Even during a recession, the demand for consumer goods continues to rise. Online buying is sparking the growth as shoppers more and more prefer delivery to in-store purchasing. Moving these goods requires commercial truck drivers; yet, the American Trucking Associations predicts a potential shortage of 100,000 drivers in the next few years. As a consequence, job opportunities will be plentiful for those interested in commercial trucking as a career.
Independent-minded candidates may consider joining the fraternity of truck owner-operators, a choice that comes with many benefits. The biggest decision you can make if you go this route revolves around your truck purchase. Many get into the game by selecting a used rig. However much money you may save, you stand to lose even more by making a bad buy. These tips can help steer you toward driving home a gem of a used truck.
Table of Contents
Create a Checklist of Needs
Before buying, you need to be clear about your personal requirements. Do you want to travel in luxury? What kind of cab storage will be necessary to accommodate your gear? Do you expect to perform mostly short hauls? You do not want to pay for what you do not need; features can quickly drive up costs.
Familiarize Yourself With Brands
Narrow your list by researching truck manufacturers and particular models for reliability and durability. Don’t just look at makes in general; itemize results year-by-year. Often, initial trouble-spots become ironed out so that they become nonexistent toward the end of a model run.
Examine Maintenance Details
If a seller is unable to produce consistent maintenance records, move on. Trucks run under extreme conditions. A truck that has not been serviced according to guidelines will inevitably prove trouble-prone. Along the way, note who performed either the maintenance or any necessary diesel truck repair. Visit the company to ask for feedback on the mechanical condition of the rig.
Inspect Well and Trust Your Gut
Perform a visual inspection, looking for dents, rust, or other body damage. Try out brakes, lights, wipers, and any other safety items to determine the working condition and remaining lifespan of each. Check the oil to see if it is dirty or contaminated with metal shavings. Gauge the truck’s condition based on the miles driven. Be rational, but consider your intuition as well. Like a pair of shoes that does not feel comfortable in the store, negative aspects of the truck will not improve over many miles.
In the end, you will live with your rig for many years. Paying attention to the details before you sign the papers will provide you a sense of confidence in your ride now and down the road.