5 Tips for Buying Used Heavy Equipment

Heavy equipment

The global construction industry is large. So, too, is the heavy equipment industry, in 2015, was worth about $145.5 billion. The United States has the second largest construction market on the planet. It has a market share of about 10%. In 2010, there were 8.7 million American construction workers, according to the National Association of Home Builders. If you have a construction business, you may be looking to talk to heavy equipment sales companies to get what you need to finish your projects.

Determine what exactly you need for your job. The first step in getting the might equipment is deciding what you need to do that job. You can talk to heavy equipment sales companies, who may be able to offer guidance, if you need that. For example, you know you are going to need sweep trucks, but maybe you are not sure which ones would serve you best. The heavy equipment sales company can help.

Next you need to evaluate the used heavy equipment, these tips should help:

1. Look at the maintenance record. You would not buy a used car without a Carfax report, would you? You need to know how well the machine has been maintained, what the maintenance schedule has been and what work it has needed. You should ask if the records are complete. There is a chance that the machinery was kept by someone who did maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer but was not great at record keeping.

2. Look at the state of the equipment. You have the records and you have asked the heavy equipment sales company about its maintenance history but how does it look? If it shows a lot of wear and tear, more than you would expect from the paper trail and what you have been told, that may mean you are not being given all of the information you need to make an informed decision. Here are some things you should look for:

  • Rust
  • Hairline cracks
  • Other damage
  • Damage to the tires
  • Damage to the undercarriage
  • While signs of damage may mean you have to spend a lot more on maintenance but any used machinery may have some general signs of wear and tear. That is normal.

3. Look at the fluid levels. There are a number of fluids that you should check on used equipment. The fluid levels should tell you a lot about the state of the used equipment. This can also tell you how well the heavy equipment sales company performed maintenance on it. If the liquid levels are low or the fluids are dirty could mean that there has been no real maintenance schedule or it can indicate much bigger issues with the machinery. The fluids you should look at include:

  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Oil
  • Break Fluid

4. Ask about how long the equipment can be used. You need to ask the used heavy sales company how long you can expect to be able to use the machine. This is very much akin to checking the mileage on a used car or truck. Most engines that are fueled by diesel are able to be used for up to tens of thousands of hours. If you are looking at some equipment that is reaching the end of its useful life, look at the price and see if it might still be worth it. Bear in mind that you may have to pay more for maintenance on an older piece of equipment so that needs to be factored into the cost. Now, if the machine in question has not been maintained well, the number of hours it has on it may not matter. For example, a well maintained piece of equipment that is older may run better than a younger piece of equipment that has not been so well taken care of.

5. Look at the engine exhaust. Fire up the machinery and see what happens. The color of the smoke can tell you a lot about the machinery. Blue smoke can indicate the burning of oil, white the fuel is not burning correctly and black that the fuel/air mix is off.

Buying used heavy equipment is not rocket science but does take some effort and energy. These steps should help you buy the right machinery.

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