7 Tips on Buying a Used Truck

Posted by RACHEL MA on

Recently we’ve seen the values of used truck decrease to
record lows, and at the same time, we are seeing large increases in new truck prices due to EPA regulations.  This is creating an opportunity to look at buying used trucks as a sensible alternative to buying new.  Many trucking companies may still don’t believe that buying a used truck is a viable alternative to buying new.

Buying New

Buying a new truck gives you a warranty usually 1 year for
the chassis and 3-5 years for the engine and major components.  Buying a new truck also gives you new brakes, drums, tires, and all wearable components are brand new allowing you to drive the truck for at least a year before performing any maintenance besides oil changes, and grease.  Your new truck will also give you 4-6 years of low cost ownership as most the major components will not need
any repairs.

Buying Used

When reviewing the list above for reasons to buy a new
truck, it’s hard to see a good reason to buy a used truck.  Here’s the main reason – $$$, cash.  While a tandem axle sleeper highway truck new will cost from $110,000 to $150,000 (depending on options), a 4-5 year old similar speced unit will cost 1/3 the price ($38,000 to $50,000).  With the money you save in buying used, you can use to offset the costs of additional repairs and maintenance that a used truck will demand.

7 Tips on buying a Used Truck

  1. Are maintenance records available– by reviewing maintenance records you may be able to find out if the vehicle has had reoccurring problems that may be from a lack of maintenance.  Also were the parts used in repairing the truck OEM parts, or were they counterfeit parts?  While counterfeit parts may look like OEM parts, they are not, and you risk
    premature failure of the counterfeit part, causing you unnecessary downtime.
    By researching the maintenance records you can also spot any mileage discrepancies.  You don’t want to find out that 300,000 mile truck is actually a 600,000 mile truck after you’ve bought it.  Also don’t get discouraged if the truck has had minor wreck damage, or breakdowns.  These things are to be expected.  I would worry more if someone told me in 300,000 miles they only
    changed the oil on the truck, and it never broke down.
    2. Is a warranty available–  Nothing could be worse than buying a truck and having a major breakdown early in ownership.  Many dealers offer used truck warranties that will cover components for 1-2 years.  While you may have to pay out of pocket for minor repairs, a major repair like a transmission or engine overhaul may be covered under the used truck warranty saving you $.
    3. What is the condition of the Tires/Brakes/Drums – Tires, Brakes, and Drums are all maintenance items that will need replaced from time to time.  By knowing the condition of these items you will know how long you will be able to drive the truck before incurring your first major maintenance bill.  A truck with deep rubber and new/newer brakes, drums will save you $ as
    you will not have to replace these items until later.
    4. Inspection/Condition of the truck – Find out will the truck pass a DOT Inspection on its first trip with you?  Have the dealer place an updated DOT inspection sticker in the truck.
    5. Financing – While you can expect to pay higher interest rates, and have a shorter term for used trucks, watch the fine print.  Don’t ever pay money up front with an application.  The only time you should hand money over is if you will be receiving the truck minutes later.  In addition make sure the repayment schedule is known upfront (# of payments, principal/interest for
    each payment, and any final payment cost), are there balloon payments, how is the interest amortized?  Make sure you do your homework upfront to prevent paying forever on a truck you’ll never own.
    6. Insurance – Many buyers of used trucks are owner-operators, or small fleets that often are hired by larger fleets.  Does your fleet offer and insurance program for you?  While the fleets insurance policy may be good you need to find out if you can do better on your own.  Shop your insurance policy, make sure you have bobtail coverage (coverage if you’re not hauling a
    load).  What are your deductibles?  Will they rent you a truck if yours has been wrecked?  Can you afford your deductible?  Do you need GAP insurance?
    These are just some of the questions you need to ask a licensed insurance professional to ensure you are not setting yourself up for failure.
    7. Common Sense – If a truck looks too good to be true for the price, maybe it is.  If nobody else can get you financed, and someone does get you financed at a great rate, maybe something isn’t ok.

While this list is not everything you need to check on a buying a used truck, hopefully it helps you out with your next purchase.  


(Comes from http://blog.wheelingtruck.com)

Share this post

Newer Post →