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The main tips for buying second-hand machines

Jul 04, 2020
Finning UK & Ireland explains how to eliminate the risk of investing in second-hand equipment


Buying machinery and equipment at any time is a huge investment. As the company emerged from the lockdown and tried to restore pre-pandemic working levels, Fining UK & Ireland, the exclusive distributor of Caterpillar® equipment, reported a surge in demand for used Cat® machines. Here, Finning's second-hand equipment machine inspector Scott David (Scott David) provided some instructions to help the company understand what to look for to reduce the risk of buying second-hand machines.


Find visible component wear

One of the first and most important things to check is the condition of all easily visible worn components, such as the undercarriage, tires and ground bonding tools (GET). These can be a good indicator of the overall condition of the machine. This is particularly important for tracked machines, because the landing gear can account for a large part of the value of a second-hand machine, and if worn parts are omitted, the cost is high. Just because the chassis system does not look perfect from a distance, so be sure to check the condition of each component.

Pay attention to whether the hydraulic components leak
The weeping hydraulic cylinder collects dust. Check the machine for leaks in hydraulic hoses and whether there are wet areas around valve blocks, pumps and motors. These can lead to expensive maintenance and repair costs, not to mention machine downtime and loss of on-site work.


When will the machine be overhauled next time?

Every Cat® machine has a life expectancy. Check the machine time to figure out how much time it will take before the machine is ready to rebuild. Through this operation, you can calculate how long the machine will provide you with production and future maintenance costs based on the estimated usage. It is worth mentioning that the machine has been reassembled with all components.


Check the color of the fluid in the machine
If the oil is black or black, it may be caused by maintenance and oil changes. However, this may also indicate a more serious problem, such as an engine failure. If the oil smells of tar, it may indicate overheating or fuel dilution. Oil discoloration is a good indicator of overheating, contamination or wear in the hydraulic system and gearbox. Does the oil smell again, and it smells burnt?


Operate all hydraulic systems through a complete cycle

Check if any critical services of the machine are running slowly or tired, as this may indicate a malfunction, clogged filter or other hydraulic problems. When running the service, check the wear of the bearing and connecting rod; when the bucket, blade, etc. touch the ground and heavy objects fall off the pin, is there excessive movement of the connecting rod mechanism? This may mean that the bearing is worn or collapsed, and the connecting rod hole is also worn.


Review the maintenance record

Just like you are checking the service record (if you are buying a new car), the equipment owner should also record the maintenance work performed by the machine during its lifetime. Checking these documents can give you a good understanding of whether the machine is clean and whether it looks neat.


Is the cab Clean?

The dirty cab may not reflect the overall condition of the machine, but it will give you an idea of how the previous owner took care of it. If available, check whether there are recorded or active fault codes on the machine's display, which may point to current or previous problems.


Check out the bodywork

This is a bit effortless, but the state of the body will show whether the machine has been used and abused in its true meaning. Machine operators are mainly proud of their equipment. Therefore, if you drive hard outside, you may also cause some potentially expensive losses inside.


Finning has a large number of second-hand machinery and equipment, including small to super large excavators, rear hos, material handling vehicles, off-highway and articulated dump trucks, pavers and compactors. All used equipment has been tested and tested, and some equipment can also choose Finning warranty, thus eliminating all risks of buying second-hand machines.


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