1. The Start
Beware the dealers who say: “It’s been sitting in the yard awhile…it just needs a little time to get up and running.” A seized engine is likely an expensive effort. A lot of smoke with a cold start is not a good sign. However, you should expect to see a little smoke if the outside temperature is really cold.

2. It’s a Fluid Situation
As with most things in life, leaks are not good. Check under the machine for stains, especially around the engine, hoses and arms. Examine the fluid levels: transmission, engine oil, hydraulic fluid, coolant, etc. The condition of the fluids is also a good indication for how well the machine was maintained. Beware: water or coolant in the engine oil is NOT a good sign!

3. Everything has a History
You are investing in a rather expensive piece of equipment—make sure the machine is free of liens and not stolen. Reputable dealers will do the lien search for you. If you purchase a machine without checking the lien status, you can lose your investment to a lender (or other entity) with a prior claim.

4. Condition, condition, condition
Workhorse machines will have signs of wear and tear, but real damage should raise red flags. Look for excessive welds, hairline cracks, rust, or leaks. The undercarriage is “the tip of the spear.” Give it a good look over.

5. Exhaust
You can tell a lot about the health of a machine by the color of the exhaust. Certain colors MAY indicate concerns. After a cold start, white smoke may mean fuel is not burning correctly. Blue smoke may mean the engine is burning oil. Black smoke may mean a poor air/fluid mixture.

6. Operating Hours
When considering buying used, some numbers are key. With automobiles it’s the mileage. With construction equipment it’s the hours. A well maintained diesel engine machine can run for tens of thousands of operating hours. However, if you’re considering an investment in a machine at the upper limit of its hours, a cost/benefit analysis would be prudent.

7. Dealer Reputation
Consider the background and reputation of the dealer you’re working with. Ask around for others who have had experience with the dealer. Remember, dealer-owned machines offer benefits that independent sellers can’t provide.

8. Contact Schmidt Equipment
You want a great used-equipment experience. Give Bruce McCullough a call at Schmidt Equipment: 508-769-5294.