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Posted: 06/23/2016

4 important details you need when talking with the parts and service departments

Bobcat serial number tag locations

Damaged part? When a component on your Bobcat machine is on the outs, your local Bobcat dealer should be your go-to source for a quality, Bobcat-branded replacement part that’s designed specifically for your machine’s model and unique needs.

To expedite the replacement process, it’s crucial to share detailed information with your dealership’s parts desk that outlines the type of machine you own, the issues you’re having with your machine, and the part that needs replacing. Whether you’re calling or emailing the parts department, sending a messenger to the dealership or stopping by the parts desk yourself, make sure you have these key details in tow.

1. Serial Number Tag

Model and serial number are top priority,” says Bob Rowe, parts manager at Finke Equipment outside Albany, New York. “We do have the ability to track that here, but if the customer has the number handy on a phone or in a photograph it speeds up the process.”

Serial numbers reveal whether the machine was an early or later model as well as the engine combination. Different models may require different parts or service procedures, so it’s critical that the parts department knows the serial number and needs of your particular machine.

“In this day and age, machines are so different from production year to production year,” Rowe says. “Years ago, the manufacturers kept a lot of the same parts from production to production, but not anymore — especially with today’s emission mandates.”

Locate the serial numbers on your Bobcat equipment using the guide below.

2. Damaged or Broken Part

If possible, bring the broken part along with notes about where it came from inside the machine with you to the parts desk to ensure that you purchase the correct replacement. Taking a photo of the part while it’s still on the machine also provides helpful context as to the part’s location — especially for parts such as hydraulic tubes that are found in multiple places on the machine.

“Take a picture of the problem, and then take a picture of the problem area on the machine,” Rowe says. “If it’s, say, a tube, we can’t tell from just the individual tube whether it’s under the cab, on the right or left side, or maybe next to the hydraulic motor. Those are big differences in the parts world.”

If you know the name of the damaged part and would like to know more about it, visit to view an online database of parts. There, you can filter by model and serial number and then search for a specific part. Add the parts you want to order to your pick list and then take the list to your dealership or email it directly to your dealership’s parts desk.

“Any additional information that you can give the people at the counter speeds up the process, and it gets you the right part the first time,” Rowe says. “Even if you think you’re bringing too much information, it’s probably never too much.”

In the case of a software issue, record the error code that your machine’s deluxe instrument panel or touch displays and share that with your dealership.

3. Description of the Problem

When you are ordering a new part from the parts desk, make sure to explain any issues your machine may be having that led to the failure of that part. A parts specialist can help you determine whether the damaged part was normal wear and tear or if a more serious problem could be at play.

“If you’re going through multiple parts in just a few months, I’m going to want to know what that part is hooked to that’s not functioning correctly and is wearing out that part,” Rowe says. “It may be a case where we have to replace another part to prevent the part you’re continually replacing from wearing out.”

4. Priority Level

Be prepared to provide the parts desk with a timetable of how urgently you need the replacement part. Will you need the dealership to deliver it to your business or jobsite, or can you pick up the part from your dealership? Do you need overnight, 1-day or 2-day shipping, or can the part wait for regular ground shipping or the dealership’s stock order? Having a time frame in mind will help the dealership better cater to your needs and prevents miscommunication about timing.

“For every customer that I order parts for, I break it down by timing and cost to prevent confusion,” says Travis Bennet, parts manager at Bobcat of Omaha. “Shipping costs depend on the price of the part, too, because of rush fees. The more expensive the part, the more expensive the rush fee will be.

Bonus tip: While your dealership is able to look up the machines and parts you have purchased in the past, it’s always good practice to keep an electronic log on your cell phone of your machines’ serial numbers as well as the parts you’ve ordered in the past for quick reference.