When it comes to many large-scale construction projects, the bulldozer is perhaps one of the most important tools to have in your arsenal. If you're not ready to purchase a brand-new bulldozer but want the long-term benefits that a rental doesn't offer, purchasing a used bulldozer or other used heavy construction equipment for sale represents a cost-effective alternative.
But buying a used bulldozer isn't as simple as picking one and signing on the dotted line. The following tips can help you find the best bulldozer for your budget while avoiding the numerous pitfalls of the used equipment shopping experience.
Find a Reputable Seller
Finding reputable sellers or dealers who are honest and forthcoming about the condition of their used bulldozer is the key to purchasing one that's in great shape. It's a good idea to find a dealer who specializes in selling heavy construction equipment, as these dealers are well-versed in providing customers with the best possible equipment. Dealing with a private seller offers more room for getting a better price, but it also comes with plenty of unknowns.
Check Every Component Thoroughly
A thorough inspection of the bulldozer is an absolute must, as a cursory glance can miss a wide variety of hidden issues that could result in expensive repairs later on. Knowing exactly what to look for in a used bulldozer can help you sidestep many of these issues or at least help you brace for some well-needed repairs. Here's what you need to look out for as you inspect the following:
- Cab – Hop inside the cab and get yourself acquainted with the control setup. Make sure you have plenty of room to operate and check the condition of the seat. Check all of the control linkages for signs of play.
- Tracks – Inspect the physical appearance of each track, noting abnormal signs of wear and tear. For bulldozers equipped with the "high drive" track system, check the sprockets for signs of wear and tear.
- Rippers and blades – Take a look at the physical appearance of the rippers and blades, checking for signs of fatigue and severe damage.
- Hydraulics – Take a look at the hydraulic rams and linkages for any signs of damage or excessive wear. Check the appearance and color of the hydraulic fluid. Turn on the bulldozer and make sure the hydraulics work properly.
- Engine – Find out how many hours the engine has operated and whether the engine oil has recently been analyzed for metals and other contaminants. Check all of the hoses, belts and wiring for any signs of decay or damage. Start the engine and listen carefully for any signs of misfiring or other mechanical distress.
- Chassis – Check the undercarriage and pay close attention to the condition of the idlers and the final drive sprocket. Check the frame for any signs of severe damage. Locate all of the grease joints and check the appearance and color of the grease.
Don't forget to take a look at the bulldozer's service records, as this can tell you how often it's received repairs as well as scheduled maintenance.
Take It for a Test Run
Taking your potential purchase for a 30-minute test run will give you some idea of how it operates. This also gives you an opportunity to check the responsiveness of the engine, transmission, steering and hydraulics.
Don't forget to keep an eye on temperatures and pressures, especially for abnormal readings or any signs of leakage. Hydraulic cylinder drift is also something to keep an eye on, as it can cause plenty of inconvenience over time.
Bring a Mechanic Along
If you're not quite sure what to look for or if you just need a professional opinion, having a seasoned mechanic who specializes in heavy machinery tag along can be a big help. Your mechanic can look over your purchase and tell you whether it's worth buying or if you're looking at a money pit.