Buying used construction equipment can save you thousands, especially if the equipment is well-maintained. But, shopping around for used heavy construction equipment isn't as easy as shopping for a used car. How do you know equipment is well-maintained? What are issues you should look for? When you're looking at used heavy construction equipment for sale, here are key red flags to look for:
1. Welds that aren't straight or smooth
Welds that are part of the original manufacturing process will be flawless. Jagged welds that bubble and look messy indicate clumsy repair work that you will have to pay to fix at some point.
2. Fresh paint
Reputable dealers often paint equipment to make it more attractive. Beware, however. Paint can hide bigger issues like rust, cracks, and hasty, shoddy repairs. When you see fresh paint, take your time and go through every inch of the equipment, inside and out.
3. Loose bushings and pins
Check all the bushings and pins you can reach. Even when buying used, these should not be loose. Loose bushings or pins will reduce the accuracy of the equipment and increase play.
4. Worn excavator teeth
If you're buying a used excavator, check the bucket carefully for unusual or excessive wear. The bucket teeth are a good indication of the overall condition of the excavator. Scalloped teeth occur when the bucket's teeth are worn down into half-moons, and generally means that the excavator has been improperly used, and is likely to break down later.
5. Missing bolts on tires or tracks
Check tires or tracks for missing bolts or nuts. This indicates that the tires or tracks were improperly replaced or are in dire need of replacement in the future. Missing bolts also decrease the safety of the equipment and can put you in a risky situation.
6. Old air filters
This is one tiny detail that screams red flag. When examining the engine, pull out the air filters and inspect them. Old, dirty, or clogged air filters mean that the previous owner did almost no preventative maintenance. Overlooking this small detail could mean big repair bills in the future.
7. Damaged ladder
Before getting into the cab of the machine, inspect the ladder. This is one component of heavy equipment that buyers have a tendency to overlook. Check the ladder for dents, cracks, rust, or other signs of wear and tear. Ladders on even old machines will stay in good shape if the equipment itself was well cared for.
These are seven overlooked red flags you should be aware of when buying used heavy equipment.