A cold planer removing old asphalt

How to Find the Best Used Cold Planer for Sale and Determine Value

People who need to use heavy-duty equipment have buying options and power, which can include purchasing a used machine instead of buying a brand-new one. That said, finding the best used cold planer for sale can be tricky, especially if you're unsure where to begin.

As a general rule, it has to be safe, it has to be efficient, and it has to meet your specific needs. Let's highlight everything you need to know as you search for a high-quality, used cold planer.

Common Uses of a Cold Planer Machine

A cold planer is an asphalt milling machine that removes pre-existing pavement and concrete from roads and other driving surfaces. They are also a means of recycling the ground-up pavement, which is later used as aggregate in new pavement.

Cold planers are generally used to fix potholes, cracks, and poor skid resistance on roads with a lot of traffic and use. To fix the problem, contractors will use an asphalt overlay. But you can't simply add new asphalt and need a cold planer for proper surface preparation. Without one, you will have different elevation levels and layers that don't meet the required standards.

These machines can also remove varying levels of thickness in pavement and concrete. You may need just enough to roughen the surface, or you may need to remove the entirety of the pavement.

Cold planers can also grind safety features like rumble strips, which alert distracted drivers via vibration and audible rumbling.

How You Will Use Your Cold Planer

Finding the best used cold planer means understanding what you need it for and how vigorous the work will be. The machine comes in different sizes with varying cutting widths (ranging from ½ inch to 14 feet) and surface depths.

You may need a cold planer for more detailed, small-scale tasks like working on parking lots. Or perhaps you need a high-capacity machine to remove massive pavement sections from highways. Likewise, you may want a more maneuverable machine rather than a bulkier, more heavy-duty one.

Be sure you know the exact width of the surface you plan on grinding and the depth you want to obtain.

How to Determine Value in a Cold Planer

Finding the best used cold planer for sale means knowing what is right for your needs while still remembering your price target. Determining value also means performing a thorough inspection of the machine, communicating with the buyer, and purchasing a cold planer in adequate condition.

Make sure you do your due diligence by following this checklist:

  • Before using, you should always double-check the cutting teeth on a cold planer. And while you have to change these every few hours or days, you should still check the cutting teeth before agreeing to purchase a used cold planer. They should be readily able to spin freely without an immediate replacement.

  • Check the driveline for hydraulic leaks.

  • Check that no wire or string is wrapped around the drum's driveline.

  • Check the wear and tear levels of the hoses.

  • Make sure connections and couplers are secure. Also, couplers can often attract a lot of dust and dirt, which can damage the hydraulic lines in the machine.

  • Secure maintenance records from the seller and other up-to-date data like recent inspections and oil analysis.

  • Make sure you take many photos of the cold planer you're interested in. You should also record videos of it in use so you don't have to go back to the site multiple times.

  • Bring a second party with you for inspection and get their opinion.

Machine Lifespan and Total Usage Hours

Do you want a machine that gets the job done every day without fail? Or are you okay with buying a piece of equipment you have to work on before using it?

The lifespan of a machine and how often it was used before you can greatly impact value and efficiency. The average lifespan of a cold planer is roughly 5,000 hours or five years. After that time, maintenance becomes more frequent and costly.

Be sure to inquire about how long the seller has had the cold planer and how many hours it has logged. If you don't mind buying a cold planer that needs extra care and have the finances for operation and maintenance, you don't have to let the 5,000 hours deter you.

However, you have to consider depreciation and technological advancement. If you'd prefer a machine with higher productivity capabilities, modern technology, and fewer maintenance responsibilities, search for a cold planer with fewer hours.

Newer machines may also get the job done with more efficiency. Many come with computer controls that ensure the engine and hydraulic levels operate properly and optimally. Computers also ensure the machine doesn't overload and can save you a bundle in upkeep costs.

Pricing and Value Considerations

Finding a manageable price for a used cold planer is important, but you should also be wary of the current value. Heavy-duty equipment will fluctuate in value over the years.

Used cold planers can range in price depending on size and capabilities. You can snag a small one for around $20,000, but a heavy-duty machine may cost close to $100,000.

Ensure you also know key asset-specific values when purchasing any used equipment price. These include the manufacturer, specific model, and year of manufacture. Other asset-specific characteristics include the geographical location of purchase versus where it was procured, meter and usage values, and configuration.

Find the Best Used Cold Planer Today

Now that you know the value of a full inspection, you can make the best purchasing decision possible. Remember, it doesn't always matter how old your cold planer is. What matters is its capabilities and if you can confidently say that it will last for years to come.

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