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6 Things to Look for When Inspecting Heavy Equipment

6 Things to Look for When Inspecting Heavy Equipment



Researching and purchasing heavy equipment is a serious project. Perhaps the most important step in buying machinery is to learn as much as you can about the equipment.

Before signing on the dotted line, here’s what you need to look for when inspecting heavy equipment: 

Engine, Transmission, & Hydraulic Parts

Be sure to:

  • Rev the engine
  • Check for smoke, sounds, and warning lights 
  • Review pressure readings

The Body of the Machine 

Look for:

  • Wear-and-tear
  • Cracks
  • Rust
  • Evidence of welding 

The Interior of the Cab 

Check the:

  • Steering mechanisms
  • Pedals
  • Seat adjustment
  • Dashboard functions 
  • Comfort of seat 
  • Visibility through the protective glass

Fluids & Exhaust 

Verify appropriate levels and cleanliness of:

  • Engine oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Coolant 
  • Hydraulic fluid

Observe exhaust after cold start for:

  • Black smoke = there’s too much fuel in the air/fuel mix
  • Blue smoke = engine is burning oil 
  • White smoke = fuel is burning incorrectly 

Tires, Tracks, Drivetrains, & Brakes 

Look for:

  • Cracks or bubbles in tires
  • Uneven wear in tires (could indicate a drivetrain issue)
  • Noisy brakes
  • Missing or broken tracks or bolts 

Equipment Tier & Technology Level

Ask yourself:

  • Is this equipment more advanced than I’m comfortable with? 
  • Do I know how to use the equipment properly?
  • Am I certified to operate this machine? 

Reviewing these six key areas of your selected piece of equipment is just one of many steps in buying a new piece of machinery. For more information about the modern shopping process, check out all of Equipment Trader’s resources for buying heavy equipment.


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Ethan Smith
Ethan Smith
is the Content Manager at Trader Interactive, managing marketing content development for ATV Trader, Commercial Truck Trader, Cycle Trader, Equipment Trader, RV Trader, and more. Ethan believes in using accessible language to elevate conversations about industry topics relevant to marketplace buyers and sellers.

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One Response

  1. I’m a cancer patient trying to start a mobile home setting business. I was a automation pipefitters for 28 years ,I can no.lo get work in the shop because of covid. I’m looking for a CSI 115 platypus or a tink trans lift . THANKS BRAD AUSTIN.

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