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If your business requires a tractor-unit truck you may be considering the second-hand market. Used tractor keeps costs lower and with a good choice you’ll have a vehicle like the DAF Euro 6 that will serve you well for many years.
Like the used car market, however, there are good trucks and not-so-good trucks. So how do you avoid the latter and get a good truck like the durable DAF CF 65 for your business? These tips will help and point you in the right direction.
Here are the Tips
Check the Price
Before you hand over any cash check the price to find out the market rate of the vehicle. You don’t want to overpay and if the price is considerably cheaper than the market price, there is probably a good reason for that.
Check the Paperwork and Financials
If you’re happy with the price check that it has a V5 and the financial history of the truck and make a note of the changes needed to be made to your operator license.
Make sure nothing seems out of place with the V5 such as the description of the vehicle, mileage, and specifications. Check that it has an MOT certificate and a service history. Finally, check if there is any remaining Vehicle Excise Duty on the truck and if there is any outstanding debt.
Establish a Three Month Guarantee
Establish with the vendor what happens should a major component of your truck fail. Will they honour buying a component replacement or give you a refund? Negotiate guarantees before parting with cash.
Contact the Previous Owner
If you can, contact the previous owner and find out what the truck was used for, and if it was involved in a crash and its reliability.
Inspecting the Truck
Now that you have established the truck is a winner from a paperwork perspective and the checks are showing in a positive light, it is time to look at the truck itself. Check the following:
- Exterior – Give the exterior a good inspection and voice any concerns about where the livery has been removed and if there are any excessive scratches.
- Mirrors and Windscreen – Give the mirrors and windscreen a thorough examination. If either is chipped they will need replacing before the next MOT. It is worth negotiating with the vendor either a price cut or make sure the vendor replaces them before purchase.
- Tyres and Wheel Rims – Give these a thorough inspection and ensure that the tyres have good tread depth, are not odd specifications, and that there is no damage to the tyres. Inspect the wheel rims to make sure there are no signs of impact damage.
- Water – Check the header tank and to gauge the water level. Ensure there are no leaks.
- Engine – When checking the engine there are a few signs to look out for. If it is warm it could be a sign the dealer is trying to hide the fact that it has start up issues. If the injectors and other components look very clean they may have been cleaned to remove oil residue.
- Oil leaks – Check the sump to see how dry it is. Dry sumps tend to mean there are no leaks and check the injector heads. Remove the cap and check the condition and colour. Very dark could mean it needs replacing while a creamy colour indicates water ingress.
- Seals – For the seals check the back and front ends of the gearbox, diff, and drive shaft for oil residue. Any signs of residue indicate leaks.
- Fuel Tanks – Ensure the locking cap works and check the tanks for excessive scaring and if it has moved. Leaks and pressure issues often arise from deep recesses.
- Catwalk and Connectors – Make sure they are secure and that the air is full.
Start the Truck
If you’re happy with the truck inspection, now is the time to check it turns on and to inspect the interior of the cab. So:
- Turn on the ignition – When you turn the key to the starting point, ensure that the vehicle starts normally and no warning lights are flashing or remaining on. If any stay on it could be a faulty fuse but the vehicle may need a diagnostic. If the ECU light is on a diagnostic will be needed.
- The Cab – Ensure that there are no holes in the dashboard that may at one time may have been used for entertainment systems and the like. Check the condition of the mattress, curtains, and that the driver seat is sound.
- Check for Unwanted Engine Sounds – With the engine on get out of the cab and listen to the engine to make sure it is not making strange sounds.
- Oil Check – While you’re outside the cab and the engine is on, remove the oil cap. If it is smoking there could be blockages in the breather, piston liners, or rings.
Finally, take the tractor unit with a test trailer for a spin. Try it on a variety of roads travelling at different speeds. Put the clutch to the floor to see if changing gear is a struggle and check there is no play in the steering.
Make sure all the dashboard functions work.
Finally, check the exhaust isn’t smoking as this could be a sign the truck is on the way out. If all is good, buy it and your truck can add to the almost half a million trucks on the road.