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A Quick Guide to Pre-Trade Inspections for Used Equipment

A Quick Guide to Pre-Trade Inspections for Used Equipment

13 May 2024 Author: John Harmon Read time: 3 min

Whether you're motivated by economic conditions or ready for the latest tractor or excavator model equipped with GPS tech but without the potential sticker shock of a brand-new machine, a used equipment evaluation should be your next step. And you're not alone; RDO Equipment Co. has already completed over 10,000 used equipment evaluations this year. While these evaluations seem mysterious to an outsider, they follow a simple yet detailed process to collect as much pertinent information as possible before assigning an accurate price for the used machine.  

A used equipment evaluation is an essential preventative measure against risk for the owner and equipment dealer before any used heavy equipment trades. As the used equipment owner, if you feel the price is too low for your machines, you'll walk away without trading in the tractor and upgrading to the next model. As the used buyer, if the machine's price is overvalued based on the market, you may fear the machine will fail to return to a working job site. So, you're the one leaving the trade table.  

What's the key to facilitating a successful used equipment trade? RDO inspectors complete the inspection process to define the right price, so the buyer and seller create a winning equipment trade for both the buyer and seller.  

The Process: Used Equipment Evaluation 

RDO service departments or experienced equipment inspectors who are dedicated to this process, conduct pre-trade inspections any time a customer is looking to trade in ag or construction equipment that meets the following criteria:

  • Not covered under a comprehensive warranty
  • Machines older than two years 
  • Compact construction equipment with 1,500-plus production hours 
  • Ag equipment with 2,000-plus production hours
  • Construction equipment with 3,000-plus production hours.

During the inspection, the inspector or service technician will most likely visit your location to perform a preliminary analysis. Then, the inspector or technician checks the following: 

  • Compression tests to check engine pressures
  • Collect fluid samples for analysis
  • Records stored or active fault codes
  • Verifies installed features and options.

When applicable, the inspector or technician documents any work the machine will need to make it “ready for the lot” and a new home. The inspector snaps photos of the equipment used and submits the pre-trade inspection form, complete with trade evaluation and an estimate for service or repair costs, to an Equipment Manager for review. 

RDO’s Equipment Managers consider the detailed pre-trade evaluation to assign a price based on the regional market. Managers use the machine information gathered during the process as their primary information source before comparing that machine to its closest equivalent listed. These pre-trade inspections require a team effort, where everyone from RDO service techs and inspectors to Equipment Managers are equally committed to completing an honest and precise used equipment inspection. With this process, owners of used ag or construction equipment can rest assured knowing they’ll get the correct value for their trade-in machine. Then, used machines can have a second life, delivered to the next customer who requires the well-taken care of tractor, loader or anything else at a reasonable price. 

John Harmon

As the General Manager of Ag Reconditioning Equipment, John Harmon works with experienced technicians and equipment professionals to help customers evaluate their used agriculture or construction equipment’s production lifetime. As an equipment industry veteran with more than a decade of experience, Harmon is driven by his passion to help those who build our communities and grow our food.  

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