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Buying a Used Bulldozer? What To Check Before Purchase

Sep 26th 2023

Buying a Used Bulldozer? What To Check Before Purchase

When construction tasks require equipment capable of pushing heavy loads or digging and leveling ground, crews often turn to bulldozers. They’re excellent for removing debris from worksites, making them useful in construction, mining, and more.

Finding the right equipment for a reasonable price can be challenging for crews that aren’t prepared. Are you buying a used bulldozer? Here’s what to check before making your purchase.

Build Quality

To start with, you’ll need to ensure your dozer purchase is a good-quality build. Bulldozers must often operate over rough terrain in all types of weather. If your machinery can’t handle the job, it could break down during operations, costing you additional money and losing time.

Inspecting the bulldozer before purchase is essential if you want to get the most for your money. Do a walk around and check the track and undercarriage for excess wear. If you find any issues, you may be able to get a lower price, but you may be better off finding something you can rely on. Finding a trusted heavy equipment dealer will make the process go more smoothly.

Maintenance History

Modern bulldozers are made for a variety of tasks and applications. If you’re buying used equipment, check the paperwork to get an idea of its maintenance history. Ensure all previous owners have kept up on all the essential tasks so you aren’t left with a substandard purchase.

All used heavy equipment should have a detailed maintenance history you can look at to ensure it was adequately taken care of. If the machinery you’re looking at doesn’t have any logs or records, you should avoid it at all costs. You never know what happened to a piece of equipment on previous jobs, so it’s good to be sure what you’re getting into.

Leaky Fluids

Heavy equipment that hasn’t been properly maintained can start to lose or burn fluids during regular operations. If essential fluids such as oil, coolant, power steering, or hydraulic fluids become too low, it can be catastrophic for the equipment. Checking to ensure the levels are maintained will help you make a quality purchase.

First, look under the equipment and ensure there are no wet spots or puddles. Then, check the levels in the holding tanks to ensure they’re not low. All lines should also be inspected to ensure they’re properly sealed. Consider taking photos while you’re there so you can take a closer look at areas of concern later.


You should also watch out for smoke while the engine is running. While the presence of smoke may be due to spilled fluids burning off the metal, it can also be an indicator of severe engine damage. In many cases, smoke indicates that the engine is overheating due to a lack of coolant or improper lubrication.

If a piece of heavy equipment’s engine is smoking, you should shut it off immediately. Overfueling, insufficient oxygen, or a lack of combustion can be detrimental to the internal components. If the smoke is black, you may simply need a new fuel pump. However, blue smoke often indicates severe problems, such as leaky valves or worn cylinders.


Another common problem to watch for when purchasing heavy equipment is the presence of rust on any part of the machinery. Even if it’s just a small spot, it will start to expand and eventually put your entire investment at risk. If the metal rusts through completely, it can prevent the equipment from operating correctly.

In general, it’s better to avoid rusty equipment altogether. However, if you get a good deal or don’t have any other options, you can grind or sand the rust away to help keep the surface in good condition. Removing problem areas as soon as possible will prevent structural issues down the line.


The undercarriage is one of the most important things to inspect before purchasing heavy equipment. This structure sits on the bottom of the machinery and protects essential components and parts from being worn or dirty during operation. It must be regularly cleaned and inspected to ensure the equipment runs properly.

No matter what type of heavy equipment you’re using, undercarriage maintenance is essential to its longevity. If machinery has loose or broken parts, it may not run for very long. Finding affordable dozer spare parts can be tricky, so ensure you have a reliable retailer lined up before purchasing your equipment.


You’ll also want to ensure the hydraulics work if you’re interested in a piece of heavy equipment. Hydraulic fluids help to drive actuating parts so that machinery can function correctly. Leaky cylinders, a bad valve, or low hydraulic fluid will make it harder to complete essential tasks effectively.

Ensure you run the equipment before buying it to see how well the hydraulics operate. Listen carefully for any strange noises coming from the pumps or motor. Look over the hoses, pipes, fittings, and other components to ensure there are no leaks.

Weld Lines

If you’re purchasing heavy equipment from a private seller, one big thing to watch for is weld lines. A visible weld line is a clear indicator that significant work has been done on the equipment. It could put a lot of strain on the chassis, depending on where the weld was done.

The presence of a weld line may indicate a deeper problem that wasn’t correctly fixed. Even smaller areas of concern should be scrutinized carefully. Welds can crack unexpectedly, which can get in the way of completing important tasks.


In most cases, you’ll probably also purchase at least one attachment for your bulldozer. However, you shouldn’t just accept whatever comes with it. The attachment you use will directly affect your bulldozer’s functionality. The one that comes with your machinery should be capable of doing the tasks you want and be in good condition.

Look over the attachment for signs of excessive wear. Damaged parts should be noted to ensure you don’t overpay. You should also inspect the blade’s push arms, caps, and pins to ensure they fit correctly. If anything is loose or damaged, it could result in the attachment coming off during operation.

Put Your New Bulldozer To Work Straight Away

There isn’t much room for error in the construction industry. Finding the right heavy machinery is essential if you want to complete your project on time without going over budget.

Using your resources wisely is key to staying ahead of the competition. Knowing what to check before buying a used bulldozer will make your search go smoother so you can get back to work.

Buying a Used Bulldozer? What To Check Before Purchase