Tips to bid and buy with confidence at the next Euro Auctions sale in Dubai

With OEMs reducing or ceasing production of new machinery due to Covid-19, quality used construction plant and machinery is predicted to be in high demand at the Euro Auctions Dubai sale on 29 June 2020 .

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Euro Auctions’ scheduled plant and machinery auction on 29 June 2020 in Dubai is expected to attract much attention from not just the Gulf, but from a global audience. In the last 12 months, since mid-2019, there has been a marked ‘up-take’ in the Middle East market for good machines. Contractors and rental companies in the Middle East have been buying relatively low levels of new machines for the last 4 to 5 years and as a result stocks of plant are aging. Not buying through dealerships, buyers have turned to auctions for good late year machines as well as new unused stock.

Now with the Covid-19 virus affecting the global economy and OEMs ceasing manufacturing activities, the used plant market could well boom in the next 12 months, as it happened in 2008. In February 2020, JCB stopped production at all of its UK and China based manufacturing plants due to Covid-19. Caterpillar, which has been involved in China’s remarkable economic growth since the early 1970s, has now closed its factories.

Attending big plant and machinery sales, is like visiting a super dealership, or a ‘one-stop shop’ where buyers have access to every make and model of machines in one place, including many unregistered machines on offer. Now auctions are no longer seen as places to dump the rubbish. Many rental companies send entire fleets of good, well-maintained two to three-year-old machines to auction, making them ideal purchases for dealers, contractors, and civil engineering companies.

Buying at auction need not be a traumatic experience. Derek Bleakley, general manager of Euro Auctions, Dubai, provides the following tips on how to bid and buy with confidence.


Do your research before you visit the auction. Decide what it is you are looking for, making a list of some of the specific requirements to ensure that you purchase the right piece of machinery. Avoid making impulse purchases and paying over the odds for a machine you can’t afford!

Location, price and budget 

Consider from where you want to buy, via a closed or public auction, where it will be possible to view multiple units of the same equipment giving buyers choice. Regarding price, ask: Does it feel right? Is it too cheap? If it is, there could be a problem. Predetermine your budget, or at least be sure what the bank or finance house is prepared to advance for such a purchase.

Visual checks

The simplest check is visual. Is it clean, is there leaking of fluid, does it start, is it smoking? Do all the controls work, are rams tight, are slew rings (for diggers) tight or slack, are tyres and wheels in good order? If not, how much would you have to spend to put things right if you bought it!

General condition 

Look for overspray and painted-over decals that may indicate haste in painting or intent to cover up a problem. A cleaned or washed machine may be the mark of past good maintenance, or intent to ‘wash away’ potential problems. Look for fresh oil seeps and ‘new looking’ paint that was, until recently, protected by years of built-up grease. Look for new gasket edges and shiny metal where parts join, indicating new parts. You’ll need to know what caused a part to fail and need replacing.

Damage limitation

Check the engine for water stains: also check the engine block for evidence of oil leaks. Check the dipstick for heavy dirt deposits indicating the equipment could have been sitting for a long time. Thicker oils are sometimes used to reduce leakage. Check the owner’s manual for the proper oil grade. Lastly, check the floor and under the seats for signs of rust.

Check the VIN plate

Check the VIN plate for condition and its current position. Is its position consistent with other models in the same class? Is it fixed with new rivets that don’t match? Does it look out of place? Is it stuck on by some other means? Has a serial number been ground off and that area repainted? 

Contractors equipment

Contractors sometimes buy less-expensive agricultural equipment for their more demanding industrial uses. Watch out for points of excess wear plus oversized or heavy-duty tires not typical of the equipment. Look for hammer marks, kinks in hoses and part misalignment, indicating that the wrong parts were used or care during assembly was ignored.

Check the machine history

Check the history of the machine. Is the service history available? If not, who has owned the machine previously? A couple of phone calls should turn up some intelligence. If the machine appears to be an ‘ex-hire’ item, call the hire company and ask a few questions.

‘Run it’ and ‘drive it’

Obvious, but not always done! Start the machine and observe any start-up problems, smoke puffs or unusual sounds. Load machines in all gears once warmed up to check for the desired lugging power.

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