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Watch: Buying used trailers? Here’s what to consider


Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 14 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

Given that new dry van orders are booked into 2019, buying a used dry van trailer is going to be your best short-term bet in getting new-to-you equipment into your fleet to capitalize on today’s increased freight demand.

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The first step in the buying-a-used-trailer process is to communicate your application needs and find out how readily available a dealer might have used trailer stock that can accommodate your operation. Most trailer OEMs leverage their national dealer networks to provided a large inventory of used trailers. However, each OEMs capabilities are different related to how they work within their dealer network.

Once you’ve identified the trailers that could work for you, you’ll want to thoroughly inspect the unit. The biggest bullet points here are:

✓ tires (tread depth, recaps, virgins);
✓ wheel ends (oil/grease, properly lubed);
✓ brakes (lining, pads, ABS);
✓ suspensions;
✓ flooring;
✓ upper couplers; and
✓ trailer electrical system (lights).

You’ll also want to ask for the service history of the trailer. While there’s no service history standard in the industry, well-maintained trailers should have some record that can be provided by the dealer or the previous owner. Ask for these records:

  • Preventative maintenance schedule history on the trailer from the original owner;
  • Repair history from the original owner; and
  • Maintenance and repairs performed during the OEM inspection pre-buy.



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