Tips for Buying Used Heavy Equipment

posted on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in How To

Tips for Buying Used Heavy Equipment

Plan before you purchase is a good rule of thumb no matter what you are buying. When it comes to the purchase of used heavy equipment, gathering information before making a final decision is critical. Equipment is what literally drives your operations, and if you make a purchase without completing your due diligence, your investment could turn into a sunk cost.

There are a handful of tips to remember when you are making your next purchase.

Consider the purpose behind your equipment purchase

Under most circumstances, a purchase is made to fulfill a need. Buying used heavy equipment is no different. Make sure that you can articulate what the primary use will be for this piece of equipment, and whether you may need attachments in order to complete the work you need done. Knowing the purpose of your purchase can help narrow down your options.

Having a specific purpose in mind will also help you make sure the product you are buying includes all of the features you need. Even the smallest spec can make a big difference.

Don’t forget to look further down the road, either. Do you plan to expand your operations? If so, you may want to invest in a larger piece of equipment. The last thing you want to do is to purchase a smaller machine now and then have to upgrade in a couple of years.

Find a reputable heavy equipment dealer

Trust is critical when you are purchasing a pre-owned piece of machinery, whether it is a car or a tractor. You need a dealer that has high standards for maintaining their used equipment. It would also be beneficial to partner with a used heavy equipment dealer that can offer financing and warranties, making it easier and less expensive to replace or repair parts.

Have a checklist for inspecting used heavy equipment

It goes without saying, but assessing the condition of the equipment is essential. You will need to find out the total operating hours of the machine. Operating hours are the chief contributor to wear and tear. You will also want to check to make sure that the service and maintenance schedule has been followed. Both practices will help give you an informed determination of the equipment’s value, but a closer inspection will also be necessary.

Any physical inspection of used heavy equipment should include:

  • Checking the engine. Pay particular attention to the color of the smoke coming from the exhaust. It can serve as an indicator of the health of the engine. You should also take note of any noises or vibrations coming from the engine during the test drive.
  • Checking the tires. If the tread on the tires is worn down, you may have to replace them soon, which is another expense on top of the cost of the equipment. It is also worth taking a look at the brakes, which could turn into another expense after the purchase.
  • Checking the fluids. Fluids are what keeps your equipment running. Check the engine oil, transmission fluid, hydraulic flood, and coolant and make sure none of them are low or dirty. The fluid levels can offer a window into poor upkeep, which can then lead to more extreme engine malfunctions and costly repairs.
  • Checking the undercarriage. Look for cracks, leaks, or signs of rough usage in the cylinders, loaders, arms and hoses. Keep an eye out for rust, too.
  • Checking the cab. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in the operator’s seat, so you might as well make sure everything in the cab is in good condition. Check to see if the sticks, pedals, gears and dashboard are all functional.
  • Watch out for welding. If there is welding in places like the backhoe, buckets and loader arms, it was almost certainly to repair a break, indicating diminished strength.

Research the market value of the equipment

It will be easier for you to assess the value of a used machine once you have done your research. Dive into the World Wide Web and track the market value of your equipment over several months, comparing it to the prices paid at action for that same equipment model. There are also going to be price differences in how the machines are equipped.

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