Best Practices

Tips for Buying Used Equipment

When you decide to buy used equipment for your fleet, you want to make sure you’re getting an effective machine that meets your needs. The problem is that sometimes it can be difficult to know what you’re buying and whether the machine is used equipment that will last without the potential of requiring expensive repairs, accompanied by downtime, and accelerated wear and tear after you purchase. 

To help you avoid unnecessary costs, we’ve put together several things you should pay attention to when looking for quality used equipment.

Where has the machine been?

Before buying used equipment, you want to see the service history. Check if the previous owners followed a preventive maintenance program and whether it has had most of its wear parts and components replaced at the correct intervals. You also want to find out if the fluids were changed regularly and if there were any major repairs.

Inspect the undercarriage

In most cases, OEM undercarriages are better than aftermarket ones, because manufacturers tend to focus more on life cycle and long wear life. Typically, bushings and link assemblies from manufacturers are thicker and harder. Always ask the seller if the undercarriage is OEM and check for a manufacturer’s name or logo on it.

Look at the fluids

When trying to purchase quality used equipment, you want to check the fluids. Inspect the color and cleanliness of the coolant, engine fluid, hydraulic fluid, and transmission fluid. If they are dirty or the gaskets are not filled to the right levels, it’s an indicator that the machine has not been well maintained by its prior owner. You should also watch out for milky colored oil, bubble formations in the coolant system, and oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil, which could all be indications of bigger issues.

Check for signs of wear

Machine wear and tear is going to happen over time, even if the equipment is operated correctly. However, certain kinds of wear can be a sign that the machine was not well taken care of or that there was serious damage in the past. Watch out for these types of damage: 

  • Rust and decay
  • Dents or repaired welds 
  • Cracks along the steel

Make sure the price and description are right

Buying used equipment will cost less than purchasing a new machine, but the price should be comparable to other similar pieces of equipment. Check used equipment sales websites and talk to local dealers to see if the price looks right. Also remember that when a new machine is sold, its total depreciation will usually occur within a year and represents a 20% to 40% drop from the original price. If the machine is well maintained, however, its value can remain the same indefinitely, after that initial drop.

The last thing you want to think about is whether the actual condition of the equipment matches the description the seller provides.  If you inspect the equipment or have an expert inspect it and find that there are significant differences, you should not purchase that machine.

Contact Heavy Machines Inc. to find quality used equipment today!