What to Look for When Inspecting a Used Wheel Loader?

Wheel loaders or sometimes referred to as loaders or front-end loaders are used across the construction industry for debris, dirt, snow, asphalt, gravel and the like. Coming in a range of sizes from large to small, wheel loaders are readily available due to their versatility and can be found for both second-hand purchases or for hire. However, when purchasing or hiring a wheel loader it is worthwhile doing an inspection to minimise the potential of the machine breaking down.

To ensure that you hire or buy the right used wheel loader for your project we have come up with a simple seven-step checklist of what you should look for when inspecting a wheel loader for hire or purchase. Additionally, doing the inspection, it would be worthwhile doing a test drive as you get a feel for the machine and the order it is in. We also recommend bringing your own qualified mechanic or an experienced operator, particularly when purchasing the machine.

This is to avoid missing some key areas when inspecting which could potentially add unnecessary costs to your purchase. Additionally, try and do a test drive as you will be able to test the workings of the machine. Of course, it is always recommended you are eligible to drive and operate loaders. If you're not sure about licence requirements, have read our front-end loader licence guide.

The 6 steps to inspecting a wheel loader?

1. Maintenance and Service History

When you start to asses the used wheel loader have a look at the service history and when it was last serviced. This will be a good indicator of the kind of maintenance that was performed and in what condition the machine is. You should enquire from the current owner or supplier about the kind of work the wheel loader was used for. If the machine has been well maintained, serviced regularly and has an up-to-date maintenance record it is less likely you will experience any major issues as maintenance is the key to preventing failures of major components.

2. Frame

Inspecting the frame as a fractured or misaligned area can cause major failures in other parts of the wheel loader. In particular, pay attention to any areas whether that be an outer or inner frame that have been previously repaired or welded. Check for signs of deterioration on the loader's frame and the pins and bushes. Minimal wear and tear is expected on a used wheel loader, however, if there are major damages or extensive wear or tear this can indicate the frame wasn't well maintained and it can be very costly to repair.

3. Wheel, Tyres and Rims

Once you have finished with the frame move onto the wheel tyres and rims. Ensure the wheel loader is on a level surface with all tyres at the same pressure. Look at the wear and tear on the tyre threads. Look for structural damage on the metal in the rims or if there are any dents, cracks or rust. Ensure there are no loose nuts that have stud holes to elongate. If they are loose this poses as safety risk as the wheel can go loose.

4. Brakes

Brakes can be expensive to replace so ensure you check their condition. If the wheel loader has been fitted with outboard discs, inspect the callipers, pads, discs and hydraulic lines. While if it has been fitted with inboard discs you can usually do the inspection if you do a test drive.

5. Engine and Transmission

If the engine and transmission start and work smoothly then this is a good indicator that the wheel loader is in good condition. If you do hear noises or see leaks when starting up or running the wheel loader there could be issues. Signs of major problems with the wheel loader could include bubbles or oil in the radiator, coolant in the engine oil, and blue, white or black exhaust smoke. These would all be signs of engine problems and it would be expensive to repair.

6. Bucket

When inspecting the bucket look for any wear and tear on its underside and back. Check the bucket points and the bottom pins and brushes. Look for any crack in all areas of the bucket. Repairing the bucket is not difficult, but if not maintained well it can be costly in particular if you have to replace the cutting edge, teeth and adaptor.

Whether to purchase or hire a wheel loader?

Here at iseekplant, we can help you with your next step whether you are looking at purchasing or hiring a wheel loader. Graysonline is one of Australia’s biggest auctioneers for heavy machinery. They have weekly auctions running across Australia in both major cities and regional areas, with inspections available pre-purchase. If you require finance for your purchase get in touch with Finlease, who will make sourcing equipment finance easy and deal with over $500 million in finance arrangements yearly.

If you are looking to hire a wheel loader for either long-term or short-term hire get in touch with us. We can help you decide which loader you'll need with our guide. We have the largest database of loader suppliers across Australia. Have a look through our wheel loader hire in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin. Use our get a quote tool or get in touch with us at 1300 691 912.

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