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What to Look for When Buying a Used Truck for my Trucking Company

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

Buying a motor vehicle is never easy, especially when it comes to buying a used one - and this is no different when buying a used truck. It would be a lot easier to buy a brand-new truck because you would not have to worry about things being old and impaired, and there will simply be no doubt in the purchase, but, it's expensive. You can save a lot of money buying a used one, but you must make sure you thoroughly inspect the used truck to avoid spending large amounts on repair expenses in the future and so that you make the perfect choice for you. The process takes time and is detail oriented, but SO WORTH IT. Before you start the inspection process, know what type of truck you are looking for. Think about what you will be transporting, how heavy a typical load will be, and how much you’re willing to spend. Once you know this, it will be easier to choose a truck that meets your needs. 

Here are some top tips on what to look for when purchasing a used truck to give you a head start:

Know why the seller is selling the truck

Ask questions and take notice of the seller's reaction. It is your right to know the reasons for why the truck is being put up for sale. The best way to get the most honest answers is asking the seller face-to-face for the reasons why the truck is being sold and watching their reaction. Not knowing a tiny detail could cost you a lot after the purchase, so don't give in to the salesman talk.

Check the truck surface for rust

If the surface of the truck is rusty then the safety of the load is compromised, making this a very important step. This simple step could make the truck be unreliable for transportation - the whole reason for buying the truck in the first place. Make sure to do this inspection in daylight so you can see everything clearly. It is important to note that the rust may be under the surface and not easy to notice. If you notice a raised sport on the surface there is a big chance that there is a rusty spot hiding under it.

Check the truck tires

Check the tired for all types of defects, but especially check them for tread. The tired are the part of the truck that touches the road and takes you from one load to another, so you need to make sure that they have been taken care of. Another thing to check is that all the tires were changed at the same time and that they are from the same manufacturer. You need to make sure that state of these are reliable and effective to avoid any dangerous problems while driving.

Check the windows and doors

Anything that can be opened from the outside of the truck needs to be looked at. The doors and windows need to be in optimum condition to prevent air circling in and out of them. If air can get in through the doors and windows when it shouldn't, it can affect your health and it can also slow down the truck.

Check the engine, oil, brakes, and lights

It is adamant that you check these 4 things before you buy a used truck. When you check the engine, look to see if there is a sign of any leaks. This might not lead to a problem, but it is a sign that it needs to be checked out professionally. Also listen to the sound of the engine for any weird noises that it shouldn't be making and the appearance of it as well. Another important check to do is for the oil. It's important to know that the previous owner had regular oil changes on the truck over its lifetime. You cannot drive a truck with no brakes ... so make sure that the brakes are 100%. Check for any signs of corrosion or loss of brake fluid regularly. And lastly, the lights. To avoid being stuck on the road at night with your lights out, check that they are working correctly and won't die on you any time soon.

Check the truck bed and seat

The truck bed and seat don't necessarily have a major influence on the working condition of the truck, but they do have some influence on you and your state of mind. If you often sleep in your truck bed, then you need it to be in the best condition possible to make sure it effects your body positively. The truck seat also might not be make or break on your buying decision, but since it is what you sit in for the majority of your day, you want it to be in good condition. A good truck seat will keep your body in a good position while driving, which can eliminate fatigue on your long hauls.

Get maintenance records on the truck

Ask the previous owner for all the maintenance records from the truck's life. Knowing that the truck was taken care of and had regular maintenance checks is important as this means that the previous owner took good care of it.

Take it for a test drive

Test drive the truck. Considering you will be spending most of your day driving this truck, you need to make sure that you like the way it feels on the road. Being a professional driver, you will also know that driving the truck will reveal any additional problems that you cannot detect visually. You wouldn't buy a car without test driving it first, so don't buy a semi-truck without testing it either.

Have a professional mechanic inspect it

Once you have checked everything off your list, the last thing you should do is get a professional mechanic to inspect it as well. You may not have noticed a defect that a professional would detect, so it is best to get a professional, second opinion. If the mechanic gives you the A-Okay, the you have found a used truck to start your journey with!

It's a huge decision when deciding on what truck you want to buy, especially when looking at used trucks. To avoid running into any issues after it's too late, follow these steps when making this decision. Be patient and take your time through this whole decision process. You spend a large amount of time in this truck, so make sure it's one you are happy to drive and to spend time in.

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