Construction equipment is a series of heavy-duty machines designed and created to execute various tasks related to construction work. From hoisting to hauling, excavating, paving, drilling to grading and material handling, construction equipment can support all construction activities. The construction industry heavily depends on used heavy machinery to maintain the required inventory of equipment for carrying out different types of work at construction sites.
The performance of any heavy equipment is critical for the construction industry to execute projects on time. The companies must maintain an inventory of high-performing equipment, old or new. Equipment performance and not its age, whether old or new, matters most when buying a used excavator, one of the most used equipment in the construction industry. When comparing a new excavator with an old one, especially when you are in the market for buying a used wheel excavator, you should know the points to check to ascertain the suitability of the old equipment. Used equipment, regardless of its age, is subject to wear and tear that increases with age and continued use. Even if you do not use new equipment for a long time, it might give some trouble due to lack of maintenance. Here are the points to check when buying a used excavator to detect the possible vulnerabilities that can arise due to use over time. An old excavator will never be like a new one; in looks or performance. However, the old one can be close to the new equipment if it was maintained well and handled with care.
A new excavator will run smokeless and make the minimum sound because the engine is new and operates at peak efficiency. However, after constant use, the engine performance starts declining gradually. Regular maintenance can slow down the deterioration of the engine but cannot prevent it. If an old excavator emits slight smoke, it should not be a problem. However, if the engine smokes a lot during the start, it’s a sign of an overstressed machine that might not perform as desired.
Since excavators work in stressful and difficult conditions, it endures a lot of rough handling. Thus, look closely at the structural integrity of an old excavator. Look for dents and cracks in the bucket, stick, and boom, the load-bearing elements that can point to the weakening of the equipment structure. Check the welded joints at the connection points most susceptible to damage that indicates some compromise of the structural integrity of the equipment.
Leaks in the hydraulic system
The hydraulic system is the prime mover of an excavator and handles huge loads during operations. Inspect the hoses, cylinders, hydraulic pump, and lines for leaks. For new equipment, no inspection is necessary because of the warranty cover that takes care of any problems you might face later but within the warranty period. Leaks in the hydraulic system should not be much of a concern, because it is due to normal wear and tear. However, if the leak persists after repair or recurs frequently, it could be a serious defect.
Check the validity of the hour meter
For a used excavator, the hour meter log is critically important as it shows the extent of the machine’s usage. Since the usage impacts the machine’s wear and tear, the log can indicate the machine’s health to some extent.
As hour meters are not tamper-proof, check their validity to rule out foul play and check the control pedals. Compare the condition of the pedals with the reading of the hour meter. If the pedals seem too worn out but the hour meter reading is low, then there is every reason to suspect something is amiss. Such a check is not necessary for unused or new equipment.
Tracks and tires
As excavators traverse rough terrains, the tires and tracks wear out fast. The tracks would lose tension often, and cracks are visible on the tires. If tightening of the tracks fails to restore the tension to the normal level, it would require replacement. The same applies to cracked rubber tires which would need immediate replacement.
Finally, check the availability of spare parts for an old excavator before deciding to buy it.
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