Shopping for used diesel generators is a great way to save some money but there is often a taboo about buying used equipment. It makes sense after all, with a new product you generally know exactly what you’re getting. With a used product you can never be so sure. At least not without doing a little work.
The truth is that as long as you’re careful and you know what to look for you can end up with a great product at a fraction of the cost.Three key things that you want to check out when purchasing a used diesel generator are:
- The age and history of the generator
- Physical wear and tear on the unit
- Who you’re purchasing from
Now let’s discuss each point with a little more depth.
Age and History
When you buy a used generator you should always ask detailed questions about the age and the history of the unit. Was it used as a primary unit or a standby/backup unit? How many hours does it have on it? Has it been regularly maintained and kept well under max load?
It’s important to keep in mind that the age of a used generator and history of use are two separate things. Age is simply how old the generator is and it is far from the whole story. What’s much more important is how many hours the generator has been used for and what it has been used for.
Just as one example: a generator that’s only a few months old but was used continuously and has been run for thousands of hours is a different beast from a generator that’s two years old but was used as a backup power source and only has a few hours on it.
Physical Wear and Tear
A visual inspection should always be performed before you buy a used diesel generator. Any mechanical device that is put under a heavy load is prone to wear and tear. Check mechanical parts for cracks or corrosion. You should also look to see if all of the parts are original as generator parts occasionally fail or wear out and need to be replaced. This is not necessarily a bad sign by itself but you should be aware of any parts that aren’t original and make sure to ascertain that they were installed by a certified technician.
After performing a visual inspection you should also perform a load test. Placing the generator under load will bring to light most underlying issues, if there are any, and give you a sense of the real world performance you can expect from this generator. Performing a load test is especially important if you’re buying a generator that has been heavily used, as you can’t always rely on manufacturer specifications to determine the performance in that case.
Always Know Who You’re Buying From
Diesel generators are complicated pieces of machinery. They need to be properly used, maintained, and tested in order to operate at full efficiency. That’s why it’s important to purchase from professional and knowledgeable dealers. These days it’s easier than ever to research people and businesses and it’s important that you make full use of this ability.
The judgment doesn’t stop there either. Pay attention to how they act when you’re checking out the generator. Are they forthright in answering your questions? Do they know everything they should know about this generator (age/history/manufacturer). They may be perfectly courteous about their lack of knowledge but the world is full of nice people. In this case you need someone knowledgeable so you don’t end up wasting your money.
Another thing to consider: do they seem like they’re in a rush to make a deal? A diesel generator should not be an impulse purchase. Take your time, do your research, ask your questions. If the dealer can’t respect that then take your business elsewhere. It may seem like shopping for the dealer is more complicated than shopping for the generator (and in some cases it is) but rest assured that there are knowledgeable, friendly, and patient dealers out there.
As long as you know what—and who—to look for, shopping for used generators can get you great equipment at a low cost. Just remember to check out the age and history, do a physical inspection, and research your dealer and you will have no issues at all.