Use Three Key Steps for a Used Dump Truck Inspection
New dump truck prices and sticker shock go hand in hand for most buyers. It’s quite an investment — and one that can take a long time to recoup. Conversely, if you’re planning to take the popular route of buying a quality used dump truck, a solid and proven inspection plan can help ensure you save thousands vs. new, while purchasing a reliable, hardworking vehicle with many years of service left to give.
Start with these simple steps.
1.) Work with a Trusted Dealer
Once you’ve made important decisions about the kind of dump truck you’re looking for —regarding axle configuration, payload size, gross vehicle weight, aluminum vs. steel box, etc. —identify the dealer you want to work with. This might be based on your personal experience or referrals from peers.
Before you spend time and money checking out the used dump truck (especially if you plan to bring a mechanic or experienced operator for the inspection), a quality used equipment dealer should be able to provide you with:
- Information from any inspections they’ve already performed on the unit you’re considering — including any issues (e.g., parts that needed to be replaced) they found and have addressed.
- Proof/assurances that:
- The vehicle’s title has been paid in full, with no liens against it, so ownership can be transferred.
- The used dump truck has not been stolen. Using the vehicle’s serial number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) this can easily be checked with area police department or a service like the National Equipment Register’s IRONcheck.
2) Complete a Visual Inspection
Start with a walk around the whole truck, taking your time to look for welds or other major repairs, cracks, rust, fluid leaks, and grease around seals and bushings. Weigh them against the age and mileage of the vehicle and what you’re comfortable with. Not everything may be a cause for concern.
Also, visually check:
- The dump box and box liner for any signs of damage.
- The truck frame rails, looking for any sagging or bowing bends. A sagging bend could have been caused by overloading, while an upward, bowing bend could have been caused by and operator driving the truck with a loaded and upright box.
- Common wear items like tires and undercarriage. Note uneven tire wear, which could signal an alignment issue.
The condition of the engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and hydraulic fluid will provide insight about how well the machine has been maintained. Make sure it’s all clean, and look for other clues of potential issues like water in the engine oil.
- Hydraulic lift cylinder(s) and rod(s), looking for leaks, cracks or dents. Make sure to inspect the pump and reservoir tank for fluid leaks as well
3.) Run/Demo the Used Dump Truck
If you’re an experienced operator, chances are you know how a machine should handle and sound. While it is running, listen for any unusual sounds and pay attention to how the machine performs common tasks. Is it laboring during what should be an easy job?
Take note of:
- The exhaust. When starting the machine cold, the color of the exhaust can tell you a lot about the health of a machine. Black smoke means the air/fluid mixture is too rich in the fuel. White smoke could mean the fuel is burning incorrectly. Blue smoke can indicate the engine is burning oil.
- Gauges, signals and lights, to make sure they’re working correctly. And, of course, confirm the mileage on the odometer.
- Looseness/play in the steering while you’re driving.
- Smooth operation (up and down) of the lifting cylinder(s) and rod(s) when the dump truck is stopped.
Taking these three proven steps to inspecting a used dump truck will put you well on your way to what you need and want: a reliable vehicle that will perform well and make you money for years to come.
Advice You Can Trust
Your IEDA member used equipment dealer will provide you with a straightforward, honest assessment of each used dump truck — or any other machine — they have for sale. Work directly with them when walking through the buying process and get the most for your investment.
For a list of IEDA members in your area, click here