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Used Skid Steer Buying Guide

May 22, 2023

A skid steer is a valuable asset on any job site. If you’re looking to buy a used skid steer, this guide will help you choose wisely.

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A skid steer can be a game-changer for your operations. But before you make a purchase, it's crucial to understand the ins and outs of buying a used skid steer.

Investing in a used skid steer can be a cost-effective solution, allowing you to save money without compromising on quality or performance. So, let's explore the world of used skid steers and how this information can help with your decision to buy.

In this article we discuss:

  • Purchasing considerations
  • Assessing condition and usage
  • Making the right investment
  • Different types and uses of skid steers

For more information, check out Skid Steers: What You Need to Know.


Skid steers are known for their maneuverability, power, and ability to handle a wide range of tasks with different attachments. When searching for a used skid steer to buy, this general approach can help you to successfully navigate the buying process.

  • To narrow down your options and find a suitable machine for your projects, assess lifting capacity, attachment compatibility, maneuverability, and size of machine.
  • Consider the initial purchase cost and the potential maintenance or repair expenses, to help you focus your search and avoid overspending.
  • Search for reputable used equipment sellers. Do your research on their reputation, read customer reviews and evaluate all ratings.
  • Get insights into the skid steer's overall condition and potential lifespan. Check if maintenance records are available, and ask about usage history, including the number of operating hours and the type of tasks performed. Are you able to arrange an inspection?
  • Are there signs of damage, wear, or rust to the engine, hydraulic systems, controls, tires, and attachments.
  • If satisfied with the machine’s condition and performance, negotiate the price with the seller. Take into account factors such as its age, condition, usage hours, and any necessary repairs or maintenance.

2019 CASE SV280 Skid Steer


Pay attention to the overall cleanliness and maintenance of the skid steer, as it can provide insights into how well the machine has been looked after over time.

Keep an eye out for any signs of excessive wear, leaks, or damage.


  • Look for signs of damage, cracks, or major dents on the frame, body panels, and attachments.
  • Check for rust or corrosion, especially in areas prone to moisture or exposure to the elements.

Engine and Hydraulic Systems

  • Start the engine and listen for any unusual noises, such as knocking or grinding.
  • Check for leaks in the engine compartment, hydraulic hoses, and fittings.
  • Inspect belts, filters, and fluid levels.
  • Assess the hydraulic system performance by testing the controls, ensuring smooth operation and responsiveness.

Tires and Tracks

  • Inspect the tires or tracks, looking for signs of wear, cuts, or tears.
  • Check tire tread depth and look for uneven wear patterns, which may indicate alignment or suspension issues.

Operator's Compartment

  • Sit in the operator's seat and check the seat cushion, armrests, and controls.
  • Test all controls, switches, and gauges.
  • Ensure that safety features such as seat belts, lights, and warning indicators are in proper working order.


  • Examine any included attachments, such as buckets or forks.
  • Check the wear on cutting edges, teeth, or welds.
  • Ensure attachment mechanisms such as quick couplers function properly.


  • If the skid steer has tracks, inspect the undercarriage components, including sprockets, rollers, and idlers.
  • Look for signs of wear, damaged or missing components, and loose tracks.

Maintenance and Service Records

  • Request maintenance records to verify if the skid steer has been regularly serviced and maintained.
  • Check for documentation of any major repairs or component replacements.

Usage History

  • Inquire about the skid steer's usage history, including the number of hours it has been operated.
  • Determine the type of tasks it has been used for and evaluate if it aligns with your intended applications.


A skid steer’s primary function is to provide a stable platform with a lifting mechanism at the front, allowing for the attachment of various implements such as buckets, forks, augers, and brush cutters. This versatility enables the machine to perform tasks such as digging, grading, hauling, material handling, snow removal, and many others.

Overall, you want a quality used skid steer that aligns with your needs and budget, as well as job demands and work environment:

  1. Define the tasks and applications you need the skid steer to perform. Determine the specific lifting capacity, reach, and capabilities required for your projects. Consider factors such as the type of materials to be handled, terrain conditions, and any specialized attachments you may need.
  2. Evaluate the space constraints and maneuverability requirements of your work environment. If you have limited access or tight spaces, a compact skid steer with a smaller turning radius may be more suitable. Larger projects or open areas may require a larger skid steer for increased stability and lifting capacity.
  3. Determine the range of attachments you may need for your tasks. Ensure that the skid steer you choose is compatible with a variety of attachments such as buckets, forks, trenchers, or sweepers. This will enable you to expand its functionality and adapt to different job requirements.
  4. Assess the power output and hydraulic system capabilities. Adequate engine power is essential for efficient operation, especially when using attachments that require significant hydraulic force. Consider the horsepower rating and hydraulic flow rate to ensure they align with workload demands.
  5. Research different brands and models. Consider reputation, reliability, customer reviews, and available support and service. Look for models known for their durability, performance, and compatibility with attachments commonly used in your industry.
  6. Consult with professionals or experienced operators. They can provide insights and recommendations based on their own experiences.
  7. Arrange a demo or test drive whenever possible so you can evaluate first-hand  the machine's performance, operator comfort, and ease of use.
  8. Judge whether there is the flexibility to adapt to evolving needs or if the skid steer can accommodate additional attachments or features as your business expands.


2016 BOBCAT S530 Skid Steer

Now you know what you need, determine what skid steer will help you meet those needs.  

Skid steers come in different sizes and configurations to accommodate specific demands. Compact skid steers are smaller and more agile, ideal for tight spaces and light-duty applications. Larger skid steers offer higher lifting capacities and increased stability, making them suitable for heavy-duty tasks.

The type of work, terrain conditions, space limitations, and specific operational requirements each play a key role in guiding you towards deciding on the right equipment.

Wheeled Skid Steer

Equipped with tires, providing versatility and maneuverability on various terrains. They are suitable for general construction, landscaping, agriculture, and material handling tasks. Wheeled skid steers excel in projects that require frequent transportation over paved surfaces or less challenging off-road conditions.

Track Skid Steer

Also known as compact track loaders, feature rubber or steel tracks instead of tires. These tracks offer enhanced traction and flotation, making them ideal for demanding environments such as muddy, uneven, or soft terrain. Track skid steers are commonly used in construction, forestry, agriculture, and land clearing projects.

Mini Skid Steer

Also called compact skid steers, are smaller and lighter versions of standard skid steers. They are designed for operating in tight spaces and have lower lifting capacities and are popular in residential construction, landscaping, and utility work, where maneuverability and minimal ground disturbance are crucial.

All-Terrain Skid Steer

Designed to handle rugged and challenging environments. They are equipped with features such as high ground clearance, robust undercarriages, and heavy-duty components. All-terrain skid steers are commonly used in mining, forestry, oil and gas, and pipeline construction.

Vertical Lift Skid Steer

This type has an extended lift arm design providing increased lifting height and reach. This configuration allows them to load materials into high-sided trucks, reach over obstacles, and perform tasks that require extended reach. They are suitable for construction, loading and unloading, and material placement applications.

Radial Lift Skid Steer

Commonly used in construction, excavation, and earthmoving projects, they have a traditional lift arm geometry, which provides excellent digging and pushing force. They are well-suited for tasks that require efficient digging, grading, and backfilling.

Electric Skid Steer

Powered by electric motors instead of traditional combustion engines. They produce zero emissions, operate quietly, and offer lower maintenance costs. Electric skid steers are preferred in indoor construction, warehouses, and environmentally sensitive areas where noise and emissions need to be minimized.

Compare brands too, such as CASE and BOBCAT, KUBOTA, NEW HOLLAND, and more.

Check out our skid steer category page to learn more. If you don’t see something that’s available now, check back often, or view our upcoming auction listings.

2018 KUBOTA SSV65 Skid Steer


We know of many contractors and business owners in our network that have skid steers to sell when a buyer comes along. You can request an equipment search so we can locate exactly what you need, or contact us directly.

We have a great selection of skid steers in our inventory to choose from and work every day  with customers in a wide range of industries to or locate and provide specific equipment solutions.

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. So if you have any questions about your skid steer purchase, we’ll answer them.

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 Skid Steer Buying Guide
Jim LeMaster

Jim is a customer experience guy! He's out there - boots on the ground - developing new business relationships, signing up, and inspecting equipment for both auction and private sale.

When you decide to sell your equipment,
we will personalize a way forward that benefits you.
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