The construction industry is very important in the United States. Globally, the United States has about 10% of the market, that makes it the second largest construction industry on the planet. The industry employs about 7.8 million people around the country. If you own or manage a construction company when you are looking at heavy equipment for sale, you may want to save some money and go with equipment that is pre-owned. Here are some tips for making sure you get a good deal on decent equipment.
- Start by looking at the operating hours. While it is true that the number of hours an excavator, for example, has been used should not be the only factor in your decision about what to buy, it is something you should pay attention to. This is similar to looking at the mileage on a used car. Some machinery, especially if the engine is a diesel one, can easily run for tens of thousands of hours before there is a problem. Of course when you are looking at something that has been used for a lot of hours you have to do come calculations of the cost vs. benefits of getting that particular item. Another factor is how much maintenance the machinery has received. An older machine that has been well maintained will be a better deal than a newer one that has been used less but has not received the right amount of maintenance.
- Inspect the fluids. There are a few that you are going to want to check on any piece of heavy equipment that you want to buy. You need to look at the hydraulic fluid, coolant, engine oil, and the transmission fluid. This can give you more than just an idea of how the machinery works today but will give you a sense of how well it has been maintained over time. When you are looking at the various fluids, you will learn a lot if they are dirty. If you see water in the oil, you should keep looking for machinery.
- Get the record of maintenance. A responsible owner of a piece of heavy machinery will keep a thorough and complete record of the maintenance it has received over the course of its life. This will show you if it has been in any accidents, how many smaller repairs needed to be done, and how often the fluids were checked and changed.
- Inspect the equipment. If you are looking at used machinery, you should expect to see some basic signs of wear and tear. That is normal. What is not normal are large cracks (even hairline cracks that are longer can show problems), damage, and big rust areas can indicate that the machinery has not been cared for well. You need to add the cost of any repairs that you will need to do to the price you will pay to buy the machinery. Take a good look at the undercarriage and tires, if they are on the machinery you want.
- Try out the machinery. There are a lot of things you can learn when you try out the heavy equipment you want to buy. You can really see how easy or hard it is to turn it on or off. If you are starting it when it is cold, you can see how well it has been maintained. Another thing to look at when you do this is to check out the color of the exhaust. That can give you even more information about how well the machine runs. If the exhaust is white, you are not picking a new pope but you have fuel that is not burning properly. Black smoke can mean not enough air is getting into the fuel as it burns (this may mean you need nothing more than a new air filter). The exhaust will be blue if you are burning oil. Some of these issues may be simple to fix so before you move on, you should have the machine checked over by a qualified mechanic.
Getting the right heavy equipment can make construction projects go as they should. These tips can help you buy decent used machinery.