There are some “Big-As-F” Reasons to Buy Used Equipment and we’ve already provided 8 Quick Tips for Buying Used Equipment. Because the most important step in buying any used equipment is to learn as much as you can about the machine, its history, and the seller, we’re taking some extra time to describe How to Evaluate Used Equipment Before Buying!! Today, we’ll look at what goes into Inspecting the Machine!!
You’ll want to examine any piece of used equipment at every level, including mechanical and hydraulic, structural and in-cab, fluids and exhaust, and tire/track components.
- Engines, transmissions, and hydraulic parts should be revved and checked for abnormal sounds, smoke, warning lights, proper part movement, wear, and leaks. Ensure that the machine does not struggle to start and that it works well in all forward gears and in reverse. Pressure readings can further demonstrate that the motor is producing the proper output.
- The structural body of the machine should be checked for severe wear-and-tear, cracks, rust, and welding, especially around arms, buckets or blades, locks, sprockets, and tires or tracks. Compared to the original steel, welding is almost never as straight or as strong.
- The interior of the cab, from cleanliness to satisfactory operation, can also tell you a lot. Controls – including steering mechanisms, pedals, dashboard functions, and seat adjustments – should all work properly. Comfort should be an important factor as well, from the seat to the vibrations of the machine to visibility through the protective glass.
- Fluids and exhaust offer important indicators to equipment quality. There should be appropriate levels of engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and hydraulic fluid, and none should be dirty. Analyze the engine oil to be sure there is no water or metallic particles in the oil. Bearings, sprockets, and other pivot points should be well-greased. Air filters should be functioning and should not reveal a dust-trail if removed. Finally, a machine’s exhaust after a cold-start tells a story:
- Black smoke means there’s too much fuel in the air/fuel mix or the air filter is dirty.
- Blue smoke means the engine is burning oil due to a leak, or the oil was simply over-filled.
- White smoke means fuel is burning incorrectly, possibly due to water leaking into the fuel or a compression issue.
- Tires, tracks, drivetrains, and brakes must be in working order. Cracks or bubbles in tires and tracks can indicate that the machine is often left outside in the elements, while uneven wear could mean the equipment has a faulty drivetrain. Brakes should not be very noisy and all tracks and bolts should be in place – replacements for each of these can be costly.
- Equipment Tier and technology level is important, as well. If the machine is more advanced than you are used to, are you ready to upgrade? Do you know how to properly use the equipment?
Inspecting machinery is a key step in buying used equipment. If you’re buying online, some auctioneers and vendors will conduct an independent and detailed inspection. On Equipment Trader, our dealers provide comprehensive descriptions and great photos of their for-sale equipment to let you know you’re getting the best product possible!! In addition to inspecting the machine, it’s also best to learn the history of the equipment and to research the owner/dealer/seller – and we’ll be posting about those best practices for conducting those evaluations soon!!
What do you look for when inspecting and buying equipment?? Let us know in the comments below!!
About the Author
Ethan is a Content Curator for Trader Interactive, serving the commercial brands Commercial Truck Trader, Commercial Web Services, and Equipment Trader. Ethan believes in using accessible language to elevate conversations about industry topics relevant to commercial dealers and their buyers.