What Year Is My Bobcat? [By Serial Number]

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Knowing how old prospective equipment is can be a great indicator of how much you should pay for it used. Unlike passenger vehicles, construction equipment doesn’t require a registered title, except for in two states. This can make identifying the year of production a little tricky. If you are considering a used Bobcat skid steer, there is a way you can discover its age. We researched the Bobcat from numerous professional sources so that you’ll know a definite way to tell how old it is.

The Bobcat can have its age determined by calling in the serial number to Bobcat. A representative will take this information, then tell you what year your Bobcat was manufactured.

Now that we know that the serial number is used to identify the year of manufacture, we will break down this process into a few easy-to-follow steps. You might also be wondering how you can tell if heavy equipment is stolen or if all Bobcats use the same key. When did Bobcat stop using Kubota engines? How long does a Bobcat skid steer last? For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post, to see what our research has uncovered.

A white Skid loader with the operators door left open, What Year Is My Bobcat? [By Serial Number]

Breaking down the process of finding your Bobcat’s year of production

While it’s not as simple as just looking at a title, you can easily identify how old a Bobcat is by using the serial number. Let’s take a look at three steps in using it to get an exact age.

A skid loader in front of an apartment building along with bricks and garbage bags

Locate the serial number

This number will be in one of several places. It will most definitely be printed in the owner’s manual for the Bobcat. It is often printed on the cover or on the inside cover of the book itself.

If, for whatever reason, you do not have the owner’s manual, don’t worry. The serial number will be on the Bobcat itself. In most cases, the number will be on the inside of the door and on the loader on the inside of the Bobcat.

Record the numbers

The number might be a lot of digits to convert to memory. It’s best to use a pen and paper and record the number, should you not be able to locate your owner’s manual.

This way, you’ll have a written record of the number in case you need it again. Taking a photo of the serial number that is on the Bobcat itself is an effective way to keep a record of it.

Phone it in

Using the serial number you located, you can have a Bobcat representative identify the age of your model. Simply phone 701-678-6165, and give the representative your serial number. He or she will tell you what year your Bobcat was manufactured.

How do I know if heavy equipment is stolen?

As construction equipment isn’t titled in most states, it can be fairly easy to be duped into buying stolen items. You should be aware of several warning flags if you are buying used equipment from someone unknown to you.

No serial number

All construction equipment will have a serial number in the manual. But not everyone will successfully keep track of their manual, so if it’s missing, that’s not necessarily an indicator of a shady transaction. Look for the serial number on the equipment itself.

Any sign of a missing serial number, or one that has been tampered with, should throw up some warning lights. Never buy equipment that has had the serial number removed.

Low-ball price

Thieves need to get rid of higher ticket items, like skid steers, fast. They take up a lot of space and are easily noticed. If the price seems way too low, it might not mean that it’s stolen. But it’s definitely a sign that something isn’t right.

Trust your gut

Does it sound too good to be true? Is the person you’re dealing with giving you a bad feeling? Never be afraid to trust your instincts. 

The best possible way to avoid buying stolen property is to get it from a reputable person. Even in instances where you are purchasing from an independent third party, you can still verify the party’s identity and reputation. Do your homework, and make sure the person you’re buying equipment from is legitimate. 

It also helps to be proactive so that if your equipment is stolen, you’ll be able to have it tracked. Consider registering your construction equipment with the National Equipment Register.  

This company will allow you to register serial numbers for all sorts of equipment while keeping them in a database. It makes reporting thefts easy and will help locate stolen equipment.

A yellow skid loader hauling grass in a small park

Do all Bobcats use the same key?

Bobcat keys are universal. If you have a key to one of these skid steers, then you can operate any of them. While this makes it convenient for operators with multiple units, as well as helping manufacturers drive down their costs, it has some drawbacks. One key for all makes it a lot easier for thieves and vandals to commandeer a Bobcat without permission.

You can purchase locking mechanisms, which would help deter someone from entering the skid steer. The best way to prevent thievery is to keep your Bobcat locked with one of these devices and keep it secured behind a security fence or garaged. 

What year did Bobcat stop using Kubota engines?

The year 2015 was the last in which Bobcat used Kubota engines for their popular skid steers. Bobcat began using their own manufactured engines in their equipment to save on costs. Doosan produced these engines, a Korean-based company that owns Bobcat International. 

Using an engine supplier from their owner company rather than a competitor was a great way for Bobcat to produce equipment at a lower cost. This Doosan engine was rigorously tested and is regarded as a quality component for the Bobcat skid steer.

This engine is without a DPF system, which means it takes up a lot less mounting space. As a result of having no DPF, there will be no residual fluid to burn off, making it run a bit cleaner. 

How long does a Bobcat skid steer last?

The length of time you can expect a Bobcat skid steer to last is based differently than that of a passenger vehicle. Rather than saying it will last a number of years or a number of road miles, calculate a skid steer’s longevity by the number of hours it has been in operation.

That being said, the average skid steer will make it around 5,000 hours. Bobcats, however, far exceed the average. Better design and engineering will allow them to last up to 10,000 hours of operation.

As with any piece of equipment, the major factors in determining how long your Bobcat will last greatly depend on how you use it and maintain it. Consulting your owner’s manual, determine what routine maintenance needs to be performed and at what intervals. Stick to these recommendations to get the best life out of your Bobcat. 

How you treat your Bobcat will also be a factor in how many useful years you can expect it to run. Overloading it will certainly lead to premature wear and tear. So be certain you know the skid steer’s limitations before you use it. 

A filtered photo of a skid loader in front of a building

In Closing

Bobcat is a well-known and respected name in construction equipment. Their skid steer is easily one of the most recognizable and certainly one of the most dependable models on the market. Be sure to maintain and treat your Bobcat well, and you’ll be able to anticipate a useful life from this equipment that far exceeds that of others in its class. 

If you found this post on the Bobcat skid steer to be helpful, we believe that you’ll enjoy reading the following posts:

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