Inspection Tips for Buying a Used Mini Excavator

Mini excavators have become extremely popular these days because these machines can provide an excellent combination of power, size, and versatility. There is a growing trend in the industry to buy used mini excavators instead of new ones. There is no denying the fact that purchasing a used machine in good condition can be a cost-efficient solution. However, just as with any used machine, it is important for the buyers to carry out an in-depth inspection of the compact excavator.

Once you have made up your mind to buy a used mini excavator, you must be completely aware of the activities you want to perform with the machine. Two of the most important parameters for you to consider are the machine’s weight and digging depth. You may not be able to perform the intended jobs with an undersized machine. On the other hand, an oversized machine is more expensive and may pose issues related to its manoeuvrability.

Mentioned below are some of the most important things to inspect before making any purchasing decision.

Lifespan of the machine: The maximum lifespan of a well maintained compact excavator is around ten thousand hours. However, without proper maintenance, this lifespan can very easily reduce to less than eight thousand hours. While shopping for a used machine, you should look for one that was manufactured not more than three years ago and has consumed not more than two thousands hours of its lifespan. This will provide you the advantage of recent technology as well as adequate lifespan of the machine, along with significant cost savings compared to a new model.

Visual Inspection of the Excavator: This is first step in the evaluation of a used compact excavator, and can reveal signs of inadequate maintenance and potential problem areas. You may start with the machine’s body and boom, checking for cracks, bends, and substantial dents. These signs are clear indications that the machine structure has been compromised. Also, please remember to thoroughly check all the critical stress points for repair welds. Don’t forget that a fresh paint job could well be the sign of concealing some serious structural issues.

The next important job for you is to examine the connection points around the boom, stick, and bucket. In the ideal scenario, they are solid without any movement or give. It is also important to ensure that the associated bushings and pins are tight enough. Loose bushings and pins may lead to a loss of accuracy between the actual placement of the bucket and the position of the stick. Carefully examine if there are any cracks around any of the connecting points because these can pose serious dangers.

The cutting force of the bucket of an excavator is impacted severely by scalloping. You must pay special attention to find out if there is any scalloping between the bucket’s teeth. Any type of bending under the bucket indicates that the machine has been used for activities beyond its capacity. It is always advisable to avoid machines with these types of abuse and damage.

The tracks of the machine must also be examined thoroughly because replacement tracks can be quite expensive. Tracks with more than 50% wear should be avoided. Also, check for cracks and uneven wears in the treads because these are signs of deeper mechanical issues that are expensive to fix.

Ensure that the final drive seals have no hydraulic leaks by looking for fluids behind the sprocket or on the tracks. While inspecting the sprockets, always remember that in good condition, the teeth are not pointed at the ends, but are flattened.

Don’t forget to check the undercarriage for large dents, excessive wear, rust, and repairs. Undercarriage plays a critical role in the functioning of an excavator and it is safer to avoid the machine if its undercarriage has uneven or excessive wear.

Operational Inspection of the Excavator: Once you have carried out a thorough visual inspection, an operational inspection of the machine must also be performed. To start with, crank up the excavator followed by the simulation of a few cycles of digging. Check for inaccuracy and looseness by extending the stick, opening and closing the bucket, and swinging the boom.

The next job is to check the track by moving the boom to a side and anchoring it with the help of the bucket. Now, lift the excavator and run the elevated track. Ideally, the track should rotate freely, and there must not be any dry rot, missing chunks, or cuts. Repeat the same process again for the other track, and take another close look at the undercarriage.

The backup alarm and smooth control of the mini excavator should also be checked and this can be done by moving the machine forward and reverse direction, and then turning it left and right. The play of the machine can also be evaluated by rotating the house by approximately 25% of a turn.

You can figure out many other things about the mini excavator while you are in the seat. Firstly, make sure that the seat is in good condition, adjusts completely, and the seat belt is functional. Carefully notice whether the horn, lights, and gauges are in proper working condition. In case of machines with an enclosed cab, check the window wipers, door latches, air conditioning, etc.

After the satisfactory completion of all these inspections, request for an oil sample history and maintenance records of the machine. Before taking a final call, you should also conduct a brief market survey so that you have a clear idea about the current prices of the products from different brands.

Over a period of more than a decade, we have been supplying a wide range of heavy equipment including excavators, ballast regulators, tool carriers, and much more for extremely competitive rates. Please contact our experts for any assistance related to the purchase or hiring of used compact excavators.