Tips on buying a second hand lorry

Are you thinking of buying a second hand lorry? How might you make the decision to pick up a bargain and avoid being left with a dud? Are you able to afford the loss if things go wrong?

In no particular order, some of the following tips may help to guide you:

  • buying second hand may cost less than buying new, but is it a realistic option?
  • if you are expecting a huge amount of work and a long life from the lorry, you may need to buy new;
  • similarly, if the lorry is intended to play an absolutely fundamental role in your business, are you going to be able to afford the hit if you do make the mistake of buying a second hand dud?
  • if your decision is to be guided by price, then it makes sense to know how much second hand lorries of the type you want are fetching – there are a number of standard industry price guides you may consult;
  • you might also want to give some thought to the cost of running the vehicle – including the likely insurance premiums;
  • if you are looking for a specialist provider, including one that is able to arrange goods in transit insurance, here at Isis Insurance Services, we are pleased to help;
  • once you have settled on your budget, determined that the price seems to be right, and that a second hand vehicle might suit your needs, you might home in on the make and model for sale;
  • one of the first things to check is likely to be the paperwork, including the V5C (or log book), MOT and service history;
  • also, check if there is outstanding finance on the lorry (there are a number of online services that you can use, that charge a small fee);
  • the next big test – probably the biggest of all – is likely to be the physical inspection of the vehicle;
  • unless you are able to claim a fair degree of expertise yourself, this is something for you might want to engage professional help;
  • the service and vehicle histories (if any) may provide a clue as to what to inspect more closely;
  • some elements may be relatively cosmetic and cost little to rectify, although windscreens, mirrors and tyres may all need to be replaced in order to pass the vehicle’s next MOT;
  • checking the engine may need a more professional eye unless you know what to look for – obvious signs might be an engine that appears too clean or one that is already running when you come to inspect it (so that potential starting problems are being masked);
  • oil, water and fuel leaks of any description may need to be inspected especially carefully, to check whether the problem is simply a broken seal or something more serious;
  • finally, turn the key in the ignition to start it up and check that no warning lights remain on when the engine is running.

A second hand lorry may be a fair bargain or a cut-price disaster – the decision is largely in your own hands. There is probably no golden rule to ensuring that you make the sensible purchase, although some of these tips may hopefully help.

Further reading: CommercialMotor