The cost of new construction equipment has recently risen considerably as supply channels experience disruption. Projects are experiencing delays, and companies face productivity shortfalls.
Firms are now analyzing used construction equipment options from local specialists to regain productivity and enhance their team’s ability to complete projects according to the timeline. But buying used equipment comes with unique considerations. So to help save your organization money and ensure the right fit for your team, we’re highlighting seven signs of damage to look for when reviewing used construction equipment for sale.
Excessive noise is a clear sign of a mechanical issue when running used equipment. While you expect the drivetrain to make some noise when you run the equipment, if the system emits a screeching or a hissing noise, this could be a sign that there’s a significant problem to fix before you can safely use the equipment.
Another element to analyze within the drivetrain is the level of component wear. The components that comprise the drivetrain can be expensive, and any fixes may require you to replace the entire system. This replacement cost could make the purchase cost prohibitive.
While not the most obvious sign of a problem with used construction equipment that’s up for sale, fresh paint is a leading indicator that you might want to pull back from the purchase. It likely means that the machinery owner is trying to cover up an issue with the equipment exterior.
Often, that issue relates to rust on the exterior surfaces. And if the outside metal begins to rust, the equipment could fail within a short timeframe. Rust indicates the equipment is degrading and that it has limited years of use left.
Tires with cracks in the surfaces or small holes in the rubber could indicate a poorly maintained machine. While you won’t have to spend too much additional money to replace the tires, cracks in the tire structure likely mean the entire vehicle has not been cared for to the highest professional standards. You may wish to ask the equipment owner about the tires and the machine’s current maintenance record to determine whether the issue is only tire-related.
Step inside the equipment and spend some time maneuvering it. How smooth are the controls? Can you move the system without applying too much pressure to the gear shift and steering system? You may find that older equipment has stiff control systems which can stick in certain positions and become difficult to move.
Spend a few moments in the operator’s chair to determine whether your team will be able to use the system effectively. Remember, they will be in that seat for a few hours per day, and the level of control they achieve will determine their productivity levels on your projects.
As with any vehicle, the fluids within your construction equipment play a key role in determining the system performance in the long term. Has the owner taken the time to replace the fluids and manage the fluid maintenance effectively? In some cases, you will be able to answer this question by looking underneath the machine. You might find that fluids leak below the equipment and pool on the ground. It could be that coolant or brake fluid is leaking from the unit.
These issues are indicative of numerous mechanical problems, from damaged hoses to broken pumps. So take your time inspecting the area around the equipment to ensure no fluid is leaking.
Welding around joints in the equipment is a clear sign of a past repair problem. While not a warning sign of current damage, welding indicates you should discuss the issue with the owner. Ask them why there is welding in the area. And discuss the extent of the damage that led to the repair.
Discuss the steps taken to ensure that the repair issue doesn’t occur in the future. Their answers will provide an insight into the quality of the repairs and maintenance completed on the system.
In many cases, the equipment itself will let you know of a potential problem with clear warning lights on the dash. These warning lights mean you should ask to start the vehicle yourself to watch for the readings from the system. The process can help, for example, when you’re buying used dump trucks and want to check for potential issues before the purchase. The check engine light and the oil light indicator could let you know of further mechanical problems before you move forward.
So now that you know the signs to watch for when reviewing used construction equipment for sale, let’s explore a few tips to help you complete your purchase.
What are the operating benefits of the equipment, and how much value can they bring to your projects? Spend some time analyzing the equipment data online and try speaking directly with a rep from the manufacturer. This conversation will help you gain more insight into the system before going to the used equipment seller and reviewing the unit directly.
Access the repair history for the equipment before you finalize the sale. Beware of companies that don’t have access to this history. Within the documented repair history, look for signs of recent changes to the information. The historical data should include who completed the repair and the date they completed the work.
Ask the equipment owner about their personal experience with the equipment. You’ll get a sense of their honesty and understanding of the system. You can also then learn more about the unit and its current performance capacity.
Used construction equipment is a significant investment for your company and your team. Take your time to analyze the system and speak with an expert before making any final decisions.