Buying a used vehicle is a great way to save money while still getting something reliable. You’ll get an immediately lower price, you can prevent the possibility of vehicle depreciation, and you can even save money on insurance – all while getting access to a reliable, time-tested brand.
Still, there are many ways this transaction can go wrong. It’s on you to do your research, ask the right questions, and ensure you’re getting what you pay for.
Buying a Used Semi-Truck
First, understand that buying a used semi-truck for your trucking company confers many of the same advantages as buying a used vehicle for personal use. However, this is a bigger decision – not only are semi-trucks more expensive, but they’re also going to be tied to potential liability issues, as well as your business’s profitability.
When buying a used semi-truck, you’ll need to follow all the tips below and ask a number of additional follow-up questions. For example, you’ll want to learn more about the truck’s pre-emissions engine, engine history, access to rear lock-ups, hydraulic brake functionality, and whether it meets terms and conditions.
Tips for Buying a Used Vehicle
No matter what type of vehicle you’re buying used, there are some important tips you’ll need to follow to ensure you’re getting the best deal:
- Understand your budget. Before you take any other steps, be sure of your budget. How much are you able to afford with your current income? How much of an impact could this make on your business’s bottom line? If you’re getting a loan, how much of a loan payment can you work into your monthly budget?
- Research your financing options. Next, figure out what financing options are available to you. If you have substantial personal savings, you may be able to afford to purchase the vehicle outright – but that isn’t always the best financial move. Depending on your credit score, down payment, and other factors, you can often secure a car loan with a very low interest rate, giving you more buying power and cost savings at once.
- Buy from someone you trust. There are many places where you can find used vehicles; you can buy from a dealer, from an online platform, or even from another individual directly. No matter what, only buy from a person or institution you trust. Check to see if there are any guarantees in place to protect your finances and look at reviews from previous customers to see what they have to say about their experience.
- Research make and model history. When you start narrowing down the list of vehicles to purchase, research the make and model history. What do owners of this vehicle have to say about it? Are they happy or unhappy with its performance?
- Research the price. When you find a make and model that looks appealing, research the price using a tool like Kelley Blue Book. This will help you ballpark an appropriate price for the vehicle you’re seeking – and help you negotiate later on.
- Check the vehicle’s history. If you’re looking at a specific vehicle for sale, don’t just assume it’s been well cared for. Look at the vehicle’s history by running a vehicle history check. Has there been any serious damage? Has it been involved in an accident? What are its maintenance records like?
- Conduct your own inspection. Conduct your own inspection before you commit to buy anything. Even if the vehicle history report comes back clean, this is your chance to catch worn parts, points of damage, and other factors that could reduce the vehicle’s value.
- Take a test drive. It may look fine, but that doesn’t mean it’s in good driving condition. The only way to tell for sure is to take your own test drive. How does the vehicle feel? Do you notice anything abnormal with how it handles on the road?
- Negotiate. After you have all the information, it’s time to negotiate. In most cases, you can secure the vehicle for less than its advertised price. Do some research so you know what similar vehicles have sold for in the past and come ready to haggle.
- Finalize the paperwork properly. Established dealers will know how to complete a transaction properly, but if you’re buying from another individual, the paperwork can get sloppy. Make sure you properly finalize the title transfer.
With these tips, you’ll be in a much better position to get a good deal on a used vehicle. That means finding a better vehicle, getting a lower price, and ultimately driving with higher safety and reliability on the road. Buying a used vehicle isn’t always the right decision, but it can be enormously helpful in the right circumstances.