What are the important things to check when buying used heavy construction equipment? To expand their fleet, contractors who are growing their construction or landscaping firms must make the same decision: whether to buy or rent their next piece of heavy equipment. Another crucial decision for organizations considering long-term expenditures in owning their own gear is whether to buy brand new or used equipment.

Both have benefits, but in many circumstances, purchasing older equipment is a superior financial decision. Used equipment is less expensive up front than new equipment, making it easier for business owners to strategically expand their fleet. While heavy gear is designed to last a long time, this does not guarantee that all old equipment will continue to work well. It’s vital to understand how to acquire secondhand heavy equipment and do due diligence when purchasing your next piece of machinery.

Buying Used Heavy Construction Equipment


If you’ve concluded that buying secondhand machinery is the best option for your next equipment purchase, there are a few factors to keep in mind when making your selection. You’ll need to consider both short- and long-term business requirements. With so many alternatives, it’s critical to narrow down your choices and invest in the most appropriate machine for your purposes. Here are a few pointers on purchasing used construction equipment:

We’ll go through the top things to look for when buying used equipment in this used equipment buying guide so you can make a wise investment that will last for years.


Every piece of heavy equipment is built to perform a certain function. Backhoes, excavators, and loaders are all built to perform specific duties, making them efficient and productive in specific situations. Assess your present fleet and evaluate which machinery applications you require the most to improve your operations and profitability when purchasing secondhand equipment.


It’s not enough to know what kind of machinery you’ll need; you’ll also need to know how much of it you’ll need. Purchasing machines that are too small for your project can result in wasteful work and lengthier project completion times. Buying tools that are excessive for the work, on the other hand, comes with its own set of dangers and greater operational expenses. To identify the correct size of equipment for your normal jobs, consult a heavy equipment specialist.


You should also examine the environment in which you’ll be operating your machine when purchasing old equipment. Consider the kind of jobs you do and what qualities your equipment requires to function properly. Consider the weather and whether you require an enclosed or covered cab. The terrain on the project location will also decide whether your machines need tracks or wheels.


Work tool attachments can increase the adaptability of your machine, allowing you to achieve more in less time. Make sure the model you’re looking at is compatible with the attachments you’ll be using before you buy old equipment. As your company grows, you’ll need to consider what work tool attachments you’ll require for future projects.


After you’ve decided which make and model of machinery you’d want to add to your fleet, the following step is to find the proper machine that will last you for years. You’ll need to know what to look for when purchasing used heavy equipment for this. Create an inspection checklist to ensure you’re purchasing a high-quality, well-maintained machine. When you begin your inspection, keep the following factors in mind when purchasing used construction equipment.

Buying Used Heavy Construction Equipment


The longevity of a heavy machine is decided by its total operational hours, not its miles, as it is with cars and trucks. Every piece of equipment has an inbuilt clock that counts how many hours it has been in operation. The amount of time a machine has been in use in comparison to its age defines whether it has been over or underused throughout its life. For example, two identical models created in the same year can be compared, but one may have significantly less operational time, making it more desirable.

While overall working time isn’t the only factor to consider, it can help build a picture of how much serviceable life a machine has remaining. It might also give you an idea of what to expect in terms of upcoming maintenance and replacement needs.


The fluids in a machine are similar to its vital signs, and their state can reveal a lot about the machine’s current health. Hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid, engine oil, and coolant are all fluids that should be checked on a used piece of machinery. If these fluids are clean and at a good level, the machine has likely been well-maintained over the years. If these fluids are polluted or at an insufficient level, the machine may have been neglected.

Ask for an oil sample from the vendor if you notice symptoms like water in the engine oil or froth in the coolant. These features could suggest that the machine is on the verge of developing more serious problems, such as a blown head gasket or other serious engine problems. Always include in these necessary repairs and replacements into the overall asking price to have a better understanding of the genuine value of any old heavy gear.


When purchasing used construction equipment, one of the most important factors to examine is what occurs when the engine is started. You want to know the engine is operating smoothly when you start it. If it has trouble starting, it could be a sign of engine trouble. Pay special attention to the exhaust of the engine. You may observe blue, black, or white smoke as you start the engine. Blue smoke could suggest an oil leak that’s causing the engine to overheat, while black smoke could indicate a filtration issue. Water or coolant is flowing into the engine oil, resulting in white smoke.

While inspecting the engine’s exhaust, listen for any unusual sounds or feel any vibrations. You can better comprehend the engine’s health by paying attention to what you feel and hear.

Buying Used Heavy Construction Equipment


The maintenance records of a machine, more than any other element, will tell you everything you need to know about its condition. Inquire about the machine’s history, particularly whether the previous owner followed the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance intervals. The records will show if there is a pattern and if the machine has been well-maintained.

Pay special attention to routine fluid changes, such as engine oil, transmission, and hydraulic fluids, and request an oil sample from the vendor. Take note of how often the filters have been cleaned and replaced, as well as whether any key parts have been replaced or rebuilt. Replacement components should always be certified by the original manufacturer, therefore always inquire about the provenance of any replacement parts. The maintenance history of a machine reveals what the machine has already been through as well as what to expect from future repairs.


Wear and tear will be seen on any used equipment. However, it’s critical to distinguish between what’s typical and anticipated wear and tear and what’s a clear indicator of abuse and neglect. Begin by looking for evidence of corrosion and wear, such as rust, on the machine’s undercarriage. Pay special attention to any sections that appear to have been repaired lately. These modifications could have been made in a hurry to improve the machine’s appearance before it was sold.

Perform a complete walk-through of the machine, scrutinizing the front, rear, and sides. Any structural deterioration, such as hairline fractures that may lead to deeper breaks or welding patches that signal weak places, should be noted. Look for any body damage and inspect the cab thoroughly at all times. Finally, take a close check at the tires or tracks. Tires and tracks that have worn out will need to be replaced, which will add to your total investment cost.


If the used piece of equipment you’re considering appears to have been well-maintained and cared for, the next step is to test it out and, if possible, request a professional inspection. Allow your operator to accompany you to the seller to trial before you purchase, providing you with a thorough understanding of your potential investment. You can only learn so much about a machine until you gain some hands-on experience with it.

Experiment with all of the controls and functions, and try the machine at various speeds. Observe any sounds or vibrations that occur during specific movements, such as grinding or clunking, when using the machine. Most importantly, think about the machine’s overall safety. Workers may be put in danger if a machine does not operate correctly. You’ll be more confident in your decision to buy used equipment from this particular dealer after you’ve test driven the machine.

Source : QuinnCompany

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