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5 Tips for Buying Used Excavators

Used Excavator

Digging, demolition, heavy duty lifting—excavators are earthmoving equipment that play a big part in getting projects done. Buying used equipment can be a great decision for you and your company, as it will save you money on quality equipment versus buying new. With so much available inventory on the marketplace, you want to be sure you’re getting the best value when you buy used. To help you make the right purchase, Equipment Trader is sharing five tips for buying used excavators.

1. Create a Budget

Before you start your search for your excavator, create a budget for your purchase. Buying a used excavator can save you a significant amount of money compared to buying new. However, you should consider the costs of repairs and maintenance that you may need for your equipment based on its condition. 

2. Do Your Research

Determine what exactly you need from your excavator to get your work done. Different classes of excavators are designed for different jobs. You can find listings based on size, including standard or mini; or function, such as crawler, wheeled, suction, long reach, dragline, hydraulic shovels, and skid steers. Also keep in mind how much you’ll be using your equipment and how much wear and tear your excavator will take on when using it for your project.

3. See What’s On the Marketplace

Equipment Trader gives you a wide selection of used excavators to choose from. You can narrow down your search by applying filters for the online marketplace listings based on price, location, year, make, hours used, seller type, and even more options. The best listings will have detailed descriptions along with photos and videos to give you a better idea of what you’ll purchase, and if the excavator has any defects or imperfections.

4. Inspect the Excavator

When buying used, make sure you inspect the excavator for any damage and to make sure it’s working properly. This may be easier when buying locally, as you can do this in person prior to a purchase. Otherwise you can ask the seller for more specifics on how the equipment performs and more information on the condition of each of its parts. Here’s a list of what to look for:

  • Surface Damage or Imperfections: Look for dents, cracks, bends, or punctures on the surface of the excavator. The boom, stick, slew ring, and bucket can suffer damage or degradation after long periods of heavy use, which will cause the equipment to malfunction.
  • Movement in the Swing Radius: Check the slew ring for abnormal play or movement. The hydraulic housing excavator rotation should be smooth and tight. Inspect all the connection points, bushings, and pins between the stick, boom, and bucket to make sure they’re not loose.
  • Hydraulic Leaks: Leaks can come from damaged cylinders, hoses, lines, or the hydraulic pump. Take a look at each of these parts for any imperfections.
  • Bucket Attachments: Check for damage or wear on the bucket attachments and examine the bucket teeth to see if they’re scalloped or worn down.
  • Tires: Look at the tires and tread for any punctures, damage, or to see if they’re worn down. The number of hours for tire use should be recorded and provided by the seller. Typically excavators can run on tires for at least 5,000 hours, while some will last over 7,000 hours of use (Source:
  • Hour Meter: The number of working hours for the machine should be logged and authenticated. Check the reading for accuracy by inspecting the control pedals for any wear and tear, which may cause an inaccurate reading.

Any damage or imperfections to a used excavator should be brought to your attention and fixed prior to your purchase. Otherwise, your equipment will malfunction and you will be making replacements to parts. As a precaution, you may want to see if specific parts are available on the market in case you need to make a sudden replacement.

5. Get Proof of Purchase and Warranty

Get proof of ownership to ensure you’re buying from the registered owner to avoid any scams or purchasing stolen equipment. Along with this, you should receive an invoice, receipt, or other official documentation for proof of your purchase. If you encounter problems with your excavator, this is your evidence for a refund or legal recourse. When you buy, ask for a warranty for your excavator. This will keep you covered in the event that the excavator malfunctions.

By following these tips, you can find an excellent used excavator for any heavy duty project you’re working on. Once you know exactly what to look for in a purchase, buying used is simple, helps you save, and gives you great value for what you pay. Start searching today for both new and used excavators from a large inventory of units on


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Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller

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