Buying a bulldozer is a large investment and there are a lot of elements to consider. It’s not unusual for people in this position to be unsure what to look for when buying a bulldozer. This is especially true if it’s the first time they’ve done so, or they don’t personally have experience working with dozers, but need to purchase one for their business.
The main concern tends to be the cost involved, but there is a lot more to purchasing the right bulldozer than snagging a bargain. Here are some essential things to consider...
One thing you should always check are the tracks. Ensure they’re in good condition, as replacing the tracks on a bulldozer is very expensive, and will set you back around £15,000. You should also assess the connections between blade and bulldozer, as these connections take a lot of strain.
Both the attachments and hydraulics on a dozer should be tested before purchase, to ensure they’re working smoothly. The controls should be easily managed, while the hydraulics and attachments should respond quickly. You should also make sure the blades and rippers are working correctly.
Bulldozers have different undercarriages, depending on the type of terrain and the environment they are designed to work in. The two dominant forms of undercarriage are Heavy and Standard. The former is specifically designed with enhanced components, including steel plating, to make the dozer is as strong as possible. A Heavy Bulldozer is capable of handling rough terrain, like sloping landscapes and rocky areas.
On the other hand, a Standard undercarriage is suited to landscaping and construction work. Before you buy a bulldozer, it’s vital that you know the exact type of terrain in which you will be using your dozer.
Safety is a major concern when buying a bulldozer, especially if you are intending to use it for construction. Ensure everything is up to current safety standards, and there are clear guidelines for operating your new dozer. If the bulldozer you’re considering buying is used, make sure there have been no off-book mods which could affect its usability or safety. Check all the safety features for wear and tear.
It’s important to consider the size of bulldozer you need. Smaller dozers are easier to transport, but you need to ensure your new machine is big enough to do everything required.
Bear in mind the size of your dozer will affect the ground you’re able to work on and vice versa - tough terrain requires larger, harder dozers, but in turn, larger bulldozers can’t be used on more delicate terrain.
Consider the availability of the bulldozer itself. Is the machine you’re considering readily available on the lot, or does it need importing? How long will you have to wait for it? Imported machines can take a couple of months to arrive - do you have time to wait?
Another point of consideration is how easily spare parts are available for the specific bulldozer you are buying. Repairs and maintenance are inevitable. You will need to get hold of spare parts if you want to get the most out of your new bulldozer and keep it in good working order. Before you buy, find out how easily parts can be found, how expensive they are, and what options are available in terms of support, maintenance, servicing, and warranties.
If you’re purchasing a used bulldozer, check its service history before purchase. In particular you want to know how many hours are on the clock. A dozer can still have a lot of life left in it, even with 5,000 hours under its belt, but it’s important to ensure the engine and undercarriage have been replaced, and the machine properly cared for during those hours.
Provided the bulldozer has been well maintained, a used machine can be a good option, but be careful where you source your used dozer. Less reputable providers have been known to alter the clocks on older models - greatly changing what you think you’re buying.
To be sure of avoiding this, Komatsu bulldozers are a good option:
“If the bulldozer you’re thinking of buying is Komatsu, take advantage of their web portal. They keep detailed information on each vehicle they produce, including fuel consumption and hours worked. It’s a great way to double check if the seller is trying to pull a fast one and has fiddled with the mileage clock!”
- Louis Gibbings, Director @ Red Bull Equipment
Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare prices online. Whether you’re buying a new or used dozer, it’s important to understand the full value of the machine you’re purchasing. This will ensure you get a good deal, and don’t pay over the odds.
Understanding pricing can also give you a good idea of the true condition of a machine - if the price seems too good to be true, the odds are there’s a good reason for that!
Buying a used bulldozer can save you money, but be sure to purchase from a trusted vendor, and thoroughly check the machine out before you commit.
For what it’s worth, we at Red Bull pride ourselves on how price competitive we are, whilst still maintaining the levels of service we think should be standard. You can browse our range of dozers right here.