Do the wear points match the hours of use?
Sometimes premature wear on ground engaging parts can identify an area that has been neglected on regular maintenance.
Look for leaking cylinders
A hydraulic cylinder that has wet spots on it from hydraulic fluid will collect dust and dirt. This is a good way to identify a leak.
How long until major overhaul?
Each Cat® machine has a suggested life expectancy. Determining how close you are to that expectancy will help you understand what your future maintenance costs could be.
Check cab cleanliness.
A dirty cab may not be a clear indicator on the condition of the machine, but it will give some insight to how the machine has been looked after.
Inspect damaged body panels and broken glass.
This is a bit of a no brainer but body damage is a clear indicator if the machine has seen abuse from its previous owner.
Look at the machine’s fluid colour.
If the oils in the machine are dark or black, you know a service is near due.
Are there and dates or hours written on the filters?
Often, shops will write out when the next service interval is due on a filter. You can verify how soon it needs to be changed via the machine’s hour meter.
Looks for add-ons
The more the better (most of the time). Keep an eye out for add-ons like auto lube, forestry guarding, and fire suppression. These can be expensive to add onto your machine after you purchase it, or remove if you don’t.
Cycle the hydraulics.
Check to see if there are any slow moving functions. This could be from a malfunctioning pump, clogged filters, or stuck bypass valve.
Go through the maintenance records.
Equipment owners should keep a record of what was done to the machine. Having a look at these documents can give you a pretty good idea if the machine is a lemon.