Buying a Used Truck? Here’s How to Shop Smart


There’s a sizable market out there for used commercial trucks, and you can score a great deal if you play it smart.  However, if you’re not careful and don’t do your homework, you could wind up with a junker that will cost you far more than you bargained for.  Use these tips when shopping for a pre-owned truck:

  • Ask for service records and review them carefully. You’ll want to know what repairs the truck has had, if any, and how long ago they were done. You’ll also want to check to make sure that maintenance activities – like oil changes and tune-ups – were performed regularly.
  • Look it over thoroughly for rust. Rust isn’t just an eyesore; it can mean serious trouble for your rig if it’s gone beyond the surface.  Severe rust can damage the frame and render a used truck practically worthless.
  • Bring an experienced truck mechanic with you. Having someone on hand that knows a thing or two about the major components of a commercial truck is a good idea, especially if you’re not overly familiar with the inner workings.  An experienced mechanic will be able to visually assess the truck and ensure that parts are in place and in good condition.
  • Ask the seller why they’re selling. This may not seem like an important step, but it is.  If they’re selling simply because they don’t need the truck in their fleet any longer, great. But if it’s because of some other issue, or if they try to avoid the question, it may not be a good investment.  Watch their body language and gauge their response, and listen to your intuition.
  • Make sure you can get parts if/when you need them. Ask the seller where they’ve gotten parts in the past, and make sure you source at least two part suppliers.  There’s nothing worse than having a truck that won’t run because you can’t find a crucial part needed for repairs.


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