Buyer’s guide to pre-owned construction equipment

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Buying used construction equipment can be a great way to manage the cost of replacing heavy-duty items that wear out or break, especially when you need machinery quickly and cash flow is an issue.

However, this plan is not without its perils! You don’t want to be mid-job and find that the secondhand excavator, forklift, roller or other vital machinery is not much better than the item you’ve assigned to the scrap heap.

Purchasing construction equipment can mean a massive outlay, even if you buy used items. How can you be sure that used heavy machinery for sale represents good value for money, with no risks?

Here are some helpful insights to buy used construction machinery for sale with confidence.

Check the credentials of the seller

If you’re considering buying any form of pre-owned machinery, its essential to research the trustworthiness of the seller.

This is a lot easier if you buy from a reputable supplier of used construction equipment, who’s been in business some years and is armed with positive customer testimonials.

Match description to a close inspection

Even if you find a company with experience and expertise in selling the equipment you need, never take machinery descriptions at face value. Take a long hard look at the used construction machinery for sale, and make sure it matches the ‘sales patter’, but also your own needs and expectations.

Look out for obvious warning signs, such as rust, questionable bushings, loose pins and signs of wear and tear. Are fluid levels and any welding up to the right standard? You should also ask to test the brakes and functionality of the used construction equipment such as lifters, shovels and loaders.

Ask for the antecedence

Make sure any heavy equipment for sale comes with a transparent ownership history.

This is particularly important as thefts of heavy duty machinery off constructions sites and from within company premise are an annual problem.

If this is a substantial investment in pre-owned items such as used caterpillar wheel loaders for sale, you could even ask the police to run the vehicle’s identification and serial numbers through their database. Or, check online resources such as the National Equipment Register.

Maintenance levels

Knowing the ownership history can also give you insights into how much the machinery was used, and where, and whether it was properly serviced and maintained.

Having access to this sort of information is vital for heavy equipment for sale that carries a high price tag, as it can show that this item of used construction equipment is ‘almost new’ and in excellent working condition.

Documentation and test drives

Before you seal the deal on used construction equipment for sale, ask the seller for full access to the documentation, and a chance to ‘test drive’ machinery.

This can mean putting used construction machines through a thorough practical test, to spot noise, judders or other hidden issues.

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