We’ve discussed some of the most important factors to consider when buying a used truck on our blog. While our advice will likely vary depending on the specific type of rigid truck or tractor unit you’re interested in, we thought it would be helpful to give you a quick checklist—what to look for and, of course, what to avoid! 

For most businesses in the UK, buying any truck is a big decision. Depending on the level of performance, reliability and condition you require, you may spend hours looking into availability, perhaps comparing prices, models and specifications. It’s easy to get bogged down with this homework but sometimes it’s a little bit easier if you have a tidy list to hand, and hopefully that’s something we can provide. 

The Basics

There are so many used rigid trucks for sale, not to mention used tractor units at great prices. Whether you’re looking to buy a beavertail truck, flatbed, mobile crane, tractor unit, cement mixer, dropside truck, HIAB or tipper grab, all you need to begin with is a pen and paper (or your smartphone). Write out a list of requirements and specifications, and start scouring for models that fit your needs. At the same time make a note of your budget and the advertised costs of rigid lorries or tractor units that do fit the bill. With this simple list to hand, you essentially start your search for a used truck with a series of filters. This could include mileage, year, functionality, body type, engine size, payload, interior and service history. 

Emission Standards Compliance

It’s no doubt already going to be a key focus for you, but the Euro emissions standard of the truck is something you need to know from the get go. Newer standards (Euro 5 and 6) are crucial in areas with strict emission regulations like Low Emission Zones in cities like London. Is it crucial for you to travel to these areas and meet certain emission standards? If so, this will have a big impact on your decision and the type of truck you ultimately end up purchasing. 

Transmission Type

This could be something touched on in your initial tick list. However, you do need to think about the type of transmission that’s best for you, whether that’s manual, EPS (Electronic Power Shift), automatic, or Tiptronic. Each has its own drawbacks and big wins. For example, automatic transmissions are obviously easier to handle but manual transmissions typically offer more control and they are (sometimes) more durable.

Engine and Gearbox Condition: 

We’re talking specifically about used trucks in this article, and with that in mind, we do have to think about condition, especially expensive components such as the engine and gearbox. When you narrow down your selection and begin booking viewings, do check for any leaks, odd noises, or irregularities. It could also be worth asking for compression test results if the current owner has those available.

Ready to roll with an MOT?

It would be wrong to say an MOT certificate is always a good indicator of roadworthiness. If anything, it’s a good indicator of roadworthiness at the time the test was taken! There are many different reasons why issues can arise, and some can be rather sudden, so do take the MOT certificate with a pinch of salt! That said, it’s still worth checking! 

Rot! A little could actually be a lot

It’s also always wise to inspect the truck for signs of rust, especially on critical structural components like the chassis. Sometimes a small patch of surface rust can be just the visible part of corrosion. A truck could have more severe corrosion in areas that are not as easily inspected. Basically, be as thorough as possible when you get a chance to inspect the truck. 

The Test Drive

From tyre condition to braking efficiency, handling and smoothness, a test drive is a must. It’s your chance to get a good feel for the lorry’s performance. You may gain some insight from the truck that visual inspections simply can’t. Listen out for any unusual noises. Is the clutch smooth or sticky? Is the throttle responsive or delayed? How does the truck handle, and is the suspension stable and controlled? Also, how comfortable are you? Can you imagine driving the truck long distances during a hectic work day? These are all questions you will need to ask yourself. 

What to Avoid?

We’ve emphasised the above points to give you a rolling start as you search for a used truck, however, if you’re looking to give this blog a quick skim read, please don’t miss the points below. This is what you should most certainly avoid! 

Significant Body and Frame Damage: Always be wary of trucks with serious structural damage or those that have undergone significant body repairs, as these can affect durability and longevity. 

Huge Gaps in Service Records: Trucks without a thorough service record can hide potential ongoing issues or past major repairs. It’s fair to be alarmed if there are huge gaps with little to no information at hand. 

High Idle Hours: Let’s face it, high idle hours can indicate excessive wear even if the mileage is low. Be sure to consider both! 

Modifications: Be cautious of trucks with recent modifications as these could affect the vehicle’s performance and handling, and ultimately, it might not meet the manufacturer’s standards.

At Truck Trading, we’re deep in the world of buying and selling trucks, so whether you’re looking to buy used rigid trucks, buy used tractor units or ultimately sell your truck for the best possible price, we cover all aspects. We make it our mission to not only provide quality advice you can count on, but ensure your buying or selling process is as smooth and stress-free as possible. If you have an enquiry or would like to speak with a member of our team, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 0161 432 1477 or send us an email at sales@trucktrading.co.uk.