One of the most commonly used heavy machines on a construction site is an excavator. It therefore is no surprise that some construction companies prefer to buy their own excavators as opposed to continuously hiring them.
More often than not, it makes more economic sense to purchase a used excavator than a new one. When a construction company owner sees an advert for an excavator for sale, there are a few points to consider before just leaping at the purchase.
Investigate Before You Invest
Like many other second-hand purchases you might make, scrutinising the excavator you need to buy is very necessary. But, if you’ve never bought an excavator or any other heavy-duty machine, you might not be aware of everything you need to check.
Here are a few pointers to give you an idea of everything that needs investigating before you invest a lot of money into such a huge purchase.
When it comes to purchasing a used heavy-duty machine, the golden rule is: “Never take anything at face value.” Do an operational check on the machine. Take the machine for a test drive. If you won’t be the person who will be driving the excavator, take the driver with to test drive the vehicle.
Listen for strange noises that could indicate a mechanical problem. Ensure gauges, lights, horn and door latches all function as they should. The windscreen should be crack-free, and the wipers should be in working condition. Connection points, bushings, and pins should have no slack. If connections are too loose, it may have a negative influence on the type of work you’re going to do.
General External Condition
Just because you are buying a used machine doesn’t mean it needs to be in a shoddy state. The external parts of the excavator should be free of warps, bends and dents. Damaged external parts will need to be replaced, which could result in huge costs. Make sure that cost doesn’t become your burden.
Examine the engine and ensure there are no oil leaks. Inspect other fluid levels and make sure there is no unusual discolouration. Ensure there is no smoke coming from the engine when the vehicle starts up. Engine repair won’t only be costly but will also delay the work that you’re buying the machine for.
Inspect the Hydraulics
It’s very crucial to inspect the hydraulic pump along with all other cylinders, lines, and hoses. Anything that is leaking or shows signs of wear and tear will need to be replaced. These costs need to be factored into the final cost of the excavator.
Tracks or Tyres
Excavator tyres or tracks are extremely costly to replace. It might not be possible for you to offset the cost immediately after the actual purchase. Since tracks and tyres are crucial for the safe operation of your excavator, it’s important to ensure there is no damage.
Cracked rubbers could be an indication of heat exposure or being continuously run into curbs. Tracks that constantly lose tension are a clear indication that the tension points are weak or worn and need to be replaced. Again, this cost should be factored into the total purchase price. It might be possible to negotiate a reduced price with the dealer which would free up the funds to do necessary repairs and replacements.
Be sure to check the service records. They should balance with what you see on the excavator during your investigation. They should also be able to tell you the exact age of the vehicle and give you a clear indication of what has been repaired or replaced. This will also give you an indication of potential problems to expect in the future.
Availability of Replacement Parts
If you think you’re getting a “too good to be true” deal, it might be because the excavator is old. With older models you face the added challenge of finding replacement parts. Some models no longer have parts available at all. A point to remember here, the longer your excavator stands in the garage waiting for spares, the less work is being done at the job site.
Consider the Dealer’s Reputation
Take the time to research the dealer’s reputation. Buying a machine from a dealer with a dodgy track record might result in problems when you have queries. Enquire about warranties, discounts and service packages. Read through the sales contract to ensure there are no hidden costs that will trip you up later.
If you’re going to get your machine serviced at the same dealer, you might want to enquire about the working hours. You need to know that there will be staff available to assist with a potential problem if you work outside of normal working hours.
A Final Thought About Buying Excavators
Aside from our tips, the most crucial point of advice we can offer you is to make sure you purchase your machine from a very reputable and upfront dealer. Ensure the vehicle can be test driven and all past and potential problems identified. This will go a long way to ensuring that you have a used excavator that will give you the most value for money!