If you're new to the trucking industry, you may need a few pointers when buying your first used freightliner. After all, your new investment may very well be your home away from home, and it needs to be in good shape. Whether you bring a trusted mechanic with you when you shop or you hunt for that perfect truck solo, here are four major things you must check before making the purchase.
One of the first steps to choosing the right truck is knowing what sort of axle configuration you need. This typically looks like 4x2, 8x4, or even 6x2. The first number refers to how many tires are on the ground and the second reflects how many tires are being controlled by the gear box. Axle configuration is important because it determines your weight capacity, among other things.
First, the more axles you have, the more weight you can haul, and you always know how many axles you have by simply dividing the first number of the configuration in half.
The second number in the configuration will affect the truck's gas mileage: a higher number means more gas usage. But it also means better navigation because the more tires the gearbox controls, the more gears you'll be able to shift into, which will give you better control on hazardous road conditions like gravel and hilly or icy roads.
Axle configuration alone won't tell you everything you need to know about towing capacity. Be sure to check the towing and payload table as well.
Used freightliners will come with miles; that's pretty much unavoidable. But unlike with a used car, high mileage isn't something to be concerned with if the overall condition is good.
However, if the mileage is approaching 800,000, you might want to take a closer look at the engine for any other potential problems. There are a few tests that could indicate if the engine is close to needing an overhaul.
The first is an oil analysis that shows contaminants and other issues, and the other is called a crankcase blow-by which tests for oil leakage around worn pistons and piston rings. The seller might be willing to allow a mechanic to check for these issues before you agree to purchase. You can also ask if there have been any noticeable changes in oil consumption. If the truck is suddenly using more oil than it previously was and the mileage is high, that could indicate that a major service is needed.
Lastly, when you turn on the engine, listen for any unusual sounds like knocking, grinding, clunking, or drumming, and check for blue or black exhaust.
Every used truck should have a record of maintenance performed, and checking this log is a critical step. Be sure that oil changes were done on a regular basis, and look for repeated repairs which may signal the need for a replacement soon. If available, make note of the mechanic that's been servicing the truck and talk with them about any concerns you should have.
Also, check the tread on the tires to be sure they have good depth. And lastly, find out what might need replacing soon, if anything. The seller should be familiar with the truck's history and be capable of answering any questions you have.
If you're not familiar with what brake pads should look like when they're in good condition, talk with a mechanic or look up pictures online to get an idea. If it looks as though they'll need to be replaced soon, this shouldn't be a deal breaker as the costs for this aren't usually all that high. If they're extremely bad, you may try to negotiate a lower price with the seller.
For more information, contact companies like Arrow Truck Sales.