Obviously, a used or previously owned lorry has a past, and that means additional potential risk if you lack knowledge of how to choose a good used lorry. With that in mind, and to assist you in your decision making we’ve compiled our guide to buying a lorry for your business…
Step One – Planning and Budget
Knowing what you want is the first and most critical step in implementing any of our other suggestions. If you’re looking for a used lorry but don’t know where to start, it’s important to make a list of priorities as soon as feasible. What are you planning on doing with the truck? Which gearbox do you prefer, and why? To what extent are you willing to customise your training based on the lorry you purchase? When estimating costs, remember that value-added tax (VAT) must be included for all purchases.
Step Two – Identify your potential payload
The next critical step is to get a firm grasp on the prospective payload. If you know this, you can choose the optimum axle configuration and specifications. Gross vehicle weight (GVW) is the manufacturer-recommended maximum for a vehicle’s operating weight or mass, so keep that in mind while you search. Everything with the exception of the trailers are included in this definition, including the chassis, body, engine, engine fluids, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers, and cargo. You can find the car’s gross vehicle weight rating, or GVM, in the owner’s manual or on a plate or sticker affixed to the vehicle.
Step Three – Identify the history of the vehicle
When you find a truck that catches your eye, the next step is to learn as much as possible about its past. A vehicle is a significant investment, so it’s important to complete as much due diligence as possible before making the purchase. Inquire about seeing the V5 document to double-check the validity of the vehicle’s specifications and the MOT expiration dates. Next, you should examine the truck’s service history and maintenance records to learn about the repairs it has undergone, the number of accidents it has been in, and what parts may be due for replacement soon if they haven’t been upgraded in a while. The use of main dealers for repairs is also something you may check on. You should inquire about the lorry’s history, how it performed for the previous owners, and any recent upgrades or modifications.
Step Four – Carry out a thorough inspection
It’s time to visit the dealership and have a good look at the vehicle up close and personal. Check for rust (especially in obscure places like the wheel arches or the top corner of the windscreen) and examine the paint. Was it recently painted? If so, explain. You should make sure the underlying bodywork is in good shape and that nothing suspicious has been hastily painted over. In addition, you should check the locking lid on the fuel tanks works, the brake pads are responsive, the water level is adequate, the oil is of good quality, the engine runs smoothly (listen outside the cab), and there are no oil leaks. Finally, if you’re buying a sleeper truck, it’s crucial that you inspect the sleeping quarters. Make that the mattress is in good shape, the seat embroidery is secure, and the drapes are open.
Step Five – Request a test drive
Once you’ve determined that the lorry’s appearance meets your standards, it’s time to take it for a spin so you can get a sense for how it drives and performs. Before you go, check to see if the trade plates are there. If any lights remain on after starting the vehicle (other than the handbrake), it may be a sign of a problem that needs to be investigated.
Step Six – Verify your licencing requirements
If you want to drive a heavy-vehicle (HGV), you’ll need a category C licence at the very least. Category C+E is the highest LGV licence, allowing you to operate articulated vehicles over 3.5 tonnes with a trailer over 750 kilogrammes. Category C permits you to operate rigid vehicles over 3.5 tonnes with a trailer up to 750 kilogrammes. In addition to holding a valid commercial driver’s licence, all professional truck drivers must also hold a driver CPC (Certification of Professional Competence). The CPC is earned by demonstrating competence in a variety of areas and then completing 35 hours of additional training every five years.
Step Seven – Apply for your o-licence
Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) operators licence, often known as a ‘o’ licence, is required if you plan to buy a used truck and operate it for your own business. This allows you to legally transport products (defined as anything that isn’t bolted down) on public highways with a vehicle that weighs more than 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW). The Traffic Commissioner, an impartial authority on the safety and efficiency of commercial road transport, issues the necessary licence. A corporate location and a 21-day newspaper advertisement are prerequisites for applying for the licence. Then you can submit an application for a licence either online or via mail.
Step Eight – Kick the tyres
It is becoming increasingly important for drivers to know the age and service record of their tyres. Check the tyre tread depth, find out how many miles are on the tyres, and when they need to be changed. Check the wheel rims for damage and make sure all the tyres are the same size. If you do have any concerns it is important to raise them with the seller
Step Nine – Consider any payment options
The best way to pay for your new lorry is up to you, whether that be a loan, financing or use of business capital. Remember to approach this in a way that is practical for you and your company.
Step Ten – Do your research
Don’t let yourself get duped by a low price that’s accompanied by scant details; instead, make sure you’re dealing with a trustworthy seller. The lorry’s price needs to be competitive while yet being in line with comparable quotations. Talk to someone objective in the field for a personal suggestion.
Last but not least, take your time making a choice; you might be one of the happy few to find the ideal used truck on the first try, but this is probably not the case. Spend as much time as you need (and test drive as many trucks as possible) to find one that meets all of your needs.