The top 5 things you need to consider when buying used heavy equipment

Article Written By: Clayton Arnold

When you buy used heavy equipment, you are making a significant investment into that machinery. If you make the wrong purchase you could lose thousands of dollars and set projects back weeks or even months.  Buying used heavy equipment can seem like there’s a lot of factors to consider but with the right strategy, best practices and platform, it’s actually a pretty simple process. 

Buying used heavy equipment is an excellent way to purchase high quality machinery at a fraction of the cost of new. While saving you money, it can also be acquired much easier than purchasing directly from the manufacturer, which means you can put the machinery into production faster. There are many benefits to buying used heavy machinery, you just need to know what to look for in order to find the best deals. 

Here are the five things you need to consider when buying used heavy equipment.

Determine your needs

Before you start to buy used heavy equipment, you need to determine what your needs are. Here are some areas to consider to help determine your needs. 

Project requirements: The first step in determining your needs is to identify the requirements of your project. What type of work will you be doing? What kind of terrain will you be working on? How much weight will you need to lift? Consider all the variables that will affect your equipment needs.

Location: Where will your equipment be used?. Will it be used on a construction site or in a mine? Will it be used indoors or outdoors? These factors can impact the type of equipment you need.

Equipment compatibility: Make sure that the equipment you are considering is compatible with your other equipment. Check the capacity, power, and features to make sure they match your needs.

Equipment life: Is this heavy equipment you are purchasing going to be used for this project only, or can this equipment be used at other facilities or for other purposes within your company?

Research the equipment

Once you know the type of used equipment you’re looking for, it’s time to do some research. When it comes to researching heavy equipment you are looking to buy there are several factors you must consider.

Reputation and reliability of the brand: When you are buying used heavy equipment, you should index towards brands that have a good reputation for reliability and quality. Research online reviews and ratings, and talk to other professionals in your industry to see what brands they recommend.

Specific features: Depending on the needs of the heavy equipment you are looking to buy, you may require specific features. You should conduct research on all the different models available and determine which features are critical for your operations. 

Maintenance and repair history: One of the most critical parts when conducting your research is to try and find the maintenance and repair history for the unit. If the seller is reputable they should provide these details for you. Look for equipment that has a clean maintenance history whenever possible. 

Consider the cost

Cost is a critical element you must consider when you are buying used heavy equipment. Here are some factors to keep in mind when looking at the cost of buying used heavy equipment:

Purchase price: The purchase price of the equipment is one of the most obvious factors to consider. Look for heavy equipment that fits within your budget, but don’t compromise on quality for a lower price.

Additional costs: Another factor to consider when buying used heavy equipment are the additional costs. These costs can be related to rigging, removal or shipping costs, commissions, and buyer’s premiums. Depending on where you’re buying your used heavy equipment from,  there may be additional fees you may incur. Make sure you factor these additional costs into your calculations. 

Operating costs: Operating costs can add up quickly, so it’s important to consider them when calculating the total cost of ownership. Look for heavy equipment with good fuel efficiency, and factor in the cost of maintenance and repairs.

Resale value: Resale value is an important factor to consider when buying used heavy equipment. Look for brands and models that hold their value well over time, as this can help you recoup some of your costs when it’s time to upgrade or replace the equipment.

Inspect the equipment

Before making a purchase, it’s essential to inspect the equipment thoroughly. If you are going to be making a sizable investment into the machinery, you will need to feel confident that it will function properly. Here are several specific areas you should pay attention to when inspecting used heavy equipment.

Exterior: Start by visually inspecting the exterior of the equipment. Look for signs of damage or wear, including dents, scratches, and rust. Check the condition of the tires, tracks, and wheels, and make sure they are in good condition.

Cab: Check the cab of the equipment for signs of wear and tear. Make sure that the controls, gauges, and switches are all functioning properly. Look for signs of damage to the seats, door handles, and other interior components.

Engine: Open the hood and check the engine. Look for signs of leaks, rust, or other damage. Check the oil level and the condition of the oil. Look at the air filter and make sure it’s clean. If possible, start the engine and listen for any unusual noises or vibrations.

Hydraulics: Check the hydraulic system by operating the various controls. Make sure that the equipment is able to lift and move heavy loads smoothly and efficiently. Check the hydraulic fluid level and look for any signs of leaks.

Undercarriage: If the equipment has an undercarriage, such as a crawler tractor or excavator, inspect it thoroughly. Look for signs of wear and damage to the tracks, rollers, and idlers. Check the track tension and make sure it’s within the manufacturer’s recommended range.

Brakes: Make sure that the brakes are functioning properly. Test the brakes by bringing the equipment to a full stop and making sure that it stays in place.

Conducting a thorough inspection is a critical step when you are buying used  heavy equipment. By taking the time to properly inspect all elements of the equipment, you can identify any issues and make an informed decision about whether to buy it. If you’re not comfortable inspecting the equipment yourself, consider hiring a professional inspector or mechanic to do it for you.

Best place to buy used heavy equipment

One of the most important things to consider when looking to buy used heavy equipment is where you will purchase the equipment from. There are no shortages of options from brokers & dealers to construction equipment auctions. Here are some of the best options for buying used heavy equipment: 

Local Auctions: Many local auction houses sell used heavy equipment, often at prices lower than retail. Check your local newspaper or online classifieds for information on upcoming auctions in your area.

Equipment Dealerships: Equipment dealerships often have used equipment for sale. While the prices may be higher than what you would find at an auction, you can often find well-maintained equipment with a warranty.

Rental Companies: Rental companies often sell their used equipment when they upgrade their fleets. These machines may have a lot of hours on them, but they are usually well-maintained and can be a good value.

Private Sellers: Private sellers can be found through online classifieds, word-of-mouth, or by checking bulletin boards at construction sites. While buying from a private seller can be riskier than buying from a dealership, you can often find good deals if you do your due diligence.

Trade Shows: Trade shows are a great way to see a wide variety of equipment in one place. While you may not be able to buy directly from the show, you can talk to dealers and get an idea of what is available on the market.

Online Marketplaces: Online marketplaces like the Aucto Marketplace are great places to buy used heavy equipment. When you buy on the Aucto Marketplace, you know you are getting the best deal possible on heavy equipment. You get to set the exact amount you wish to bid, and our transparency system shows you exactly what the cost will be. You get to connect directly with motivated sellers who are looking for high-quality buyers to quickly come and buy their used heavy equipment. The Aucto Marketplace is home to over 10,000  product categories. Some of the most popular Heavy Equipment products available on the marketplace include:

Ready to start buying used heavy equipment on the Aucto Marketplace?

Click the link below and create your free account. Our account creation process is quick and simple and can be completed in less than a minute. Once you created your account, you can begin finding, bidding on, and buying the used heavy equipment you are looking for. 

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About the Author

Clayton Arnold

Clayton Arnold is the Marketing Manager at Aucto. Clayton has 10 years of experience working in traditional and digital marketing campaigns. A Mohawk College graduate, Clayton believes in leveraging the latest technology & analytics to foster long-term relationships with clients.