How to inspect a used compact track loader before buying?

Compact track loaders are highly versatile machines that save huge amounts of labor on job sites. Their all-terrain tracks provide excellent flotation and traction compared to skid-steer loaders. When shopping for used compact track loaders, conducting a thorough pre-purchase inspection is crucial to avoid inheriting hidden problems. Before visiting any machines, learn about the compact track loader models on your shortlist so you know what to look for. Some key things to research.

  • Common problem areas or weaknesses of that model
  • Expected engine hours for the age
  • Standard maintenance procedures and intervals
  • Typical area failure points like chains, sprockets, or undercarriage parts
  • Options, attachments, and specifications to seek out
  • Average resale prices for machine age and condition

Armed with model research, you’ll know what points to focus most closely on during the inspection.

Review maintenance records

The seller should provide maintenance logs detailing all services, repairs, and parts replacements done over the machine’s lifetime.

  • Regular oil/filter changes at proper intervals
  • Timely track tensioning and undercarriage maintenance
  • Major services like hydraulic fluid changes
  • Replacement of worn parts as needed
  • Absence of neglected maintenance or repairs

Documented maintenance is reassuring while missing logs suggest neglect. Also, request documentation on major repairs or rebuilds.

Inspect condition

Carefully examine all aspects of the compact track loader.

  1. Cab area
  • Seat wear, controls, glass, safety restraints
  • Gauges and warning lights functioning
  • Air conditioning and heat operational
  • No error codes showing on displays
  1. Engine & drivetrain
  • Smooth idle, no smoke or knocking sounds
  • No oil leaks or coolant leaks
  • Radiator and screens are clean
  • Belts and hoses are intact with no cracks
  • Hydraulic filters recently changed
  1. Undercarriage
  • Tracks have adequate depth/no cuts, missing lugs, or uneven wear
  • Rollers/idlers turn freely with minimal play
  • Sprockets not badly worn down or damaged
  • Carrier rollers not clogged with debris
  • Swing bearing and frame free of cracks
  1. Attachments
  • Quick attach connects properly and locks in place
  • Auxiliary hydraulics, hoses, and cylinders operate smoothly
  • Minimal wear and damage to bucket cutting edges/teeth

Look for any damage, excessive wear, or problems needing repair. Avoid units that have had a rough life. Check to price against equipment guides or auction sale prices for the machine’s year, brand, hours, and condition. Make sure specs, attachments, and options align with pricing. Negotiate a fair price in line with the unit’s characteristics. Avoid overpaying for subpar machines.

Bring in an expert

If possible, have a trusted mechanic or experienced operator accompany you when inspecting used compact track loaders. An expert eye spot subtler issues you might overlook as a novice. They also test performance more adeptly and identify components nearing the end of their lifespan. Take note if the seller objects to you bringing assistance – it may signal problems. Some dealers and equipment sellers offer certified pre-owned compact track loaders that undergo extensive reconditioning and inspection before sale. Certified units typically come with short warranties for added peace of mind. The certification process helps curate higher-quality pre-owned loaders. Check out the official website for useful reference.

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