What to Consider When Purchasing a Used Machine for Your Operation

by New member BarnCat on ‎04-27-2018 04:17 PM - last edited on ‎05-03-2018 10:46 AM by Administrator

259D_CTL_Q1 Ag Blog_Image.jpgWe understand that equipment is a cost, not a profit driver, on your farm or ranch. Whether you’re operating a new or used machine to get tasks done, the last thing you need to worry about is whether or not it will perform like you need it to on the day-to-day. That’s why we worked with our friends at Cat Financial to bring you the factors to consider when purchasing a used machine—to keep uptime and your peace of mind at optimal levels.


Five Critical Considerations for Used Machines


  1. Cab – Your comfort and visibility are important, so look for adjustable seat height, back and lumbar support, armrests and well laid-out controls.

  2. Chassis – Examine the chassis closely for evidence of leaks and look for parts that have been welded or other indicators of prior repair. Get underneath the machine to view the undercarriage.

  3. Engine and Transmission – Because of their importance on any machine, engines and transmissions should be examined carefully. Start the engine and put the transmission into gear, looking for error messages, abnormal noises and smoke.

  4. Hydraulics – Hydraulic cylinder repairs or replacements are time-consuming and costly. It’s important to know of any problems prior to purchase, such as leaks or worn seals in the pump compartment. Check for issues and examine the attachments to determine wear levels.

  5. Tracks and/or Tires – It can be expensive to replace tracks and tires, so be sure to look closely for uneven wear, bulges, cracks and missing bolts. Use a tread gauge to measure wear and consult a tire manufacturer website for replacement requirements and costs.


Value of Buying Certified Used Machines

Just like vehicles, you can find certified used machines. Why does that matter to you? Well, for certain manufacturers, used machines have to pass a stringent set of guidelines to be considered “certified.” Take a look at the following to get an idea of what you can expect from a high-quality, certified used program:


  • 0-5 years and/or 3,500 hours maximum
  • Minimum 12-month/1,000-hour power train and hydraulics warranty
  • Manufacturer inspection and record documentation
  • “Good rating” or better on all inspections points
  • Original operating and maintenance manual
  • Maintenance completed with OEM parts
  • 50% or higher undercarriage/tire condition and performance


Additionally, these certified used programs offer several extended protection options, so you can choose a plan that best suits your needs. To learn more about available used equipment and financing options for your farm or ranch, visit catfinancialequipment.com or contact your local Cat® dealer.


We’d like to hear about your experiences with used equipment and machines. Have you ever purchased and operated a used machine to help out on your operation? If so, why did you choose used vs. new?

by New member buyrealegh1
on ‎04-28-2018 10:11 AM
This article is invauable knowledge for anyone thinking o buying used. Thanks for this!
by New member BarnCat
on ‎05-07-2018 04:10 PM

You're welcome, @buyrealegh1! 

by New member mehdi1973us
on ‎05-19-2018 06:31 AM

Thanks very informative.



by New member samhammonds
on ‎06-05-2018 05:50 AM

Thank you for your knowledge on this subject. I'm just looking to buy a machine and I will definitely take this into consideration.

by New member BarnCat
on ‎06-11-2018 09:23 AM

Great to hear, @samhammonds! Let me know if there's anything we can help you with during your purchase considerations. 

by Contributor mevas
on ‎09-18-2018 04:35 AM
If you are looking to buy a used machine it is always good to contact the local dealer first. In case of problems you can get back to them and even if there is no warranty they would be willing to help you just to make you a happy customer. The CAT dealer with Certified Used is a good choice. In times of high demand for used machinery it is often difficult to find the machine for your need locally. Then there is just another option either rent a machine for a time or buy from elsewhere. But buying outside your territory from unknown suppliers is not without a certain risk. Why not hiring an experienced inspector? In the US there is Honestinspections with a good network of used machinery inspectors. You can reach Don at www.honestinspections.com. For Europe the Mevas team can help and can be contacted via www.mevas.eu
About the Author
  • I’m an Attachments Product Application & Sales Support Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have been with Caterpillar for five years including roles in the field as a dealer sales support representative and marketing support in the skid steer and small wheel loader product groups. I graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Agricultural Business and Economics. Our goal is to provide a full portfolio of attachments for our customers to be more productive and versatile with their machines.
  • I am an Industry and Application Rep for Caterpillar. I graduated from NC State with a dual degree in Agriculture Business Management and Agriculture Science, concentrating in Leadership and Environmental Technologies. I focus primarily on the relationships between customers, dealers, and the product specialists for the Building Construction Products division. Growing up on a tobacco and beef cattle farm, I have several years of machine operation experience and agricultural knowledge. Thomas Jefferson said it best in that, "Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness."
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  • I’m a Compact Wheel Loader Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have 11 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant.  I graduated from North Carolina State University with a Mechanical Engineering Degree, and wanted a job where I didn't have to sit in front of a computer all day.  This job allows me to get out and get my hands dirty, with the goal of providing solutions to customers’ machine needs.
  • I am a Marketing Communications Specialist for Caterpillar with over twelve years of experience marketing the Cat brand to customers in Latin and North America. My goal is to arm customers with the information needed to make well informed purchase decisions; to maximize the value of Cat machines by using an array of Cat Work Tool attachments; and to minimize the total cost of ownership by using Cat parts and Cat Dealer service.
  • I am an expert Operator and Application Specialist for Caterpillar concentrating on products used in the construction trades industry. I operate, evaluate and train on Cat machines and Work Tool Attachments worldwide. I have a Degree in Agricultural Engineering, Craftsman Certified and was named Apprentice of the Year 1981 at the University of East Anglia, UK.
  • I am the National Association Manager for Caterpillar and have responsibility for customer associations and partnerships in multiple industries for Caterpillar. I have 12 years of experience at Caterpillar, and have spent most of those years in the field with dealers and customers around North America. I have always had a passion for equipment and find myself fortunate to be able to work with dealers and customers almost every day.
  • I am a Product Application Specialist with 16 years of experience in the industry. As a Building Construction Products Global Trainer, I focus on training dealers and customers on machines, attachments and applications as it relates to the construction, agriculture and landscaping segments.
  • I have been with Caterpillar for more than eight years, working in various roles including a materials engineer, a filters product manager and my current position as a parts consultant. My job allows me the opportunity to work with Cat dealers and customers providing insight on how the use of quality filters and fluids results in better equipment performance and lower owning and operating costs.
  • I am a marketing and sales support professional for Caterpillar. In this role, I work with our marketing and customer service teams to support or dealers and customers, concentrating on our Small Wheel Loader, Skid Steer Loader, Mini Excavator and Dozer product groups. The exchange of ideas, information and opinions about equipment and how it’s used in various industries on forums such as this blog helps me fulfill my role at Caterpillar to the best of my ability.
  • I am the commercial/market consulting expert for all Caterpillar tires and rims with 14 years of experience. I provide guidance in the harsher work environments of mining and industrial/waste applications. Our goal is to turn our dealers and customers into knowledgeable and trusted resources with respect to tires and rims. Our group offers training, technical support and resources to develop a level of expertise within the Caterpillar value stream that is ordinarily reserved for tire companies and local tire service providers. Ultimately, we want to provide our customers with a total Cat solution from the ground up.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager for Cat Financial and have responsibility for ensuring that the right financial products are available to Cat customers who purchase, lease or rent to own. 8 of my 10 years with Caterpillar Financial have allowed customer and/or dealer interaction as part of my daily responsibilities including over 3.5 years as a Territory Manager. I take personal satisfaction in finding financial solutions that work for our customers and CAT dealers.
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  • I am a Product and Application Specialist with over 35 years experience at Caterpillar. I focus on helping you to determine the best Cat machines, work tool attachments, and services for you to use in the building and general construction, landscaping, specialty trades, and agricultural industries.
  • I am a Senior Regional Insurance Marketing Manager with 16 years’ experience at Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services. I have the opportunity to work with 18 North American dealers providing risk management products and services that helps the Caterpillar Enterprise ( Caterpillar, Dealers and Customers) manage their business risk. Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services offers Extended Protection Plans for machines and engines, Physical Damage Insurance, Inventory Protection Plans, Dealer Property and Casualty, Risk Management, Marine Transit Insurance and Dealer Bonds.
  • Jeff Brown is a marketing professional for Caterpillar Skid Steer, Multi Terrain and Compact Track Loaders. Over Jeff's 12 years in the industry, he has visited with and studied the needs of customers across landscaping, construction, and agriculture segments. Delivering innovative solutions that solve customer's problems is Jeff's main focus.
  • I am a North American Product and Application Specialist for Caterpillar. In this role, I have had the opportunity to represent Caterpillar at various trade shows and train customers on new Small Wheel Loader content. I graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and have spent the past 15 years with Caterpillar in various engineering roles. Growing up in the Mid-West, I have always loved the cold and the unique activities winter enables. Unfortunately, I had to give those up when I moved to North Carolina. I don't care what people say, you never get used to a hot climate.
  • I am a Filter and Fluid Marketing Consultant with over 14 years experience working at Caterpillar. My focus is to ensure customers understand the importance of using superior filtration and lubrication products in their equipment.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager with over nine years of experience in a variety of roles with Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to gain experience in matching financial products and tailoring funding strategies to the specific needs of customers. This includes more than three years as a Territory Manager in Seattle partnered with N C Machinery, an authorized Cat dealer covering the states of Washington and Alaska.

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