Buying a Used Excavator: What to Inspect

Published: 02nd July 2010
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Used excavators can save you a great deal of money, since you'll save up to 50% or more off the original purchase price. But it's not worth it if you end up with a lemon and end up shelling many more pounds simply paying for maintenance and repairs. So what should you look for when you find used excavators for sale?



Of course, you'll first look at the papers to answer a few basic, preliminary questions, such as, when was the excavator manufactured, and when was it last serviced? But, after that, you'll want to look at the used excavator itself. First, perform a visual physical inspection. As you inspect the various parts of the excavator, you'll want to ask yourself whether you see any warning signs that could indicate poor performance in the future.



Look at the engine. Do you see any soot or oil leakage? These signs could potentially indicate a lack of engine maintenance, which could lead to horrifically expensive repairs in the future, requiring a complete overhaul of the engine. Also, take a look at the cooling systems; failure here could also damage the engine. Are the fans tight, and is the system free of debris that could wreak havoc in the wrong places? And take a look at the battery, noting any signs of corrosion.



Look at the cab, stick, boom, and bucket. Are there any signs of major damage? While scratches are to be expected in used excavators, you'll want to watch out for welding patches or anything bent or twisted out of shape. This might indicate that the excavator was made to perform some pretty rough work in the past. Also check out the pivot points, most notably, the one connecting the boom to the body. They should be tight, as slackness could indicate the need for replacement in the near future.



Finally, look at the track and undercarriage. While a used excavator will certainly have seen some minor wear and tear, you'll want to see if any of the metal plates are actually broken or cracked. Tracks can be replaced, but the amount of wear you see could give you an estimate as to when you'll need to pay for that expense. Also, look at the sprockets and rollers, as well as the roller metal frame, for similar signs of wear. Check for oil leaks before moving onto the performance inspection.



Things are looking good so far, but you'll want to take this used excavator and see that everything actually works. After the excavator's warmed up, utilize all of its moving parts, bucket, stick, and boom, and check that everything moves correctly and that there is still no slackness in the pivot points. Investigate the hydraulic cylinders and tubes, making sure nothing is damaged and that everything moves in sync. Check the track, making sure that both tracks are aligned in movement. Finally, rotate the cab; this movement should be smooth and fluid, in both directions.



Good luck on your purchase!



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Robert Tate - Region Sales Manager of Mascus UK. Mascus is an electronic marketplace for excavators, tractors, trailers and trucks. Mascus makes trading in excavators for sale more efficiently by collecting all information about supply and demand in one place. All dealers, producers and end users are welcome to offer their used machines and trucks for sale via the marketplace.

Contacts:

Robert Tate

Regional Sales Manager - UK

Mob:+ 44 (0) 7970 230055

E mail: robert.tate@mascus.com


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