Buying Used Machines
Buying Used Machines

What to Consider when Purchasing Used Machines for Your Operation

Ben Rice | Agriculture Industry Representative

We 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 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 or contact your local Cat® dealer.


Blog author Caitlin Maddock-Bahr
Blog author Caitlin Maddock-Bahr

Ben Rice

Agriculture Industry Representative

Having spent his formative years on a tobacco farm, Ben Rice went on in the agriculture field to earn degrees in Agriculture Business Management and Agriculture Science from North Carolina State University. Rice now brings his invaluable expertise to Caterpillar as an industry sales and service representative.

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