For many owner-operators on a strict budget, buying a used dump truck is an option that saves money and stress. When compared to the $100,000 price tag that's common on brand-new dump trucks, the $20,000 to $40,000 needed to buy a slightly older dump truck represents a more reasonable value.
As you look for your used dump truck, you'll naturally want to make sure it's in relatively good shape and up to the tasks you have in store for it. The following offers a few pointers you can use when looking for your used dump truck.
Check the Exterior and Dump Box
As you start your walkaround inspection, the first things you'll notice are the exterior condition of the truck itself and the dump box. In addition to the usual dents, dings and signs of major repairs on the truck body, you also should check for signs of rust. For instance, be on the lookout for rust bubbles forming underneath the paint and rust stains on the body.
Next, you'll want to check the condition of the dump box and box liner. Keep an eye out for any deformities in the box. If the dump truck is equipped with a steel box, look for cracks as well as any signs of rust throughout the box. If the truck has an aluminum box, then you'll want to be on the lookout for corrosion.
If you can't decide between a steel or aluminum box, here are a couple of points to consider:
Check the Frame Rails
After checking the exterior and dump box, you'll want to take a look at the truck's frame rails. Not only do you want to check for signs of severe rust, but you also should look for signs of overloading. Constantly overloading the truck could cause the frame to sag downwards over time. If the frame bows upward, however, it could be the result of the previous operator driving the vehicle with the loaded box in the upright position. It's usually a good idea to avoid trucks with clearly visible signs of frame damage.
Inspect the Hydraulics
Checking the frame rails should also give you an opportunity to check the hydraulics underneath the box. Raise the dump box to expose the hydraulic lifting mechanism and thoroughly check the lifting cylinders and rods for signs of cracks, dents or leaks. Don't forget to check the hydraulic pump and the hydraulic fluid reservoir tank for leaks.
Finally, have the seller raise and lower the dump box. During your observations, look for smooth, fluid motion as the hydraulic system works to raise and lower the box. Signs of jerky operation could indicate internal problems within the hydraulics.
Don't Forget About the Lift Axles
Many dump trucks are equipped with additional lift axles for better load distribution and/or maneuverability. Push axles (located in front of the driving tandem axle) and tag axles (located behind the driving tandem axle) help spread the dump truck's load over multiple axles, which could be helpful when operating in states with strict weight regulations. Some lift axles also offer steering capabilities for navigating tight turns.
It's always a good idea to check the state of the axles, especially for obvious signs of damage or excessive wear and tear. You should also check the steering hardware on steerable axles. For more information, contact a company like Arrow Truck Sales.
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