Flood-damaged equipment a challenge | TheFencePost.com

Flood-damaged equipment a challenge

Flood waters all the way around the Lange barn.
Photo courtesy Lange family

As auction season warms up and flood recovery continues, the problem of flooded equipment may arise for sellers and buyers alike. Jeff Podliska, the quality assurance manager for Big Iron Auctions said the spring weather has temporarily delayed equipment sales and farming alike.

While he said flood damaged equipment has not yet been a major concern, it is a challenge for all involved.

Podliska said damaged equipment can be a challenge for buyers, sellers and auction companies. As the staff member who handles disputes for Big Iron, his first recommendation for sellers who own damaged equipment is to head to a dealership for a written assessment. An OEM, original equipment manufacturer dealer, he said, will know what to look for in terms of damage and can make repairs prior to selling the equipment.

“If you’re a buyer, it would behoove you to ask if the seller has had their local equipment dealer look at the piece of equipment and if so, do they have any documentation on the assessment of the equipment,” he said.

In the case of Big Iron, representatives are not certified inspectors and make only what he calls common sense observations.

“We look for signs of potential that equipment has been through flooding,” he said. “There will be water marks on tires, there could be wet carpeting, there could be electrical components that are not working that could have been shorted out.”

Podliska said speaking to sellers about the equipment they want to consign is important to protect all parties and ensure honest representation about use and condition. Equipment sold “as is, where is” is commonplace but he said this can’t exist without full disclosure, making honesty the best policy for buyer and seller alike.

Recognizing that different pieces of equipment are at risk for different levels of flood damage, owners of equipment that may have been damaged are encouraged to pursue a written assessment from a dealer, change all fluids and filters, flush fuel tank and lines, dry out the operator’s cab, and dry electronics. Electronics, with metal components, are difficult as problems may not appear until later when corrosion occurs.

Making repairs to components listed on the professional assessment prior to consignment can mean more dollars in a seller’s pocket as well.

According to Auburn University, insurance requirements, is applicable, should be met prior to any clean up of vehicles, equipment or tractors. Wheel bearings, radiators and batteries are all susceptible to water damage and often need to be cleaned, repaired, serviced or replaced. ❖

​— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 392-4410.