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Motor graders are most often found at work in the final stages of a paving project. They're used to do the “finish grading” - creating a wide, flat surface that is ready for asphalt after machines like bulldozers and scrapers have completed the rough grading.
Motor graders are versatile pieces of equipment. They can also be used for maintaining dirt and gravel roads, municipal and residential snow removal, creating inclined surfaces, as well as in forestry and mining.
About New Motor Graders
There are essentially two categories of motor graders:
- Full-size motor graders have horsepower of 130 or more. They're made primarily for large-scale road construction by well-known equipment brands including Cat, Volvo, John Deer, Case and Komatsu.
- Lighter, more compact motor graders with less than 130 hp are designed for smaller-scale road construction and landscaping jobs. They're produced by names like LeeBoy and Champion.
Most motor graders have three axles - two in the back and one in the front. The cab is situated above the rear axles and blade is situated near the front axle.
With motor graders, you have a choice of three different types of transmissions: hydrostatic, direct-drive and torque-converter drive. Hydrostatic and direct-drive are most often found in smaller machines while torque-converter drive is more common in larger machines.
New Motor Grader Average Costs
Motor graders range in price from about $60,000 to $500,000. That may seem like a wide range, but there are many different sizes and types of motor graders on the market.
- Full-size motor graders start at about $200,000. Most 130 hp to 180 hp machines fall in the $200,000 to $300,000 range. Machines with 250 hp or more can run as much as $500,000, but they're not as common as mid-range machines.
- Compact motor graders usually run $60,000 to $175,000. An 80 hp machine might cost $90,000, while at 115 hp machine would run more like $150,000 to $175,000.
Despite the expense, motor graders have a long life expectancy - usually lasting at least 10 to 15 years, depending on the frequency of use.
Paying for Your New Motor Grader
If you can't afford to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars upfront, consider financing your motor grader. Most motor grader manufacturers offer financing to well-qualified buyers. Or, you can pursue a private loan through your bank or lending institution.
Leasing is another option. You can lease a machine for little or no money down, spreading the payments over a matter of months spanning one to five years. When the lease ends, you can purchase the machine, return it or trade it in for a newer model.