Four Questions You Should Always Ask when Buying a Used Truck

By Product Expert | Posted in Buying Advice, Certified Pre-Owned, Driver Info, Financing, News & Info, Used on Thursday, December 8th, 2016 at 2:46 pm

By Bill Maki
Used Truck Manager
Allstate Peterbilt Group
The time has come… you are ready to purchase your “new” used truck! Do you know what you should be looking for when evaluating a truck? After all, this is a critical decision and you want to be sure you are making the best choice for you and your business. Before purchasing a used truck, you should always ask the following four questions:
1) Do the truck specifications meet my unique business needs?
You’ll need to determine what specifications are required for your business. Consider hauling capability: What type of trailer or application will be paired with the truck? Is this truck going to haul over-the-road? Will it be pulling heavier loads locally? Knowing the typical gross vehicle weight and footprint of your freight will help determine what horsepower, wheelbase and maximum payload rating best fit your operation.
Now think about your driver. Who will be driving the truck? If you are trying to recruit new drivers, you may want to look deeper at Ultrashift transmissions. Automated transmissions are typically easier for new drivers to acclimate to and may help expand your potential driver pool. If you’re set on a manual, be sure to consider how many speeds the transmission has and how much control the driver needs over the vehicle’s maneuvers. Other components to take into consideration are lights, brakes, comfort, aerodynamics and exterior and interior appearance.
2) Are there extended or aftermarket warranties available?
First, ask your dealer if there are any remaining warranties available on the unit. Most used trucks will be outside of the manufacturer’s standard warranty, but other warranties may still be in effect. Ask about existing extended warranties, standard warranties on components still covered by a supplier including HVAC, mirrors, seats and driers, and lengthy warranties still active on OEM parts and components.
Next, don’t forget to inquire about after-market warranties available for purchase from reputable vendors including Premium 2000, National Truck Protection Co. or Peterbilt’s Red Oval Program. A typical after-market warranty can be purchased for one to four year terms and cost between $3,000 and $7,000. This purchase could be a valuable savings when you consider a typical overhaul costs up to $30,000.
Last, if you’re looking at a truck model year 2008 or newer, consider a package that covers the after treatment system. This replacement alone could run you another $4,000. These costs may seem steep when initially investing in your used truck, but considering the potential repair charges and down-time, it is a smart business decision in the long run. Your dealer can help facilitate the purchase of aftermarket warranties.
3) Does the truck pass a DOT inspection?
While commercial trucks are designed to run for hundreds of thousands of miles, it is always a good idea to request a DOT inspection before making a purchase. Check to see if the dealer can perform a Federal DOT inspection to ensure all required components and safety items have been repaired on the used truck. Does your state require a stricter inspection? For example, some states like Minnesota, require additional criteria beyond the federal requirements to be met for commercial vehicle inspections. If your state requires additional criteria, work with your dealer to make sure the inspection meets both sets of criteria.
If there are any deficiencies or non-passing items including engine oil leaks, brakes and tires the dealer is responsible for correcting these items before you purchase the truck. Requesting a DOT inspection can help save you money in the long-run by catching most issues before they take you off the road. This doesn’t mean there won’t be additional costs of ownership including routine maintenance, wear-and-tear repairs and the occasional replacement charge to keep your truck running for the long haul, but it should help you get started on the right foot.
4) What are my financing options?
Once you’ve found the right used truck for your needs, you will need to determine how to finance the purchase. Have you thought about the down payment, truck’s depreciation, insurance costs, interest rates, operating costs and your revenue? What is the maximum monthly payment you can afford? Often, you can obtain financing through a private lender or most dealerships will offer financial solutions. Typically the lenders associated with dealerships, including All Wheels Financial, are accustomed to the needs of truck owners and are able to provide competitive rates and schedules that work for you.
What is the age of the truck? This dictates the terms of your loan, typically between two and five years. You can also expect to put somewhere between 10-20% down based on your credit score. It is important that the financer understands the trucking industry and costs associated with maintaining a truck.
You already knew purchasing a used truck was a cost-effective choice, and now you’re prepared to make the best decision for you and your business.
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