When purchasing an expensive piece of equipment, like a skid steer loader, it can certainly be tempting to purchase a used one to save some money. And depending on your needs, you may not need a new one. However, it is important to do research before purchasing any used piece of equipment so you know what to look for and what to steer clear of to avoid making a bad investment.

Research the brands

An important first step when beginning to search for used skid steer loaders is to research the brand. The brand background will give you an idea of the reliability and life length of the equipment. For example, Bobcat skid steer loaders are known for durability.

You should also look at the cost of replacement parts and how hard they are to get ahold of. Even if the machine you purchase is in great condition, you will eventually need to replace the parts. Once you have a list of preferred brands, you can begin your search.

Know What You’re Buying

Certainly before you purchase, but maybe even before you take the time to go look at a machine, you should try to get information from the seller about the age, hours and prior usage of the skid steer loader. Ideally, you’ll want to look for machines that were used part-time instead of full-time. The bigger the horsepower, the longer it can go before it will need a new engine. Lastly, older machines with fewer hours are likely to last longer than newer machines that were used more. Usage is more likely to cause wear and tear than age itself.
If a machine is one of your preferred brands and has been used an acceptable amount, the next step is to take a look at it in-person.

Used Skid Steer Loader Inspection

The first thing you’ll want to check is for cracks, damages, or welds on the arm loaders. If the arm loaders are damaged or have been welded, they could be dangerous. You’ll also want to check if the arms are bent, which can signal heavy usage. You’ll also want to check the tires for too much wear, and also check for an axle seal leak. If you do see a leak, verify that the bearings aren’t out.

One of the most important things to keep an eye out for will be for any signs of leaks in the final drives or the hydraulics. A leak around a final drive can be very expensive to repair. There should not be any leaks on a well-maintained machine.

The best thing to do is to spend enough time examining the machine to see if it has an operating problem like losing power or overheating. It is also best to have it inspected by your mechanic before you buy it. Taking these steps will help you avoid buying a faulty machine.