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8 Things to Expect When Buying a Used Truck for Your Business

Updated: Mar 29

Image by Scott from Pixabay

Whether you’re shopping for the sole vehicle for your new British Columbia startup or another truck to add to your existing fleet, you may be full of questions and uncertainty. Is buying an old truck worth it? How much use can a truck have on it before you should walk away? What might restoring an old truck entail?

In this article, we examine eight things you should expect if you’re buying a used truck for commercial purposes. Our goal is to help you decide if the vehicle you’re considering is a worthwhile investment and to help you plan should you decide to go ahead with the purchase.

Advantages of Buying a Used Truck

Cost savings

For most business owners, the chance to save money is the biggest reason behind purchasing a used truck. You can cut thousands or even tens of thousands off the price of a vehicle by buying used.

This is money you can use elsewhere in the business. If you’re financing the purchase, you may have an easier time getting a loan at a reduced amount.

Lower insurance costs

Because the vehicle is older and worth less, you should be able to save on your commercial truck insurance premium. This is true pretty much anywhere in Canada, not just on Vancouver Island. It’s worth checking with your insurance agent, though, to see what the cost will be for any vehicle you’re thinking of buying.

Less depreciation

When you buy a new truck, the minute you drive it off the lot, the value plummets. It continues to drop for the first year or two of owning the truck.

On the other hand, when you buy a used truck, the depreciation will be considerably less. Depending on your financial and tax picture, that might work to your benefit.

More available information about the model

When a truck has been around for a while, you can do some detective work about how satisfied owners have been with it. It’s easy to go online and read reviews, especially about any mechanical problems that were experienced. You have to take your chances with a new model, however.

Disadvantages of Buying a Used Truck

Potential for reduced fuel and emissions efficiency

Be aware that older trucks may not get the best fuel economy. This might be due to the vehicle’s age, as newer trucks are designed to be more efficient. But it could also be caused by a mechanical issue — more on that below.

On a related note, older trucks aren’t always the best at clean emissions either. Although you aren’t required to have the truck tested in British Columbia, you don’t want to be polluting the air or taking on future exhaust system problems that could run up your budget.

High mileage

When studying a used truck’s history, think carefully about the mileage too. There’s a sweet spot you ideally want to hit that lies between too high and too low.

Too low? Yes, some engine problems tend to crop up by a certain mileage threshold. If the truck makes it to 80,000 kilometres, for example, you can probably rest assured that some “lemon” issues aren’t going to show up.

Difficulty obtaining parts

The older and more unusual the truck, the more trouble you may have finding parts for repairs or refurbishing. Consider this downside carefully, as it can affect your ability to get issues fixed quickly. You don’t want your vehicle — particularly if it’s your only one — out of commission for too long, or your bottom line will feel it.

Hidden problems

Not surprisingly, older used trucks can come with a host of issues, from engine malfunctions to wheel problems. It’s essential that you obtain all the repair records for the vehicle, which any responsible seller should offer.

Also, three other ways to reduce the risk of unwanted concerns include:

  • Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle with a documented history

  • Purchasing an extended warranty if possible for extra protection

  • Getting the truck inspected by a reputable mechanic prior to purchase

Following an inspection, you might find that merely patching up a faulty engine won’t be sufficient for the reliability you demand. If everything else about the truck meets your expectations, you could be faced with the option of rebuilding the truck engine.

Is Rebuilding a Truck Engine Worth It?

That brings up the next question: is rebuilding the engine worth it? In many cases, fortunately, the answer is yes. And you probably don’t have to worry about removing the truck engine and completely replacing the entire thing (although sometimes that’s possible too). Instead, you can work with an expert at machining truck parts and fix what needs to be repaired while leaving the rest.

A knowledgeable truck machine shop will evaluate the entire engine and figure out what’s salvageable. Often parts can be cleaned, honed, resurfaced, or rebuilt to give you an engine that runs like new when it’s done. Sometimes, an engine block, for instance, is worth saving, but the other internal parts need machining.

A good automotive machine shop will also give you a rebuilt engine warranty so you can count on the work for your Nanaimo business truck.

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