7 Expert Tips to Consider Before Adding a Used Excavator to Your Earthmoving Arsenal

Excavators are one of the most used heavy machinery types currently driving around construction sites. The good news is there are a lot of used excavators to choose from for construction company owners working on a stringent budget. 


Some construction companies use ad lists to find excavators for sale. However, working through the ad list can lead you to a variety of specials and too-good-to-be-true offers. There are other ways to find a used excavators for sale but before you buy there are a few aspects you should consider first.


Whether you’re new to the excavator business, or you’re a seasoned construction pro this article is for you. 


Pre-Purchase Considerations Before Buying a Used Excavator

Buying a used excavator requires some careful consideration to ensure that the machine you’re buying is in perfect working order. It’s important to remember that the term “used” shouldn’t be synonymous with “not working properly.” 


Fortunately, our experts have narrowed down the important factors you should take into consideration before signing on the dotted line to buy your machine. Read on to see what they are. 


1. Establish your Exact Needs

The first thing to do is to make a list of everything you need the excavator for. This will give you an idea of what to look for. It’s important to remember that all excavators aren’t the same. 


Ensure the machine you’re considering has enough power and reach to perform the functions you need it for. Fortunately, many functions can be performed by adding various attachments and accessories to it. If you’re going to need accessories, find out if they are included in the price.


2. Run a PPSR Check

While it’s always better to buy a machine through a dealer, some people might find a more affordable deal from a private buyer. If this is the case, ensure that a Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is performed. 


This type of check ensures that the machine isn’t encumbered or still belonging to a third party. The last thing you want is for the machine to be removed from you because it legally belongs to someone else! Of course, buying from a reputable dealer will eliminate this type of problem altogether.


3. Double Check the Machine’s Service History

All our experts agree on this point being the most important. An accurate and detailed service history is crucial. This shows you whether or not the machine has been maintained correctly and to an acceptable standard. 


A machine with no proven history available shouldn’t be considered for purchase as this most likely means maintenance hasn’t taken place. Adequate maintenance is the key to getting your money’s worth. 


4. Physically Inspect the Machine

Many items in your daily life can be bought over the internet without too much concern. Please note that excavators ARE NOT one of those items. You have to physically inspect the machine yourself. If you’re unsure of what to look for, it’s best to take an expert with you. 


When you’re inspecting the machine, look for the following concerns:

  • Check fluids and take oil samples: Oils and engine coolant should be clean. Dirty coolant is a clear indication of cooling system problems. 
  • Inspect the undercarriage: At least 50% of operating costs revolve around the excavator’s undercarriage. Repairs and replacements can be extremely costly. Do a proper inspection.
  • Check the hydraulic operation: Excavators hydraulic operation must be in 100% working order. The operation should be quiet and smooth. The hydraulics shouldn’t struggle to function. 


5. Take the Machine for a Test Drive

After performing a physical check on all aspects of the machine, you’ll need to take the excavator for a test drive. Again, if you’re not going to be driving the machine on your construction site, it’s important to take a certified driver with you to the testing. 


Driving the machine should be smooth and without any issues to change direction or perform its functions. This mechanical drive is commonly referred to as the “final drive” and it will also show you if there are oil leaks or metal contamination. 


6. Check the Excavator’s Warranty

No matter how little the machine seems to have been used by its previous owners, be sure to check the warranty. Don’t assume that because it’s “used” there won’t be a warranty. The previous owner might have sold the machine whilst still under warranty. 


This warranty could come in handy if you experience an issue down the line. If any of the excavator’s parts have recently been repaired or replaced, check if there’s a running warranty on them. Ensure that the serial number is visible and request the warranty documents. You also need to find out if it’ll be possible to transfer the warranty to your name.


7. Check the Attachments and Accessories

Excavators are efficient because of their ability to work in small spaces making use of a series of attachments. Find out if the price includes attachments and accessories. Test these items as well. 


There’s no point in spending a fortune on an excavator and then having to spend additional money on the accessories to be able to use it! 



Buying a used excavator will save you a lot of money in the long run. If you follow our guidelines, you’ll be sure to get value for money! Start the process by enlisting the expert help of a certified dealer to put you on the right path to a worthwhile investment! 

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