Purchasing A Mustang Skid Steer? Important Things To Know

Published: 19th February 2008
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Copyright (c) 2008 Will Burke

There are many, many options when it comes time to purchase your skid steer. With manufacturers like Mustang, Bobcat, Caterpillar, etc., you may find yourself asking, "Where should I begin?" Here are some things to consider when you think about buying a skid steer.

You first will need to decide whether your needs would be filled by a used unit or if you are at a point that a new unit would be best suitable for your needs, secondly you will need to determine the proper size machine for your application, depending on the type work you do, the largest or highest horsepower machine isn't always the most efficient machine.

You will also need to decide if you were going to set a budget to spend or if you are going to be financing this unit. If you intend to purchase a unit outright, you will need to set your budget realistically. Some of the aggravation may stem from not being able to find a machine in the size range that also fit in the price range you are looking to spend. When shopping for a used unit, you must really pay attention to the unit, sometimes folks will let the glitter blind them, a machine with the best aesthetic value may not always be the best mechanical value. You need to look past shiny paint and new tires, you should do a complete evaluation on the machine, key points to check are as listed below.

1. Look for wear on important hinge points of the machine. Check for abnormal play in pinned joints on the boom lift arm. Check the bucket hinge pins and all bucket and lift cylinder pinned joints, always be sure to check both ends of the hydraulic cylinder ends.

2. Check for broken welds or cracks on structural components of the machine. You will want to inspect the boom lift arm, axle tubes and housings, check around hydraulic cylinder pinned joints. Also, make sure you pay attention to the bucket. If you see multiple post manufacture welds, this may be an indicator that the machine has been used in an abusive manner, such as ramming skid steer into large masses.

3. Check for excessive oil or fuel leaks. Look over engine compartment, if accessible check under the cab of the unit as well. Don't count on finding a used machine that is perfectly dry, but you don't want oil standing in the belly of the unit either. Also keep in mind that just because the a unit has an oil leak doesn't mean the unit has problems, it can be as simple as a lose hose fitting, or a failed

4. Check the steering and drivability of the machine. This could be one of the more important parts of the inspection, due to the nature of the problem these can be a more expensive fix and worse, it could be a safety issue as well. Drive the unit fully engaged forward, check that the machine tracks straight. You will also want to be sure that there isn't a lot of slop in the chain case by driving the machine from reverse to forward and vice verse. When machine is in the neutral position be sure that the unit isn't creeping (still moving), this can be very dangerous as it could run into something or if you are work with laborers it could cause injury.

5. Check for engine wear. Keep in mind most skid steer loaders are powered by diesel engines, much different than conventional gasoline engine. Diesel engines are much louder than gasoline engines, they have a noticeable clatter at lower rpm's.

Diesels may also smoke a little grayish-black smoke when first started or while warming up, this is normal especially in a used unit. Check for power loss under a light load, you may do this simply by driving the machine up a slight incline, the rpm's will drop some but they shouldn't drop more than 50 % of full throttle rpm's just from driving alone. Remember that diesel engines create the most power at lower rpm's under a load. Just because the engine is losing rpm's, that does not necessarily mean your losing power.

6. Lastly, check the overall condition of the machine. This step of the evaluation is important in the sense that you will want a machine that looks professional and you will base a portion of your decision off your findings from this step. If you do purchase a used skid steer, if the paint and decals show a lot of wear, I would highly recommend a good touch up to the paint and replace the decals. This is usually inexpensive and will give your machine a better aesthetic value, especially important if you are a contractor, You want customers to feel confident in the equipment your using to complete their projects.


Will Burke has been selling skid steers and many different types of construction equipment for the last 9 years. For more information, visit http://www.buyhaydenequip.com.

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