Top five things you need to know when buying a used truck

Used white DAF XF tractor unit

What are the top five things a buyer needs to know when purchasing a used truck from a truck dealership? Commercial Motor provides some buying advice...

1. Do your homework

A quick search on the dealer wouldn’t go amiss. Take a thorough look at the dealer’s website if they have one and check if it is up to date: if not, why not? Consider how long the firm has been in business, check for good testimonials from previous customers and whether the operation looks professional. If first impressions are good, have a look at the trucks the dealer has on offer and list those that might be worth inspecting.

Make sure you know the price range you can afford, write down any questions about the vehicles you’d like see, and remember to ask those questions when you’re on site. Arrange a personal viewing at the yard for peace of mind. If you are preparing to invest a large amount of money and time into a used truck the decision needs to be made in an informed manner.  You can never have too much information to help you make the very important decision when sourcing the best truck you can.

2. Find out the basics

It’s surprising how often buyers miss checking the basics such as mileage, whether the vehicle still has an MoT or needs a new test, and finally the price. It is also worth looking through the specification provided and asking if everything is as expected.

When it comes to the history of the vehicle it is worth asking where it has been, what work it has done, check if it has ever been in an accident and whether there is any remaining finance on it. Also check whether the vehicle has main agent service records and if any major repairs have been carried out. Reputable dealers will sell most of their trucks with full and comprehensive service histories available for inspection.

Also ask what the truck’s current condition might say about it, and if it needs any immediate attention. Look at whether the tyres are all good and free from damage.

3. What is included in the deal?

Many dealers with the facilities will put used vehicles through their own workshops for a full inspection, list any defects and rectify them. If a vehicle needs an MoT the dealer should get one, and if there is time left on the MoT they will still ensure it is roadworthy so the customer can feel confident with their purchase. Ask whether the truck will be serviced and prepared to the best standards possible before collection, what condition is the truck underneath, whether it needs a clutch, and what state the brakes are in.

4. Ask about the warranty

Be protected against any unforeseen major failures. Many dealers will offer a three-month driveline warranty which covers major components including the engine, gearbox, axles and differentials. Some warranties might also include roadside assistance during that time with an optional warranty extension. Ask what protections you might get after the deal is agreed. Dealers connected to a manufacturer will sometimes offer up to a two-year used truck warranty.

5. Listen to the dealer

Be prepared to listen to the dealer and take their advice. If you have a good experience with one dealer, find them trustworthy and honest, you are likely to go back and use them again.