For a general inspection of any used vacuum excavator, start with the chassis. Inspect the front suspension for wear because this is an expensive repair. Local shops may provide a free inspection and estimate. If not, it may be worth the cost to pay a professional inspector.
Look for structural damage by visual inspection and also by road tests. Drifting steering direction can be a leading indicator of frame damage.
Most general mechanics are experts on the chassis. However most have very little experience with used vacuum trucks. Try contacting other owners or dealers of the same model and ask them as many questions regarding the reputation of the vacuum truck manufacturer and the model.
Also ask about the overall vacuum excavator's service and maintenance history.
Call the hydro vac excavation machine manufacturer
A vacuum excavator’s manufacturer representative will gladly give you as much information needed especially if they believe you are a prospective customer. Calling the manufacturer’s service department and asking for advice on how to inspect a used vacuum excavator will help you then generate a complete checklist. Always mention the application you wish to operate this machine in – this way your advisors will direct you towards the best configuration.
Avoid any models that are difficult to source parts for or are difficult to service. Make sure the manufacture still stocks parts – your business depends on your machine uptime.
Before you buy used, ask these questions:
- Has the vacuum truck ever been wrecked?
- How many miles does the transmission and the engine have?
- Is the seller ready to certify that the mileage and hours are as stated?
- Are there vacuum truck service records? Was the maintenance schedule maintained?
- Was service done by a professional shop or by the owner?
- In what condition is the sewer jetter hose, water suction hose and hydraulic system?
Advice on selling a used vacuum excavator:
- Clean up your machine – wash it down – show some pride in ownership.
- Touch up paint will give you the greatest bang for the buck.
- Organize your service records, your repair bills and show you maintained your excavation equipment as best as possible.
Related Article: Vacuum Truck Rentals
Buyer and seller must create a level of comfort and trust before transacting on such a large business investment. A used vacuum excavator can potentially make or break a small business owner – trade with eyes wide open.