What to Look for in Used Equipment at Machinery Auctions

machinery auctions

It can be really tempting to bid without inspecting when you see used equipment for sale at great prices at machinery auctions. But we’ve all heard horror stories about a piece of used machinery for sale that ended up being a bad investment, costing at a minimum the money paid for it and at worst someone’s life because of terrible safety issues that weren’t found before it was put into use. In this post, we’ll take a good look at how to inspect any equipment you find at machinery auctions step by step.

Inspecting used machinery at machinery auctions

  1. Does the company have the right to sell the equipment? Though we typically think about clear title as something we check with a vehicle, machinery can be bound up as collateral for a business loan. Don’t be afraid to ask whether it’s been used as collateral in a financial transaction and if they have proof that the loan has been paid off and the claim on the equipment has been released. This is especially important if the equipment is being sold as part of a business liquidation.
  2. Does the equipment have wear and tear that will require repairs before it can be effectively used or is paid off? If it has not been properly maintained or could have caused premature wear to other components in the machinery, it may require expensive repairs or won’t last as long as it should. If it’s normal wear or tear or repairs that don’t require a lot of investment, you may want to consider the purchase, but keep in mind the cost of the repairs when you’re deciding what your top bid will be.
  3. Has the equipment been abused? Equipment that has been abused may not be sound, causing it to break down at the worst possible time or even cause an accident. If there are dents, bends, cracks or poorly-made repairs on the equipment, the machinery will quite possibly not perform up to specifications or may fail prematurely, making you lose your investment or find yourself embroiled in a lawsuit due to poor performance or injury. This part of the inspection should include checking for non-manufacturer-approved alterations that may prevent the equipment from performing properly.
  4. Are there issues with the safety systems or structure of the equipment? If the frame is bent or has cracks, especially around an operator’s safety cage or safety guards, does this diminish the effectiveness of the safety feature?  If you purchase equipment that has had the safety equipment modified or removed and later have an accident at your company that could have been prevented had the equipment been intact, you may find yourself involved in an expensive worker’s comp case.

By taking the time to inspect the machinery you’ve found at machinery auctions, you’ll be able to make much better investments that help protect your company’s bottom line. Many bidders find online auctions an excellent option because they provide the time to have inspections performed or ask the questions you need before you place a bid, compared to the fast pace of live auctions.

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