7 tips for buying a wheel loader

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  • Earthmovers & Excavators

JCB CEA gives us the lowdown on what to look for in a wheel loader

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Choosing the right wheel loader for your needs is no simple task and there are a number of considerations to keep in mind when arriving at your decision.

JCB Construction Equipment Australia says choosing the right wheel loader involves truly understanding the tasks the machine will be performing, getting advice from the right places and realising that the unit’s price is just one consideration.

JCB wheel loaders national product manager Deon Cope outlines the key factors to consider when looking to purchase a wheel loader:


Do the groundwork

Cope says understanding the roles the wheel loader will be expected to perform is crucial.

"The right machine will depend on the task it needs to do," Cope says. "Also think about the diversity of work -- if it will be constantly switching between tasks, you’ll want a tool carrier that makes light work of changing attachments. If it uses a bucket all the time, you may want to consider a Z-bar for optimum breakout force."

Transportation of the loader is also important.

"If the wheel loader is being moved by road," Cope continues, "the transport width of the machine and any attachments need to be considered. Choosing an over-width option can create headaches if it’s frequently being used between sites.

"If you’re doing significant road travel or if the machine is working in different sections of a large site, the PowerShift transmission may be a better option."


Get solid support

Cope highlights that your equipment supplier should be able to provide parts quickly if the dealer does not have them on hand.

"While many councils and waste facilities have their own workshops, an appropriate level of support from your equipment partner is important," he says. "Look for a supplier who will appoint an experienced person as your key contact."


Opt for durability

Choose a machine that is designed to protect its internal components, Cope says.

"Choose machines that are designed to protect hydraulic hoses and other components, and consider other protective options like under guards and light shields," he says.

"This is especially important if your equipment is used for site preparation work where it will have to move through dense vegetation and constricted spaces."

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Match your bucket

Getting the right bucket for your loader is a matter of working out a daily production figure and the density of the materials the bucket will be handling.

"Determine daily production targets and material density," Cope says. "If you work with different materials, spec the bucket based on the heaviest material it will handle."


Invest in attachments

Increasing the versatility of the loader (and also its value) by adding loader-specific attachments is ideal, Cope says. These include heavy rock buckets, pallet forks and grapples.

"To make the most of your attachments and maximise productivity, ensure all machines you buy have an automatic quick hitch," he adds.


Focus on breakout force

A wheel loader’s breakout force is one of its most important specs, and has a direct impact on productivity as productivity increases with faster bucket fill rates.

"Wheel loader productivity is frequently measured in machine power and lift capacity," Cope says. "Optimum hydraulic performance improves cycle times for increased productivity."


Look at the big picture

Finally, JCB CEA says that the purchase price of a wheel loader is just one aspect to consider when determining a loader’s value. To get optimum value you need to consider operational costs and resale value as well.

"Choosing a fuel-efficient machine, ideally one that can operate a full shift on one tank can mean big savings," Cope says. "You should also look for the latest in emissions management technology, to keep emissions down and meet community expectations.

"And don’t forget about resale value. A bargain buy is not a bargain if you can’t sell it when the time comes. Choosing a reputable brand is the surest way to secure resale value."


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