Factors to Consider When Buying a Motor Grader

  • Editorial Team
  • Motor Graders
  • 3 April 2020

Motor graders, which are often called road graders or simply graders, are large pieces of heavy equipment that are often used to put the final grade on a road construction project before the road is paved. The prices for these road grading machines range from around $10,000 for an old, used model to about $450,000 for a brand new motor grader. Although cost is a major consideration when purchasing any heavy equipment, you should also think about other items such as size, technologies, and engine type. The following are several factors to consider when buying a new or used motor grader.

The first major factor to consider when buying a motor grader is size and whether maneuverability or capacity is more important to suit your construction needs. Whereas smaller graders are more suited for working in tighter areas, they do not support longer blades so you will have to make more passes to complete the project. On the other hand, large graders can support larger blades which will improve efficiency as more ground can be covered in fewer passes, but they also can be more difficult to maneuver and consume more fuel than smaller graders. Consider the job and application of the machine when deciding on the correct model to purchase.

A second big consideration when purchasing a motor grader is the engine type. Motor graders typically have diesel engines that range from 190 to 300 horsepower, with a few exceptions on the lower and higher end. A larger engine means more power but also more fuel consumption, so again, consider the application when making the purchase. Most engines meet the tier 4 emission standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. However, not every country adheres to these emission standards, so some manufacturers still produce engines at lower tiers. If you will operate your grader in a country with strict emission standards or a highly regulated industry, make sure you buy a grader with an engine that meets the tier 4 standards.

A third item to consider in a motor grader is the versatility and attachments that are included. Many models can support attachments other than the blade mounted between the front and rear axles that is used for grading. Some may have an extra blade mounted on front for plowing snow in the winter months. Others may include a ripper or scarifier on the rear of the machine for tearing through especially hard ground or a rear compactor attachment to create an even smoother grade. Attachments can add value and versatility to a machine.

The fourth important thing to think about when buying a grader is the advanced technology that it can utilize. Construction equipment manufacturers now offer many advanced technology in their machines to make their operation easier and more efficient. They offer telematics, monitoring solutions with sensors, automation functions, and more. Machine health can be monitored, and productivity can be tracked. Certain aspects of the grading process are now able to be automated. These technologies save fuel and man hours and can improve overall site efficiency by getting the best grade in fewer passes.

One final consideration is whether to purchase a new or a used motor grader. The choice between new and used is determined by what features, cost, and condition best suit your needs. When  buying new, you will pay a premium but can decide what features you want, have access to the latest technologies, and will be covered under warranty. Buying used can save you money upfront, but to ensure long-term savings, you must inspect the machine prior to purchase.

In conclusion, although there are many factors to consider when buying any piece of heavy machinery, the items mentioned above should all be priorities. Size determines maneuverability or capacity. Engine determines power versus fuel consumption. Attachments can add to the versatility of the machine. Advanced technologies can lead to greater efficiency. Buying new or used can offer high-end features or more financial flexibility. While every decision is unique and is ultimately yours to make, we hope that by considering these factors we can assist and make it an easier decision for you.