Buying used when it comes to heavy equipment is not at a bad decision and, in fact, it can be a very good way to get an excavator with years of life left for just a fraction of the new sticker price.
Of course, for anyone in Seattle buying any used equipment, there are some considerations and issues that have to be addressed. Ideally, buying used from a reputable dealership offers the best of both worlds, while buying from a private individual, at an auction or from a company can be a riskier choice.
It is always a good idea to bring along someone who is familiar with operating the equipment. He or she should also have the ability to make basic checks of the systems, particularly the engine and the hydraulics. Make sure to compare the hours and the maintenance log between any equipment you are selecting, as this will often give you insight into how the equipment was used and cared for.
Before buying any excavator make sure you actually try out the machine. This means starting it up to make sure it is good running condition, and also to check the controls and the hydraulic functioning.
Try out the full swing radius in moving the boom from side to side the full range of swing, and then also fully extending and retracting the boom and the bucket. This is important to make sure that there is a smooth, even movement without any hitches or “dead” areas of the controls and in the movement.
Cracks, Dents and Damage
While it is to be expected that heavy equipment is going to have some visible signs of wear, watch for issues such as cracks, dents, dings and significant damage that goes beyond the level of cosmetic issues.
Cracks in any part of the machine, including the boom, bucket or any attachments sold with the excavator are a sure sign of very heavy use and less than ideal operating conditions. Cracks are a sign of potentially costly problems and will need to be fixed at some time in the future.
A leak in the hydraulics or problems with hoses and cylinders are only expensive to repair, but it can be a very important sign of poor maintenance and operator inexperience in using the equipment correctly.
Also, be very careful about any type of heavy equipment in Seattle that has been recently painted prior to going up for sale. Paint can be used to cover extensive areas of rust, small cracks and other irregularities, particularly with online sales or sales through equipment auction sites.
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