What to Look for in Used Commercial Trucks

Posted Thursday, Nov 16, 2023

There are plenty of reasons why one would want to invest in commercial trucks. Maybe, you are a trucker, who wants to branch off and start your own trucking company, or maybe you’re a small business owner who wants to cut the costs of third-party transportation to deliver your goods. Regardless of why you are going to invest in a commercial truck, buying one is never easy. Since a commercial truck is larger than your regular car, it takes a lot more to inspect and determine whether a particular commercial truck suits your requirements. That being said, finding a commercial truck should be difficult if you know what you are looking for.

The first step in your quest for the perfect used commercial truck is to define your purpose. What will you use the truck for? Understanding your specific needs is vital. Different applications require different truck types. For example, long-haul transportation, local deliveries, or heavy construction work all have unique requirements. By clearly defining your purpose, you can narrow down your options to the most suitable trucks.

Look into the Vehicle's History

Popping the hood and looking at the engine can only tell you so much about the vehicle itself. Beyond maintenance records, a vehicle history report can provide invaluable insights into a used truck's past. These reports often include information about accidents, title changes, and other important events in the truck's life. A clean history is a good sign, while a history filled with accidents or major issues should raise a red flag.

Don’t Forget the Maintenance Records

A commercial truck is a barge of a vehicle that requires regular maintenance and upkeep. Once you've established your purpose, start digging into the maintenance records of the used trucks you're considering. Maintenance records provide a valuable glimpse into the truck's history. Look for regular servicing, oil changes, and any major repairs. Trucks that have been consistently and properly maintained are more likely to be in better overall condition and have a longer lifespan.

Inspect for Signs of Rust and Corrosion

Rust and corrosion are common issues with older commercial trucks, particularly in regions with harsh winters or close to coastal areas. Inspect the truck thoroughly for signs of rust, especially in structural areas. Rust can weaken the truck's frame and lead to expensive repairs down the line. Keep in mind that surface rust can be addressed, but deep structural rust may be a deal-breaker.

Consider Brand and Model Reputation

Some truck brands and models are renowned for their reliability and durability, while others have a history of frequent issues. Researching reviews and talking to experienced truck owners can provide valuable insights into the reputation of the brand and model you're interested in. This research can help you avoid common pitfalls and select a truck known for its reliability.

The Test Drive

A crucial step in assessing a used commercial truck is the test drive. This is your opportunity to get behind the wheel and feel the truck's performance. Listen for unusual noises, check for any handling issues, and pay very close attention to how it shifts gears. Also pay attention to the engine's responsiveness, the brakes, and the overall driving experience. If anything feels off, it could indicate underlying problems.

Inspect the Dashboard

While on your test drive, keep an eye on the dashboard for warning lights or error codes. These can be signs of potential issues that may not be immediately apparent during a brief inspection. It's essential to ensure that the truck's onboard systems are in good working order.  While you’re at it, don’t forget to take a peek at the vehicle’s mileage. The truck’s mileage is another crucial factor to consider when assessing a used commercial truck. It can give you an idea of how much wear and tear the truck has experienced. While high mileage doesn't necessarily mean the truck is a poor choice, it's something to factor into your decision. Different engines and models have varying longevity, so research the expected mileage for the specific truck you're interested in.

Get a Professional Inspection

To ensure you're making a well-informed decision, consider having a qualified mechanic inspect the truck. A mechanic can identify hidden problems and provide a professional opinion on the truck's overall condition. They can assess the engine, transmission, suspension, and other critical components that might be difficult for the average buyer to evaluate.

Evaluate the Truck's Price

When considering the cost of a used commercial truck, it's essential to strike a balance between quality and budget. While a cheaper option may be enticing, it's crucial to avoid making a decision solely based on price. Evaluate the truck's condition, age, mileage, and maintenance history in relation to the asking price. This will help you determine whether the deal is fair and in line with the truck's actual value.

Negotiate and Be Patient

You don’t want to be stuck with a large commercial truck that you can’t use, and can’t sell because others know better. Once you know what you want the negotiation is a standard part of buying a used commercial truck. Don't be afraid to negotiate with the seller to secure a better deal. However, be prepared to compromise and understand that the seller may have their reasons for the price they've set. Be patient throughout the process, and don't rush into a decision. Take your time to thoroughly evaluate the options available to you.

Consider Warranty Options

You will be doing some pretty heavy lifting if you are looking to invest in a used commercial truck. This means, there are more chances of possible wear and tear over time. While used trucks typically don't come with warranties like new vehicles, it's worth exploring if there are any warranty or extended warranty options available. Some dealers and third-party providers offer warranties for used commercial trucks. These can provide peace of mind, especially if you're concerned about potential future repair costs.

Determining what the used commercial truck is going to be used for is a big factor when choosing a used commercial truck. To make sure you get the best guidance and access to affordable commercial trucks visit Marciano Auto Group Inc.