There’s just something special about owning one’s own truck. For commercial drivers, investing in their own commercial truck is a costly but typically worthwhile purchase.
When shopping for a used commercial truck, it’s important to check many things, including its service records. To make sure these records are legit, check to make sure they match the vehicle’s VIN number. Take note of any breakdowns the truck has had, and look for recurring problems. If there are no service records at all, be wary.
Used truck owners should be able to tell you about the vehicle’s history. In particular, a good way to gauge how well-maintained the truck has been is to examine the oil. Don’t be afraid to ask to examine both the truck’s engine and transmission oil, and/or ask to see records of when it has been changed in the past.
Used trucks may or may not have rust on them. Surface rust is no big deal, but structural rust is.
It’s a smart idea, before you sign the check, to get a professionally trained truck mechanic to both look over and actually test the truck’s key parts, from its suspension to brakes and transmission to hydraulic lines. A mechanic is like a doctor, looking for any problems to be fixed, or giving the truck a “clean bill of health.”
One of the other things to take into account is how easy (or hard) it would be to get replacement parts for a particular truck. Some manufacturers and models are more popular than others, so there are plenty of parts (and part suppliers) for those, while the more obscure truck brands may cause you much frustration when you can’t seem to find the replacement part(s) you need.
Other questions to ask yourself before buying a used commercial truck include, “Can I get financing for it?” and “Can I get affordable insurance for it?”
Finally, good old human intuition matters. If you read the seller’s body language funny, or feel you’re being lied to, seek out a different truck (and seller) rather than get stuck with a potential lemon. Like most purchases, buying a used commercial truck demands trust on both the buyer’s and seller’s part.