What to look out for when buying second-hand kit
1. Meet the seller
First things first: meet the seller and ask for all equipment details. Remember to ask for necessary repairs and when the last service was done. If a machine is offered 20% below the normal market price or even cheaper, there must be something wrong – ask for a full history.
2. Obtain an inspection report
The best way to verify the quality of machinery, and to gain information about the reliability and reputation of a supplier, is to use a service provider that specialises in used machinery inspections. There are companies around the world that provide this service, and with an inspection report in your hand you could be able to discuss a price discount.
3. Determine your needs
First of all it, be very clear about what machine or equipment you are going to need. What is the correct size and weight? Do you know what features are essential for your project?
4. Examine tyres and wheels
There are several things to watch out for with tyres and wheels, all of which can be safety hazards. Take your time to inspect and check them thoroughly. A ripple on the sidewall could indicate tearing of the interior liner. Check tyre pressures, look for missing wheel lug nuts or bolts, examine scratches and tread on all tyres. And don’t forget to inspect all tyres – one tyre’s condition does not mean the other tyres are in the same shape, or are even the same size.
5. Structural checks
Look for cracks, welds or plates. Examine the underside of the machine too, looking for puncture holes or any other damage caused by debris.
6. Cab condition
If the cab interior is neat, clean and tidy, it is highly likely the unit has also been well looked-after. You want to verify that all lights – including blinkers, safety lights and flashers – are intact and in full working order. Check the windows and mirrors, and make sure there’s no cracks or missing panes. Sit in the seat and work all the adjustments. Finally, turn on the machine and check all the gauges to determine if everything is functioning correctly.
Be sure to check thoroughly for any leaks, especially from the engine compartment and the axles. Leaks need to be repaired promptly to ensure the safe and continued operation of the machine.
8. If you can’t test it – stay away
If you can’t test your new machine before you purchase it, side with caution and stay away, even if the price is very low. When you do test machines that you aren’t overly familiar with, or when you test a different model of machine, take your time, have the seller explain all the controls and make sure you try every speed and movement.
9. Check the engine
Check engine starting and exhaust quality. White smoke means burning oil, and often that means water contamination. Deep black smoke can mean piston rings are worn and must be replaced to rectify power loss and prevent fuel wastage. Check the transmission engages and visibly ensure the transmission oil level is filled up. Chances are if any parts of the machine are seized, this is an indicator that the previous owner didn’t properly take care of the machine, and it could be a sign of further misuse.
10. Service support
One of your most important points to consider is where the next available store for parts and servicing is. You can buy many non-OEM parts easily, but for specific spare parts you will need an OEM supplier.