The Track: Used Equipment from RDO

Buying Tips, Helpful Information, and a Pulse on the Industry



The Track is your resource for all-things construction equipment.

Led by RDO Vice President and equipment expert, Dennis Howard, The Track brings you the latest on used equipment for sale, helpful buying tips, and answers frequently asked questions to help you find, buy, and maintain your used equipment fleet. 


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December 10, 2019 | Video Duration: 5:31

State of the Construction Industry and RDO Equipment Co. in Texas

2019 was a good year for RDO Equipment Co. in Texas. From strong customer partnerships to optimism surrounding the expected, continued strength of highway projects in Texas, the team is heading into 2020 ready to have another successful year.

In this all-new episode of The Track, Dennis Howard visits RDO in Fort Worth and sits down with General Manager, Matt Daniell. Matt shares a closer look at how the RDO team approaches partnerships with customers, both locally and across the company’s seven stores in Texas.



January 15, 2020 | Video Duration: 6:30

John Deere Compact Construction Equipment Across RDO Equipment Co. Regions

What is John Deere compact construction equipment? How do I switch attachments on different machines? And what if I have a mixed fleet of construction equipment? These questions and more are answered when Dennis Howard gets together with Regional Sales Managers, Brian Holland and Tory Williams.

The three discuss the fast-growing segment of Deere compact construction equipment. They also highlight the different options suitable across RDO’s regions, including the Midwest, Southwest, and Texas, buying compact construction equipment whether used or new, and opportunities for used equipment attachments, even with mixed equipment fleets.

Watch to learn more then, for those interested in buying used construction equipment, visit to browse all current options across the RDO footprint.



February 5, 2020 | Video Duration: 2:06

3 Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Used Construction Equipment

If you have questions about used equipment, you’re not alone. Used equipment is more popular than ever in the construction industry and the RDO Equipment Co. team gets a lot of questions about used construction equipment, many of those come from hesitations about buying used equipment.

Dennis Howard shares three of the most commonly asked questions about the used equipment buying process, along with three answers to understand what to know when buying used equipment.

Watch to learn more then, for those interested in buying used equipment, visit our website to browse all current options across the RDO footprint:


February 12, 2020 | Video Duration: 3:16

Diesel Exhaust Fluid Questions and Heavy Equipment Diesel Engines

DEF: Diesel Exhaust Fluid. There are a lot of diesel exhaust fluid questions out there. What is diesel exhaust fluid? Do I need to use DEF? Where do I buy diesel exhaust fluid?

If your heavy equipment fleet includes Final Tier 4 diesel engines, DEF is a must. Fortunately, it’s easy to manage, buy, and use. Dennis Howard and RDO Equipment Co. Service Manager, Jon Alcorn dive into DEF and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about diesel exhaust fluid.

Watch to learn more. For those interested in learning more about DEF, or to quickly and easily buy DEF from RDO, visit the RDO website:


February 19, 2020 | Video Duration: 3:17

Day's Excavating Succeeds with Help from Used Construction Equipment from RDO

There are several reasons to buy used construction equipment from RDO Equipment Co. Depreciation, hours of remaining productivity, and used equipment and technology among the reasons Rodney Day of Day’s Excavating in Tucson, AZ runs a, primarily, used equipment fleet. 

Dennis Howard talks with Rodney about his business, an excavation company specializing in earthwork, asphalt, and underground utilities. The two talk about why used equipment is a good investment and a few of Rodney’s tips to successfully buy used equipment. 

Watch to learn more then, for those interested in buying used construction equipment or looking for all used equipment for sale, visit our website to browse all current options across the RDO footprint:


February 26, 2020 | Video Duration: 5:41

Popularity of Compact Excavators and the John Deere 35G Mini Excavator

One of the fastest-growing jobsite machines is the compact excavator, also known as the mini excavator. Their size, maneuverability, and production capabilities are all contributing factors to growth for compact excavators. Additionally, newer design features on John Deere’s 35G compact excavator are also making it smart and valuable to buy a mini excavator. 

Watch as Dennis Howard talks with Adrian Cortez, a Compact Construction Equipment Sales Professional, about the trend in compact excavators. The two also walk around the new Deere 35G mini excavator.

For those interested in more information about compact excavators and all Deere Compact Construction Equipment, visit the RDO website:


May 26, 2020 | Video Duration: 4:45

Reasons to Rent Heavy Equipment - Advantages, Election Year, and Uncertain Times

No matter the year, there are always reasons to rent heavy equipment for construction.

This week’s new episode of The Track features bonus footage from an unreleased episode, as Dennis Howard talks about how uncertainly from an election year and the pandemic are combining to grow interest in heavy equipment for rent.

It’s easy to rent from RDO Equipment Co. Learn how to find and rent equipment for your next job.

5 Tips for Buying a Used Excavator

The Used Excavator Trend and Tips to a Successful Buy

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Not long ago, backhoes were one of the most popular used construction machines. Today, the excavator is taking hold of that title, with demand for both new and used excavators growing rapidly.

Because excavators offer more versatility – ability to be paired with more attachments, used for more applications, and advantageous to more industries – it’s not surprising to see this uptick in popularity. The drawback for those interested in one, higher demand means lower supply, again, for both new and used.

Those in the market for a used excavator have opportunity to secure one, with help from these five tips for buying a used excavator.

1. Buyer, Meet Seller
Between the internet, live auctions, and qualified sellers, there’s no shortage of options when searching for any piece of used equipment. However, not all offer the same experience.

Choosing to buy a used excavator from an equipment dealer’s rental fleet is an option that comes with several advantages. A large inventory, detailed service and maintenance records, and potential for after-sale support top the list of why to buy from a trusted dealer.

Private sellers require vetting, which can be done by asking for recommendations and reading online reviews. Keep in mind, the private seller’s ultimate goal is to do just that – sell. An excavator might not be a good purchase for a particular buyer but a private seller typically isn’t concerned about the end-user’s needs, financial situation, or long-term plans.

Auctions are often a great source for used equipment seekers. However, when a market is hot, as the market for used excavators currently is, auctions typically don’t see a large inventory of high-quality machines.

2. Get an Early Start 
The agriculture industry has seasonal factors that affect the best time to buy used farm equipment. While the construction industry doesn’t follow this same pattern, timing is a factor to consider when buying a used excavator.

Because of their popularity, excavators move fast when they hit the used market. A business owner or fleet manager is wise to look ahead 30, even 60 days to see if an excavator purchase is likely to be needed.

This proactive approach allows time to continue a search if initial options are scooped up too fast. It also puts a company in best position if working with a local dealer. An excavator may be scheduled to be coming back from a rental agreement, an opportunity to purchase it immediately upon availability.

3. Evaluate the State  
To determine an excavator’s condition, ask the seller for a detailed account of the machine’s previous applications. For example, excavators that have been used for demolition work may have more wear and tear than one used for digging and little else.

Another unique scenario is excavators that have spent time in trenches, swampy areas, or other jobsites with standing water. If not properly cared for, water can do significant damage to a machine, sometimes damage that can’t be seen at first glance.

Additionally, give special attention to the excavator’s undercarriage. It’s usually not an issue with excavators compared to a machine that’s more mobile, like a used dozer. However, undercarriage rebuild is an expensive repair so it’s worthwhile to check it out.

Finally, inspect the bucket, and stick pins and bushings to ensure there isn’t excessive wear.

4. History and Characteristics
Further digging into a machine’s history, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask for service records, including detailed info like oil sample history.

Check all the pressures and make sure the speeds are set to factory specifications. An immediate red flag is a machine that can’t meet the factory specifications.

A machine’s hours is a final trait worth looking at. Machine values start to drop off significantly after 6,000 hours. Consider the long-term potential of the excavator in a fleet to determine the impact its hours has on the purchase.

5. Additional Use Considerations
The remaining areas to consider when looking for a used excavator go back to the add-ons that are of interest. 

Similar to the excavator market itself, the excavator technology market is hot right now. 2D, 3D, and other advanced automation systems are or will be available and making significant impact on the industry.

An advantage to used excavators is they can be outfitted with these systems – a company doesn’t need to buy a brand-new machine to get the latest technology. Better yet, look for a used machine already equipped with some kind of automation or machine control guidance technology.

For users who need to run more attachments, high-flow attachments, and run them for several hours, auxiliary hydraulics are a must-have.

If the trend of excavator popularity continues, expect them to be tougher to find and come with a higher price tag. Those looking to stay on top of the trend and invest in a quality used excavator now can follow these tips to find the right one for the fleet.


About the Author
Dennis Howard has spent more than a decade with RDO Equipment Co.’s construction equipment division, working with teams in the company’s Texas and the Desert Southwest regions. As a Vice President, he focuses on fleet management, with used construction equipment values and heavy equipment sales two of his key areas of expertise. He’s a member of the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) and a regular contributor to Connect with him on Twitter @RDODennisH.

Shop used excavators for sale from RDO Equipment Co. to find the right addition to your fleet.

Browse complete listings of available used construction equipment from RDO Equipment Co. or find options by visiting your local RDO Equipment Co. store.