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Ask These Questions When Buying a Used Dozer

When it comes to expensive investments, dozers have few, if any, rivals. Yet, depending on your work, they’re one of the most useful pieces of heavy machinery you can own.

While some businesses rent or lease dozers to supplement their existing fleet or to handle the needs of a short-term contract, many have seen the long-term financial benefits of owning a used unit. Those benefits start with price tags that can be 30 to 70 percent less than those of a new machine from John Deere, Caterpillar, Komatsu or other leading manufacturers.

If you’re in the market for a used dozer, ask these questions — of yourself and your dealer or other sellers — before you buy.

How much dozer do I need?
Ranging from around 80 to 850 horsepower and around $65,000 to north of $1 million for new/newer models (and significantly less for used ones), there are choices to be made across three main sizes — small, medium and large. Just as in buying any piece of equipment, you need to thoroughly consider the requirements of your applications and the potential revenue you can generate with the machine, the operating weight of the machine, ease of transporting it and more.

Which undercarriage classification best fits my working environments?
You need to consider the undercarriage of a dozer based on the terrain and environment you wish to operate on. The most common undercarriages are standard and heavy duty.

A standard undercarriage is more suitable for construction, agriculture, landscaping and similar types of projects. It isolates core components, including drive, axle and steering modules, to prevent impact damage. Many standard undercarriages also include improvements to oil seals to extend their life and durability.

Heavy duty provides all the features of a standard undercarriage but also has more durable components such as steel plating for maximum strength and resistance to abrasions and impact damage. They are mostly used for rough terrain such as rocky or sloped environments.

Some manufacturers, including CAT and John Deere, produce additional models that cater to soft terrain, swampy work environments, and applications that require fine grading.

How reliable will this machine be?
Dozers are built to be tough and reliable for decades, often with 10,000 hours of service without any major repairs. Longer with regular service and maintenance.

So, check the hours on the dozer. Consider hours logged on the blade, ripper and other attachments. Ask to see the dozer’s maintenance records — and beware of any large gaps in its service history.

Hand in hand with your prediction of future reliability, discuss potential service agreements or other assurances, such as parts availability, where you’re buying a used unit. And, of course, review existing inspection reports as well as conducting your own inspection.

How technologically current and compliant is this dozer?
While dozer manufacturers keep adding new electronic components, efficiencies and comforts, most newer (manufactured in the last 10 years or so) used machines will have many of the same joystick control and cab design developments as more current units.

Work with the seller to determine where the dozer matches up, as well, with today’s EPA and OSHA requirements so you’re good to go — or can get there with financially practical upgrades.

Start with a trusted seller

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

For a list of IEDA members in your area, visit click here.

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