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What to Look for in a Used Skid Steer

By: Gina Shuleski

Used skid steers

Used skid steers can provide a great deal of value to your company and are a top choice for businesses looking to expand their capabilities at a lower cost. As you look to purchase a used skid steer, you may first want to learn more about why buying used equipment can be a great opportunity for your company.

You’ll want to figure out what skid steers are the best and how you can evaluate a used skid steer to ensure it’s a solid investment. This article will give you the information you need.

Why Buy a Used Skid Steer?

Buying a used skid steer can be an excellent financial decision for your company. Buying used means you get to save a significant amount of money by not paying the higher investment costs of purchasing a new piece of equipment. Besides the lower initial costs, you also get a wide selection of skid steers to choose from. The used skid steer market offers many different generations and models to buy, helping you find the exact machine for your needs.

For companies working with limited cash flow, used skid steers are often a good option. Since they require less cash to purchase, they allow your company to spend money elsewhere and keep your money free for other business growth opportunities. Used skid steers don’t suffer from steep depreciation, helping them keep their value longer. Additionally, buying a pre-owned skid steer is environmentally responsible, as you help your equipment have a longer life span before it goes to recycling.

What’s the Best Used Skid Steer to Buy?

You’ll have many options to choose from when you purchase a used skid steer loader for your business. As you narrow down your choices, keep in mind that the best skid steer for your company will be one that fits your budget, has the performance to handle your projects and comes with a reputation for reliability.

Since every company is different, the best used skid steer to buy will be different for everyone. Before you go into the buying process, outline what your company’s needs are and what you expect from your skid steer. By specifying your needs, you’ll significantly refine your options and find the ideal skid steer for your intended purposes.

Tips for Choosing a Used Skid Steer

If you’re wondering what you should look for in a used skid steer, you’ve come to the right place. After you’ve determined the type of skid steer your business needs, there are a few different ways you can evaluate available machines to ensure they are in good shape and will be a smart investment for your company.

Learn more about how to choose a used skid steer that is in good condition and will be suitable for your needs with these tips:

1. Review Its History

As you search for a high-quality skid steer, one of the first steps you should take is to review the machine’s history. Part of your research should cover what types of work the previous owner used the skid steer for.

A skid steer used for breaking up concrete is likely to need more maintenance due to higher wear and tear than one employed to load hay. You can also benefit from learning where the skid steer was used, as harsher environments will lead to a shorter life span. By getting a clear picture of the equipment’s history, you can better predict how much maintenance it’ll need in the future.

2. Evaluate Its Log hours

Is 4,000 hours a lot for a skid steer? What about 1,000? How many hours on a used skid steer is a lot? These are all valid questions for those looking into purchasing a used skid steer. As a general rule, skid steers with lower log hours will be a better investment than those that have been used full time for years on end.

A skid steer that was used for a few years and only has 1,000 hours on it will likely need less maintenance than one used for 4,000 hours in a similar time frame. Additionally, a full-time skid steer averages a use of five to six hours a day. You may want to look for one that’s averaged less than this to avoid investing in a piece of equipment affected by the wear and tear of full-time use.

3. Employ a Personal Mechanic

Don’t go into the buying process alone. Bring your personal mechanic to help you inspect the skid steer. This professional can help you perform a visual inspection and review maintenance records, spotting things you might miss. A certified mechanic who regularly works with skid steers will have the expert knowledge you need to make the best purchase possible. As a result, it’s never a bad decision to hire a personal mechanic to help you pick out your skid steer.

4. Look Over Maintenance Records

Reviewing a skid steer’s maintenance records can give you more information about the type of repair work previously done on it. Anything out of the ordinary can be a warning that the skid steer may bring with it higher maintenance costs and less durability than what you want.

Besides looking for abnormal repairs, checking the maintenance records can help you see how well the skid steer has been maintained. If the skid steer has received regular inspections and followed a maintenance routine, it’s likely still a high-quality machine. However, if the previous owners didn’t maintain and inspect the equipment, you may want to avoid the skid steer since problems may have festered.

5. Conduct a Visual Inspection

Look over the skid steer for signs of damage. Scuffs, cracks, bent components, scratches, dents, worn cables and welds are all signs of extensive damage to the machine. Remember to check the battery, seatbelt, steering, canopy, lights and windows to make sure they’re functioning properly.

Ensure the bucket and any other attachments are in good condition as well. If you notice any leaks, this is another red flag signaling you may end up paying extra in repairs soon after purchasing. Finally, inspect the tires, checking for uneven wear. Review the tires’ records to find out how old they are to get a general idea of how close they are to needing replacement.

Find a Dependable Used Skid Steer at Cleveland Brothers

Buyers often ask what the most reliable used skid steer is. The answer is anything from Caterpillar®. With a Cat® skid steer in your corner, you can be confident you’re getting high-quality, durable equipment that can accomplish even the toughest tasks. At Cleveland Brothers, we’re proud to supply our clients with Cat equipment throughout Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia.

Browse our selection of used steers today. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.


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