of your tractor.

After getting a receipt, the next thing you have to do is to find out the serial number of your tractor. Having the serial number info of your tractor gives you some form of legitimacy over it. You will give this to the authorities when your tractor is stolen. A stolen tractor can be tracked by its serial number. 

If you have difficulties reading the serial number on your tractor, kindly check for useful guidelines.

Get a postcard 

However, this step is not mandatory, but it is helpful, as it gives you a shred of additional evidence that you are the tractor owner. To get a postcard, have the seller write the receipt on a postcard and send it to your home address. In this way, you have the federal date stamp, which, as stated earlier, can serve as legal proof of evidence.

However, in your local environment, you can try asking the notary public for more advice on how it has been done in your region and other ways to get more proof of evidence over your tractor.


Photos of you on the tractor 

This is a very nice idea, but not very valid. You can take a picture with you on the tractor immediately after you purchase it. This also helps in the ownership claims.

Odometer or Hourmeter Reading 

You can take the reading of the Odometer and document it. You can take a photo of the odometer and save it using a date stamp.

For example, you save the image as “John Deere 520 Tractor Odometer Reading – January 2, 2023.jpeg“.

How To Protect Your Tractor From Theft

Since tractors don’t have titles, they are susceptible to theft. Also, the sad fact is that the serial number can be changed, which means you may lose ownership of your tractor, without additional ownership proof.

In this case, ensure you properly store your tractor in a safe zone. Always ensure it is properly parked and switched off. In addition, to keep all the necessary proofs intact, I explained a few in the above section, “how to identify your tractor”.

Remember, only a serial number is never enough. Get as many proofs as possible.

How To Be Certain That There isn’t a Lien on a Tractor When Purchasing It

It’s difficult to determine if there is a lien against a second-hand tractor since tractors don’t have titles or a well-documentary registration body.

However, it isn’t possible. To ascertain that the used tractor you purchase is free from any form of lien, follow the two steps outlined below.

  1. Ask the seller/owner – If there are any outstanding liens on the tractors.
  2. Conduct a lien search – Most times, some sellers may want to lie. In this case, conduct a lien search using the tractor made, serial number, model, and year. The liens search should be conducted in the state or county where the current owner is located and not the state or country where the sale was closed.

If you find out that there is a lien on the farm tractor, you are not to panic at all. Follow the steps below.

  1. Get a signed lien release letter from the lien-holder/creditor: You should be able to deal with the lien-holder or creditor directly and payout. You need good negotiation skills at this stage.
  2. Get payout instructions directly from the lien-holder/creditor: dealing with the lien-holder or creditor is safer. Don’t trust the seller too much.  This is because if you don’t have the right procedure and payout the full money as stated by the lienholder or creditor, there may be consequences that you will not want to partake in.
  3. Get a signed bill of sale: The last step entails you get a signed copy of the bill of sale. Ensure that all the appropriate information is listed on the bill of sale.


Although a tractor does not come with a title, you can obtain proofs of ownership that you can use in place of a title.

These include the receipt of purchase, serial number, a postcard, or photographs documenting the purchase chances.

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