Purchasing used or surplus paving and sealcoating equipment makes sense – especially if you run a small business and don’t have excess capital. You need to get the job done, without spending a lot of money. Aside from your lower initial cost, you don’t run into the depreciation issues new-equipment buyers face.
Interested in saving money on a sealcoat machine, compactor or paver? Here are a few ways you can make sure you get a good deal on used paving equipment.
Test run it yourself – excitement in finding a good deal on the paver that’s shoved into a corner of their warehouse beneath a tarp can get the better of your common sense. Even if the seller seems trustworthy, there is no substitute for a thorough test drive.
A five minute run around the parking lot isn’t going to cut it, either. Dump, lift, spray, pump, push – whatever the equipment is supposed to do, put it through its paces.

If it is a used sealcoating machine with a spray system be sure to test the pump operation thoroughly. The pump is the heart of these machines, so the last thing you want to do is replace the pump immediately after buying it.

Testing the operation of used paving equipment can take time. Be patient and test slowly. Test the hopper or conveyor operation, track system, screed extensions and augers, screed heaters, and all operational controls. Read more about buying used paving equipment.
Visual Inspection – After you’ve tested the machines operation, visually go over the used equipment you’re investigating slowly and carefully. New paint jobs are relatively cheap and can cover up a lot of problems. Look for evidence of rust patching or cover-up – poke suspect areas with a tool to be sure. It is also important to check thoroughly underneath the vehicle for evidence of leaks. Inspect hydraulic hoses and valves before and after the test drive, so you easily spot fresh leaks.
Listen Carefully – When you’re testing out used construction equipment, don’t go by your eyes alone. Listen to the engine and the hydraulics as you’re testing it out – is the machine straining more than it should? After it’s been running for a while, are there any smells of burning oil or electrical problems? Do the controls feel as responsive as they should?
Buying Out of State – Not available for a hands on test to determine used equipment value or condition? You can contact a repair shop where the seller lives and ask if they can provide a “condition report” You’re much more likely to have problems if you buy used construction equipment from individuals or from businesses that don’t focus on construction. Construction equipment dealers have several advantages when it comes to used equipment (like reputation).
Handling Funds – When buying from a private seller consider an escrow service that reduces the potential risk of fraud by acting as a trusted third party that collects, holds, and disburses funds according to buyer and seller instructions. If you decide to use an escrow service please make sure that it is a reputable service. Fraudsters sometimes create spoof escrow sites and encourage buyers to send money to them. Do not use a service recommended by the other party unless you have researched the company.
Mark Boyer is Editor of Paver & Sweeper Market Magazines, a source for buying and selling used paving, sealcoating and sweeping equipment. You can visit their website at http://www.sweepermarket.com.

Related Article: How to Buy Used Asphalt Paving Equipment