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Inspection tips for buying used excavators

Buying any kind of commercial equipment is not cheap, even when buying second hand. If you are looking to purchase a used excavator then there are certain things that you should look for before you make your purchase. After all, you need to know you are purchasing a reliable and well maintained piece of equipment. Repairs to a commercial excavator can be expensive so making sure you are investing your money wisely is important. We have put together some top tips on what inspections to do and what to look for when purchasing a used excavator.

  • Check all moving parts - An excavator is controlled by hydraulics and uses many moving parts which can be expensive to replace or repair. It is not enough to simply look at the parts, you need to actually use the excavator and check that the following are working correctly;
    • Slew ring
    • Boom
    • Excavators Stick
    • Bucket
    If a seller is reluctant to show you an excavator in action then you should be suspicious and reluctant to part with your money.
  • Check all connection points & welds - Excavators are quality pieces of equipment but it is easy to damage them if they are not properly maintained or are used incorrectly. You should ensure that you check all connection points, joins and welds for any loose fittings or cracks. Damage between the boom and the bucket can be incredibly expensive to repair especially if it requires a replacement so you need to be sure of the quality.
  • Check the undercarriage - If an excavator has been used incorrectly or abused by the previous owner then often the damage will be most apparent at the excavator's undercarriage. Check the undercarriage for any major dents and cracks as this could prove costly if missed. Should you find any cracks or dents then it will be a good indication of the excavator's quality and condition.
  • Check the hydraulics - If you don't know much about hydraulics then it is best to get a professional who does to check all the hydraulics. If you noticed any problems with the slew ring whilst testing the excavator then it is likely that the cause is related to the hydraulics of the excavator. Hydraulic hoses can often experience leaks and whilst they are relatively easy to replace, this should be reflected in the purchasing price or the current owner should have them replaced before the sale is finalised.
  • Check the hour metre - The hour metre is a small but important part of an excavator as it details the use of the excavator. It is important to check that the hour metre is working correctly and has not been tampered with in any way. If the hour metre is not working as it should be then this could indicate that the working hours of the excavator are a lot higher than shown by the seller.
  • Check the bucket and teeth - When using an excavator it is the bucket and teeth that do most of the dirty work. Over time it is common for a bucket to wear and become less productive. This can be caused by the teeth being damaged or becoming misshaped after a lot of use. The teeth can give a good indication as to how much use the excavator has had. When purchasing a used excavator, you'll want it to have a good quality bucket in a good condition as otherwise it could be useless.
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