6 November 2017

What to look for before buying a Used Excavator

inspecting used machine

The more informed you are on what to look for when purchasing an excavator, the better your chances are of buying a quality used machine. Follow the below tips to ensure you know what to look for when inspecting and purchasing a used excavator. They will help you avoid unexpected costs on repairs and issues.

1.       Test Drive the Excavator

Do an operational check on the machine, listen out for unfamiliar noises and check for play or movement that is outside the ordinary. Make sure lights, gauges and horn are in working order. If the machine has an enclosed cab, check the door latches, glass has no cracks and wipers are in working order.

Check over all of the connection points, especially between the stick, boom and bucket. Bushings and pins should be tested for loose play. If the connection is loose it can result in inaccuracy with your work. Undercarriage replacement can add up very quickly so check over chains, sprockets and rollers.

If you can’t get to the excavator yourself, ask for a video of the machine in motion or organise an authorised fitter to inspect the unit.

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2.        Check the Excavators External Condition

Look out for dents, cracks and bends. A machine which has been heavily used may show warps and bends and can sometimes result in you replacing the part, which may come with a hefty price tag. Outside damage could be the result of misuse of the excavator.

Look at the cleanliness of the engine and parts, is it full of dirt or debris. Ensure there are no oil leaks, examine all fluid levels, and check the condition of those oils and fluids. Discolouration occurs when oils haven’t been changed recently or recently enough.

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3.       Check Excavator Bucket Teeth Condition

Look for signs scalloping or moon shapes in the teeth. Depending on the severity of the scalloping you may need to replace the excavator bucket.

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4.       Buy from a Dealer… be extremely wary of private sellers

Buying a used excavator poses a certain amount of risk and the risk sky rockets when buying privately. Private sellers will generally not offer any warranty on the equipment, what you see is what you get. Buying from a dealer means the machine has been checked over by a trained technician.


We are interested to hear what you think is important in choosing the right used machine