Buying Guide for Used Heavy Equipment

Financing new equipment isn’t always possible, whether you’re starting a firm from the ground up or growing an existing fleet. But how can you be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when buying used machinery? Read our Buying Guide for Used Heavy Equipment to learn how to shop with confidence.

Buying Guide for Used Heavy Equipment

Purchasing secondhand equipment necessitates following a step-by-step procedure that will lead you through each important inspection. While used machines don’t differ much from new machines in terms of operation and give the same functionality, there are several warning signals to watch for when purchasing a secondhand machine.

It takes time and effort to figure out what works best for your company and how it may improve your bottom line. Downtime, expensive maintenance expenses, and inoperable equipment may happen if you make hasty decisions and fail to conduct thorough inspections. You may be sure in your selection if you get the right advice from our professionals.

The following are some of the benefits and reasons to acquire old equipment:

  • Limited depreciation
  • Excellent resale value
  • Consistent operations

When you buy new heavy machinery, it depreciates quickly, frequently within the first year of ownership. Heavy equipment depreciation can be as much as 20% to 40% lower than the original retail price in the first year following the acquisition. However, after the first value reduction, it will most likely level and remain unchanged.

You also have an advantage when it comes to the resale value of secondhand heavy equipment. Purchasing old machines helps you to acquire a machine with a stable value. If you keep it maintained, you’ll be more likely to recoup your initial investment when you put it back on the market. Saving service and maintenance receipts could also help you get a better resale price.

Manufacturers may make significant and little adjustments from one generation of equipment models to the next.

Although used equipment may be less expensive, it may lack the competitive advantages of contemporary fleet management technologies, updated safety features, or quality of life enhancements such as a more spacious cab.

Used heavy equipment, on the other hand, can retain its value for years because the essential functionality and working power are still intact. A secondhand piece of heavy equipment can perform as well as new equipment at a fraction of the price. This isn’t to imply that your company shouldn’t invest in new technology when it’s necessary, but be aware of how the changes may influence your bottom line.

Heavy Equipment includes machines such as:
Cold planers
Motor graders
Skid steers
Wheel loaders
When looking for used heavy machinery, the first thing that comes to mind is to look on the internet. It may appear to be the quickest and most convenient option, but there’s no substitute for working with a reputable dealer who will assist you before, during, and after the sale. Other things to consider while searching for secondhand equipment, in addition to your dealer experience, are fleet requirements, workplace environments, cost, and required technologies.
Here are five things to keep in mind while looking for old heavy equipment.
1. Locate a Trustworthy Dealer
When it comes to buying used heavy equipment, the company’s standards for maintaining each unit and understanding your specific demands are the most important factors to consider. It’s also a good idea to work with a company that offers financing programs and warranties to make replacing or repairing parts easier and less expensive. Ensures that equipment is maintained on a regular basis and that we supply high-quality equipment to make it easier for you to obtain repairs and replacement parts.
OEM components for secondhand heavy equipment are critical because they’re designed to fit with your machines and allow them to perform at full potential. OEM used equipment replacement parts also save you money because they are frequently covered by warranties, resulting in longer-lasting repairs.
2. Determine the needs of the fleet and the project
Do you have a certain machine in mind when you look at your fleet as a whole? What kind of solution will work in tandem with your projects, increase efficiency, and be compatible with the dynamics of your current equipment? You may make comparisons by knowing the specific type of engine, as well as the attachments, capabilities, and size. You can then choose the brand and model that best meets your needs.
When it comes to getting the work done faster, bigger is sometimes better, but it can also be more expensive to operate and maintain. Smaller versions are easier to maneuver and use less gasoline, although they are less efficient in some situations. After you’ve come up with a sound plan, look into the going fee for the machine’s brand and model. It’s possible that you’ll have more than one alternative for your requirements.
You can come up with a maximum bid that incorporates transportation charges after you examine the requirements of existing and future jobs.
3. Examine the working environment
In what types of environments do you work? Is the weather cool or hot? Are there any seasonal dangers to watch out for? What’s the lay of the land like? You can be looking for an enclosed cab or tracked vs. wheeled machines in some circumstances. Understanding the working environments of your team will help you cut down your used equipment alternatives.
4. Understand the Value of Used Equipment
Before making a purchase, most managers look at the upfront cost. However, you must consider the cost of owning used engines. Maintenance, insurance, transportation, fuel costs, and other costs are all included in the purchase price. Consider how it will fit into your budget and future plans.
5. Recognize the technology you’ll require.
As previously said, equipment tends to retain a large portion of its value. While this may be true, other types of technology, such as telematics devices, can be added to machines. Consider your projects to see what amount of technology you’ll require. Are they straight or do they necessitate the use of logistics and telematics?
The most up-to-date technology may not be available with all used equipment, and availability will be lower than that of new engines in general. Choose the gadget that best suits your work environment, and think about investing in more popular versions so that replacement parts are easier to come by. Purchasing specialty equipment necessitates a search for one-of-a-kind items. Excavators, cranes, and dozers are more popular, and new and used OEM components are available.

Designed an inspection checklist for secondhand heavy equipment to assist you in your search for the perfect piece of machinery. What may appear to be a time-consuming process will ultimately assist you in making the optimal investment for your organization. Used equipment examination, which includes anything from checking fluids and documentation to inspecting signs of wear and the number of hours used by the previous owner, can save you money by preventing you from making a large purchase that will require unanticipated repairs.
The best advice we can give is to always choose engines that have been well-maintained. Here are some things to look for when determining the difference between a neglected and well-maintained machine.
1. The Equipment’s Age
Knowing how old the used equipment is might help you predict how long it will last in the future. It also gives a rough estimate of how much it’s worth. Is it more than ten years old, or is it yet in its first three years? The age also indicates how much maintenance will be required and can even reveal sections that may fail within the following few years. When calculating the asking price of a secondhand machine, you might factor in replacement and repair costs.
2. The Machine’s History
The heavy equipment’s history serves as a catch-all for all the inspections you’ll want to recommend. Was it, for example, utilized responsibly? How many hours and miles have you logged? The machine will be in better shape and last longer if the previous owner utilized it responsibly. However, if it is used carelessly, it will default sooner and may cause additional problems in the future. Examine the body for damage like dents and other indicators of how hard it was used, as well as fluids and exhaust.
3. Documentation that is accurate
While assessing the engine’s physical health is critical, appropriate documentation is also important. Is the machine subject to any liens? Is it possible for the dealer to verify trustworthiness? Always request used equipment maintenance records as well as a summary of major services conducted. Fluid change intervals, the average frequency of maintenance problems, and the occurrences of serious problems can all be found in the papers.
Examine the oil-sampling records and make sure the suspension, hydraulic, engine, and transmission components have all been serviced. Documentation will show the difference between carelessness and appropriate maintenance, which can make or break a sale.
4. Fluid Inspections
Check the interior fluid components of the machine as you move around it. Engine fluids such as transmission, engine oil, coolant, and hydraulic liquids can be examined to learn more about how the equipment was maintained and its current state.
Gaskets that are dirty and have low fluid levels can suggest poor upkeep and maintenance. Be mindful of other alarming situations, such as water in engine oil, which could indicate that more serious problems are on the way. Cloudy oil, a coolant system with bubble formations, and oil in coolant or vice versa are among the others.
Each of these issues can lead to more serious engine issues, such as a burst head gasket, requiring costly repairs. Additional replacements on top of the asking price can quickly add up to you spending more than you bargained for.
5. Previous Business Hours
Hours on used equipment aren’t an all-or-nothing issue, but they do give you a sense of where the machine is in its life cycle — whether it’s on its last legs or still has a long life ahead of it. Calculating the cost/benefit ratio is the best technique to determine if the prior hours constitute a significant factor. You can decide whether the cost savings are worth the increased maintenance and risk of the equipment breaking down more frequently. You can also look at the odometer to see how far the vehicle has traveled.
While numbers frequently equate to reliable statistics, they are not always what they appear to be. High hours can affect the value of a diesel engine by causing it to run poorly, necessitating additional maintenance and resulting in a shorter secondhand life.
However, even with a large number of hours, if the previous owner maintained and cared for the equipment, it can still operate well. Even though the engine’s operating hours are close to their maximum, it can still be useful for less demanding jobs.
6. Warning Signs of Wear and Tear
Wear and tear on used equipment is unavoidable, but the degree of use can suggest significant damage versus routine maintenance. While some renovations might increase the value of a home, others can be a show of neglect if not done correctly before selling. Examining the machine’s body and undercarriage can reveal what future repairs would entail.
Be aware of warning signs such as:
Coolant in oil and oil in coolant
Difficult engine starting
Foam in fluid reservoirs
High temperatures in the system
Loose pins in the undercarriage
Oil leaks on or under equipment
Smoking engin
Structural damage
Welds on attachment arms
Of course, a used piece of equipment won’t be as spotless as a brand-new engine off the shelf, but some symptoms of wear are more serious than others and can suggest concerns, such as hairline fractures in the steel, corrosion, decay, dents, repair welds, and broken sections. Wear and tear might result in future malfunctions and risks, which can result in downtime. While minor imprints may have little bearing on the equipment’s function, you should always inspect the front, back, sides, undercarriage, and tires of your potential machine.
Is there any smoke coming from the engine or transmission when you start it up? Look for wear on the mounts, bearings, and spring coils on the chassis. Is it starting and stopping properly? Look for welds and signs of significant damage in the hydraulics and work tool attachments. Is it possible that the tracks or tires are worn out?
7. Machine Accuracy
Keep an eye on the technologies, attachments, and overall operation of the industrial equipment for accuracy and precision. Once it’s been compromised, it might lead to mistakes that have a negative influence on the project and your company. Operating inaccurate machinery might endanger your workers’ safety and cause delays in your projects.
8. Exhaust from the engine
When you start the engine during the test drive, pay attention to the varied noises and vibrations — the way the engine works can tell you a lot about the condition. The health of the equipment’s interior components, in particular, can be determined from the exhaust. Look for black, white, or blue smoke as a symptom:
Black Smoke: Black smoke indicates there is an imbalanced mix of air and fuel inside the engine triggered by inadequate filtration.
White Smoke: White smoke is a result of mixed fluids like coolant and water spreading in the oil from a blown head gasket.
Blue Smoke: Blue smoke indicates a broken ring or valve seal where it lets in too much oil causing the engine to overheat.
The expense of making any of these repairs might easily outweigh the machine’s value.
9. Examining the Cab
The driver’s area can also display how the equipment was maintained. Check that the sticks, pedals, gears, and dashboard are all functional, as well as the seat and steering. Even having clean, intact upholstery might indicate adequate upkeep. Is the cab pleasant to ride in? Are the controls simple to use? Do you notice any unusual vibrations?
10. Take a Test Drive Before You Buy
Sometimes the easiest method to see how well used heavy equipment is maintained is to test drive it like a car. Perform a test load with a pile of rocks or dirt to assess its capabilities. Look and listen for grinding or clunking sounds and vibrations to identify different engine performance indicators. Are there any glares in the glass that could make it difficult to see? Are there any fluid or oil leaks visible?
Make careful you test the equipment’s speed and movement using the appropriate attachments. You can also inspect the rod, control lever, rocker arm, knob, springs, bushings, and other controls for tightness.
The entire cost of ownership is more than just the amount on the tag. The following is the formula:
TCO = initial cost + cost of operation + cost of maintenance + cost of downtime + cost of production — remaining value
The initial cost is determined by the machine’s price tag number and the amount you pay for it. The cost of operation is added to the price, which covers the cost of fuel and other costs associated with keeping the engine operating. Cleaning, adjustments, repairs, and replacements are all included in the cost of maintenance.
Downtime comprises components such as delayed work from staff and lost clients, as well as what you may expect with lost production. The remaining value indicates how much the equipment will be worth after many more years of use. Production is the amount of time spent on various projects, and the remaining value indicates how much the equipment will be worth after several more years of usage.
The cost of owning secondhand heavy equipment is a crucial consideration when making a final decision. To understand what you’re paying for, you must analyze all of the aspects. Using the total list of expenses to make equipment comparisons will help you understand what to expect after the sale and how to prepare.
Seeing the big picture allows you to budget and make necessary changes to your fleet. Do you need to reduce your gasoline consumption now that you know how much goes into the total cost of ownership? Do you need to improve the efficiency of your projects? Do you need to reduce your downtime by a certain percentage? The total cost of ownership gives you a broad picture of the sale at hand.
When buying new equipment isn’t possible — or even reasonable — used equipment sales are a terrific option. However, with secondhand machines, the upfront cost may still cause some uncertainty, especially if you’re just getting your firm off the ground.
If available, use equipment finance or a rent-to-own arrangement to get the equipment you need.