When buying a new excavator – or any piece of new equipment – there are many factors to consider: purchase price, brand reputation, dealer support, etc. Another factor not to be overlooked is the warranty. Warranties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so prospective buyers need to be diligent when evaluating their equipment choices.
To help provide some guidance on what to consider in a warranty, Utility Contractor talked to Adam Woods, product manager of excavator manufacturer Link-Belt Excavators (LBX). LBX, based in Lexington, Kentucky, provides excavators ranging in size from 7.5 to 75 tons.
“When customers are looking at buying a new machine and comparing warranties, one of the things they need to understand is: What does the warranty actually cover?” Woods said. “For example, some OEMs may offer a 3-year, 3,000-hour warranty, but what does that cover? Does it cover the engine? Does it cover the powertrain? Does it cover emissions? Our warranty is a full-machine warranty, which is similar to a bumper-to-bumper warranty for a new automobile.
“Additionally, a customer should look at what is covered beyond the basic warranty. For example, LBX offers a 5-year, 3,000-hour warranty on emissions, and a 3-year, 10,000-hour structural warranty, which includes the turntable bearing. The bottom line is, you need to understand exactly what the warranty is covering.”
To fully understand what the warranty covers, ask questions, Woods says. “We see a lot of customers who just look at the large print,” he said. “However, they should be asking specific questions up front to see what is covered under specific scenarios that they may encounter or have encountered in the past. And, they need to read the fine print. Sometimes it comes down to the experience level of a customer. Someone who has been in the industry for a long time will know the right questions to ask.”
Of course, proper operation and maintenance will ensure you don’t void a warranty, as well as increase productivity and efficiency. “It is interesting that oftentimes people will operate the machines without ever looking at the operator’s manual,” Woods said. “People who have been operating equipment for years may think it’s trivial, but the operator’s manual clearly states the intervals for maintenance and the procedures for maintenance. These are things that may be different from manufacturer to manufacturer, and even model to model. If end users were to clearly read the operator’s manual, they could avoid some failures. It is important to clearly and fully understand the specified guidelines OEMs provide to operate and perform maintenance on their machines.”