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Dig Into the Details When Buying a Used Excavator

Dig Into the Details When Buying a Used ExcavatorThe last thing you want to do is invest serious money in a second-hand excavator and detour it from its first paying job — so you can make repairs on your dime after the fact. Ouch.

Of course, warranties or limited coverage for used equipment will vary. But, whoa! Let’s back up. The best place you can start before buying is a detailed inspection that gives you peace of mind before you buy.

A great place to start for buying an accurately represented machine is, where you can find a four-page, multi-point guide, plus a page for notes, for inspecting your potential purchase. We recommend conducting the inspection WITH your IEDA member used equipment dealer. They can help provide additional background information on the used excavator you’re considering.

The used excavator inspection report linked above thoroughly covers installed equipment (with 10 – 15 items per category) from boom type/size to auxiliary hydraulics. Combine your notes — and discussion with your trusted dealer — with running the equipment. Putting an excavator through its paces will be your best source of peace of mind.

Also, covered by the IEDA inspection report for used excavators:

  • Cosmetic/Exterior — including ladders/platforms, front/rear lights, bellypans and more.
  • Powertrain — with crucial elements like engine oil leaks, belts/hoses and drive motors.
  • Structural Condition — taking into consideration details such as structural damage/repairs, bucket linkage and stick to bucket/QC pins.
  • Bucket/Attachments — make/type/size, QC operation/condition, etc.
  • Hydraulics — from pump noise/leaks and line/hose condition to lift cylinders/auxiliary cylinders and valves.
  • Undercarriage — considering pads, idlers, chains, rollers, and sprocket condition.

The Customer (You!) Is King

An excavator is controlled by hydraulics and many related moving parts. Dig deep and check as many as you visually can. Run the excavator and check/assess the slew ring, boom, stick, bucket, etc. Check connection points, joints and welds. Pay special attention to damage along the boom, stick and other issues that can be very expensive to fix, robbing your ROI on the machine.

Look for excessive wear on the undercarriage to ensure the unit’s price is in line with its condition. And, make sure the all-important hour meter is working correctly. Buy the hours you think you are buying.

Start with a Trusted Seller

Your IEDA member used equipment dealer will provide you with a straightforward, honest assessment of each excavator — or any other machine — they have for sale. Work directly with them when walking through the used excavator buying process and get the most for your investment.

For a list of IEDA members in your area visit our members page.


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