How to Shop for Used Trucks

If the conundrum of financing involved in buying a new truck confuses you, you may be looking at used trucks for your delivery service business. But you’ll need to be armed with good advices before picking out your truck. Be sure you have an exact price range in mind and our 12 point inspection list when you’re viewing used trucks.

The Inspection Checklist for Buying Used trucks

  1. When you view the truck, do so in daylight in order to pick up defects. Also make sure you and the truck are on level ground to check the fluids.
  2. Next, check out every opening as well as body-panel joint to ensure everything fits. You can run your hand along the underneath of the doors to pick up any rusty edges and also inspect the panels along the entire body. If they look wonky, use a magnet as plastic repairs won’t attract the magnet.
  3. Look at the roof of used trucks to see if there are any raised spots which signify rust.
  4. Inside each tire counts for inspection too, where there could be signs of leakages. Also look for tread wear.
  5. When shopping for used trucks, lift the bonnet and remove the radiator cap to check out the coolant fluid. It should be a greenish hue but if the colour seems a bit off or there is rust in it, the engine may have overheating issues.
  6. It’s then time to start the engine. Listen for signs of thuds or knocks which could mean there is a worn crankshaft or connecting-rod bearing. These could make for expensive repairs. The truck should have a high idle setting, this is normal.
  7. Once the truck comes off fast idle, stick it into drive and set the emergency brake to ensure it is in perfect condition. Put it in park, too, and let it idle while you go around the back and use a rag to cover the tailpipe. If there’s no pressure while you’re holding the rag against the tailpipe end, that means there’s a leaky exhaust. Next, put the truck into drive with your foot no the brake to ensure it idles the way it should.
  8. The next step when shopping for used trucks is to check all the switches and extras like air, lights and so on to ensure everything works as it should.
  9. Switch off the motor and then open the truck and raise the mat to inspect for rush. A little light rust is normal, even in brand new trucks, but watch out for severe corrosion. While you’re looking in the trunk, have a look at the wiring across the rear and check to see if it has been taped for trailer wiring.
  10. Take any used trucks you look at for a short drive, shut the engine off and let it cool before starting it up again. If the engine seems to hesitate when re-starting it, have a mechanic check it over. Once you have started it, slowly accelerate to see if the transmission smoothly shifts up. Check the acceleration up to a motorway speed for smoothness too. Take a passenger with you on the test drive who can help pick up rattles and wind noises that you might not notice.
  11. When you’re in a safe, quiet area, do a panic stop to make sure the brakes are on top form. Try a rough road, too, to make sure the shock controls work. Try bouncing the used trucks’ front end – if there are more than three bounces it means the shocks are worn.
  12. Finally, take a close look at the odometer. Tampering still seems to be a common practise for deceiving buyers. Gauges in newer models are harder to tamper with but always be cautious when looking at used trucks. If the seller tells you that an early 1990’s delivery truck has 35 000 miles on it, watch out for a few things, like excessively worn brake pedals. If you notice the corners are worn away, there’s bound to be a lot more than that said miles on that truck. Also watch out for wear on the upholstery and armrests or large numbers of pits on the windshield.


Shop for used trucks with the above checklist to make sure you get the best deal. Also be sure to consider all financing options, including transportation factoring which is a common way for truckers to raise capital for large expenses.


Written by Lewis Shaw

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