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Used Dozer Buying Guide

May 16, 2023

What to look for when determining how to buy a used dozer that will meet your day-to-day project needs, and if it can withstand the ongoing test of time!

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Research and Preparation

If you're in the market for a used bulldozer (dozer), it's important to do your research to ensure that you make a wise investment.

Buying a used dozer can be a cost-effective option for many buyers, but it's important to be aware of the potential risks and pitfalls that can come with buying used equipment. With the right information at your fingertips and knowing what to look for, you can make an informed decision and buy a great used dozer that meets your needs and fits your budget.

In this article we discuss:

  • Getting ready to buy
  • Equipment inspection
  • Project considerations
  • Comparing dozers

For more information on dozers, check out Bulldozers: What You Need to Know.

Getting ready to buy

When preparing to buy a used dozer, here are six key factors to consider:

  1. Your specific needs: Think about the tasks that you will be using the dozer for, and make sure that the machine you choose is capable of handling them. Consider the size and power of the dozer, the type of blade, and any additional features you may need.
  2. Budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend, taking into account any potential maintenance or repair costs.
  3. Age and usage history: A newer machine may have fewer hours of operation and may be in better condition, but it may also come with a higher price tag. An older machine may be more affordable but may require more maintenance and repairs.
  4. Condition: Look for signs of wear and tear, and inspect the engine, transmission, and hydraulic systems. You may want to consider hiring a professional inspector or mechanic to give the machine a thorough evaluation.
  5. Seller reputation: Do your research on the seller or dealer you are considering purchasing from. Look for reviews and ratings from previous customers, and make sure the seller is reputable and trustworthy.
  6. Availability of parts and service: If replacement parts are difficult to find or the servicing is expensive, it may not be the best option for you.

A row of Caterpillar Dozers

Inspecting the Dozer

To get a good idea of the condition of the equipment, it is important to inspect the following components:

  • Undercarriage: Include the tracks, rollers, sprockets, and idlers. Check for signs of wear and tear, such as worn or cracked rubber, damaged track links, and loose or damaged rollers. The undercarriage is one of the most expensive parts of a dozer to repair or replace, so it's important to pay close attention to this area.
  • Engine: Check for signs of damage or leaks. Look for rust, corrosion, or any other signs of wear and tear. Check the oil and coolant levels and listen for any unusual noises when the engine is running.
  • Transmission: Inspect for any signs of wear and tear and check the fluid levels. Test the gears and clutches to ensure they're working properly.
  • Hydraulics: Check for any leaks or damage to the hoses and cylinders. Test the blade and any other hydraulic systems, such as rippers or winches, to ensure that they're functioning properly.
  • Blade: Inspect for any signs of wear and damage, including cracks or bends, and test the blade angle and tilt functions.
  • Cab: Check any damage or wear, including the seat, steering wheel, pedals, and gauges. Make sure that all the controls are working properly.
  • Service and maintenance records: Ask the seller for service and maintenance records to determine if the machine has been well-maintained.

Consider a professional inspection to ensure that nothing is overlooked or missed.

Project Considerations

To make sure you get the right used dozer, here are five considerations:  

  1. Job type: If you're working on rough terrain, you'll need a bulldozer with good traction and a sturdy undercarriage. If you're working in a confined space, you may need a smaller dozer that's more maneuverable.
  2. Site conditions: If you're working in a muddy or wet environment, you may need wider tracks to provide better flotation. If you're working on rocky terrain, you'll need  a strong blade that can handle the rocks.
  3. Size: Larger dozers are generally more powerful and can handle bigger jobs, but may not be practical for smaller job sites. Smaller dozers may not have the power or capabilities needed for larger jobs.
  4. Transport to a job site: If you're transporting the dozer on a trailer, make sure the trailer is rated for the weight of the dozer and that the dozer can be safely loaded and unloaded.
  5. Cost: Used dozers can be good value, but make sure to factor in any repair or maintenance costs. It may be worth spending more upfront on a higher quality machine if it will save you money in the long run.

Comparing dozers

Once you have taken into account your project needs, you may want to compare the different dozer brands and models to determine how well they have performed over their lifetime so far, and the condition they are currently in.

You ultimately want to choose a brand that will meet your needs and provide reliable performance for any of your projects. Compare:

  • Age and hours: Look for brands that are known for producing machines that are durable and long-lasting, even with high hours.
  • Condition: Look for brands that are known for producing machines that are easy to maintain and repair, and that have a good reputation for durability.
  • Service and maintenance history: Look for brands that have a good reputation for reliability and that have been well-maintained by previous owners.
  • Availability of parts: Look for brands that have a good supply chain for replacement parts, so you can get the parts you need quickly and easily.
  • Price: Look for brands that offer a good value for the price, with a balance of performance, features, and affordability.
  • Resale value: Look for brands that hold their value well over time, so you can recoup some of your investment if you decide to sell the dozer later.

It is important to choose a brand with a strong reputation for quality and reliability. Some popular manufacturers include John Deere, Komatsu, and Caterpillar. Check out our dozer category page to find out more and see what dozers we have available to buy now.

Before you purchase

Before purchasing any equipment, it is important to inspect it if possible (or have it inspected) and understand its condition, maintenance history, and any potential repair costs.

2017 Komatsu D61PX-24 Dozer

Searching for used dozers

Finding the equipment you need can be time-consuming. Here are some ways to locate used dozers, or any other heavy equipment for sale:

  • Online marketplaces: There are many online marketplaces that specialize in buying and selling used equipment. You can search for equipment by type, brand, model, location, and price range.
  • Auction websites: Some auction websites specialize in selling used heavy equipment. These websites allow you to search for equipment by category, manufacturer, location, and auction date.
  • Classified ads: You can also search for used equipment on classified ad websites. These websites allow you to search for equipment by type, location, and price range.
  • Dealerships: Many equipment dealerships sell both new and used equipment. You can find local dealerships by doing a search online.
  • Industry publications: Trade publications often have classified ads for used equipment. You can also find equipment listings in these publications' online versions or print versions if you sign-up to receive them.
  • Social media: Some social media platforms have groups dedicated to buying and selling used equipment. You can search for these groups by using relevant keywords and joining groups that are relevant to your industry.

Where to purchase

Purchasing options include:

  • Dealerships: Many heavy equipment dealerships sell both new and used equipment. These dealerships may offer warranties or financing options for used equipment.
  • Online marketplaces: Some online marketplaces specialize in selling used heavy equipment. Buyers can browse through listings and communicate directly with sellers.
  • Auctions/Auction Houses: Heavy equipment auctions are another popular option. Auctions may take place online or in person and offer a variety of equipment at competitive prices.
  • Private sellers: Buyers can also purchase used equipment directly from private sellers. This may involve searching classified ads or reaching out to contacts within the industry.

Financing your dozer

If you need financing for your purchase, consider these options:

  • Equipment financing companies: These companies may offer a variety of financing options, such as leases, loans, and lines of credit.
  • Equipment dealerships: Some heavy equipment dealerships offer financing options for both new and used equipment. These dealerships may have relationships with financing companies or may offer in-house financing options.
  • Banks and credit unions: These traditional lenders may offer options but may also have specific requirements and could require collateral for the loan.
  • Online lenders: These lenders may offer more flexible terms and may be quicker to approve loans.

Compare interest rates, terms, and fees from multiple lenders. It is important to have a good understanding of your financial situation and budget to ensure that you can make payments on time. Additionally, it could be beneficial to work with a financial advisor or equipment expert to determine the best financing option for your specific needs.

Let the Experts at Black Star Help!

The buying process takes a lot of thought and effort, and Black Star can make it easier for you. We have a proven track record of working with customers in a wide range of industries to provide information and equipment solutions that meet specific needs.

Our team’s industry expertise enables us to provide complete transparency and hold in-depth, technical discussions with interested buyers. We perform detailed inspections of all the equipment we sell and we have direct access to our sellers at every stage in the selling process. We also conduct extensive research and analysis on the latest industry trends and developments, enabling us to share valuable and trustworthy, unbiased and comprehensive information.

Our regular online auctions run on multiple platforms, depending on whether it’s a timed-online, or live virtual (auctioneer-led online). You can register to bid in advance so you are ready on auction day. Want to know more about online auctions and how they work, click here.

If you are unable to locate a particular used dozer to meet your needs now, we would be pleased to conduct a customized search. You can see all equipment we have available to buy now. We also know of many contractors and business owners in our network that have equipment they want to sell when a buyer comes along.

We are strategically connected to many highly-regarded industry experts. Our reputation in the marketplace has a number of long-established and credible companies partnering with us to provide added value for our customers, such as for transportation or financing.

If you need to know more about what to look for and how to buy the right used dozer for your needs, contact our experts today.

This article is our representation of useful information and is not intended to be a complete guide for making the right decision for your company. Ask our experts - or your own - for specific advice based on your unique circumstances.

Used Dozer Buying Guide
Rob LeMaster

Rob’s background and experience in the heavy equipment and transportation industries positions him to provide technical expertise and practical insights that cater to the specific needs and challenges of business owners and contractors in these industries.

When you decide to sell your equipment,
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