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What’s stopping you from purchasing used? Here’s what to look for when buying a used truck.
Created at Dec 06, 21

What’s stopping you from purchasing used? Here’s what to look for when buying a used truck.

Contributor: Kevin Lindsey, Manager of Technical Service, TravelCenters of America

Many buyers might shy away from a five-year-old tractor with over 700,000 miles, but for the business savvy, there’s good reason to give that vehicle a second look. Sure, there are some questions to ask before transferring the title and hopping into the driver’s seat. But asking the right questions – and getting the right answers – can lead to a very satisfied used truck owner and good business decision.

▶ Is the used truck specified for what I need it to do?

Use the vehicle identification number (VIN) to check with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to make sure that the truck was built the way that it needs to be to get the job done .

▶ Are used trucks dependable over time?

Although new trucks come with a warranty, top brand vehicles are known for their reliability throughout the years. This is something to consider when vetting your potential new used truck. The reputation of the salesman, sales outlet, company, truck, and engine should all be a factor in the decision-making process. Do the research on not only whom you are buying from but what you are buying.

The manufacturer might have a reputation for reliability, but a warranty adds an extra level of protection for the buyer. Engine, transmission, and differentials are typically the costliest component repairs that you can have. Aftertreatment system issues can cause many headaches and can also cost a lot of money to repair. Those repairs can be costly, but the owner will also have to account for the downtime they cause as well.

▶ Can I get an extended warranty with my used truck purchase?

This can be a tricky question, but it needs to be asked. Many owner-operators that purchase used trucks also purchase extended warranties. Some of these warranties can be very expensive but they may also include major component repairs, such as costly engine repairs, transmission repairs, and even differential repairs. In most cases, it may be well worth the extra money spent up front on a warranty if a major component fails early on.

▶ Does the used truck meet modern day emissions standards?

The used truck market is full of trucks manufactured from 2007 to 2014 that are equipped with earlier versions of aftertreatment systems. It can be expensive to get this system up to snuff if it wasn’t well maintained by the original owner. Proper air filter maintenance is a major key in keeping truck engine emissions levels at a maintainable level for the computer systems.

▶ Has the used truck been properly maintained?

Being able to view the maintenance history can tell you a lot about a used truck. Maintenance records are critical in today’s used truck market —attempt to access to those records. They should include the major components on the truck. If there are issues in obtaining the maintenance records, it is even more important to have a qualified technician conduct and in-depth inspection of the vehicle.

A healthy used truck has several key components in its maintenance program:

  • The tires must be inflated, balanced and aligned.
  • Electrical system and battery connections should be maintained with tight connections and no corrosion.
  • When it comes to HVAC, regular air filter maintenance and replacement keeps the system running as efficiently as possible

Following proper maintenance practices at the right intervals can keep used trucks within the fuel economy guidelines they were built for.

And for extra assurance, TA Truck Service provides used truck inspections. We adhere to the TA Truck Service Certified Used Truck emblem only to used trucks that have passed a DOT Annual Inspection and select additional key component checks.

This inspection provides a comprehensive snapshot of the truck’s overall health, as well as peace of mind. All DOT and TA Truck Service Used Truck inspections are conducted by ASE Certified Technicians. All inspection forms are completed by ASE Certified Technicians and submitted to an ASE Master Certified Technician for review and final authorization to place a "Certified Used Truck” emblem on the truck. Look for that emblem for an extra boost of confidence in your used truck purchase. Find out more about TA Truck Service used truck and trailer inspections.

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