Buying a used trailer is a great option for drivers who are interested in getting into the transportation industry as owner operators instead of working for someone else. You can save a lot of money while still buying a trailer that meets your needs. Take the following tips when looking at used trailers to determine whether or not a given trailer will be a good investment.
Ask the owner why he’s selling the trailer
Before you start to inspect the trailer, talk to the owner about why he’s decided to sell his trailer. He may offer a simple, straightforward answer, such as upgrading to a newer trailer or getting into another industry. The more you know about the trailer upfront, the less surprises there will be in the future.
Inspect the mechanical elements
Begin the mechanical inspection by checking the tires, wheels, and axles. If the tires are more than five years old, be prepared to replace them to minimize the risk of a blowout on the highway.
Finally, check the electrical system and wheel bearings.
If you don’t feel comfortable completing the mechanical inspection yourself, take a mechanic with you or ask to take the trailer to a reputable mechanic. He’ll be able to assess the overall mechanical condition of the trailer and whether you’ll need to save for major repairs or replacement parts in the near future. A mechanic will also provide expertise about the availability of replacement parts. If it will be difficult to find replacement parts, the trailer may not be your best option.
Inspect the structural elements
Check under the trailer for surface and structural rust. It’s easy to fix surface rust by swapping out the affected part. However, structural rust, such as rust on the trailer frame, may mean a large repair or that the trailer is nearing the end of its life. You want to ensure your frame is sound and won’t give way in the near future. Additional exterior concerns include loose or peeling walls or siding. Look for broken welds, cracks, and impact damage as well. Walk through the interior of the trailer, paying attention to soft spots on the floor, leak stains on the ceiling, and any other issues with the floor, walls, or ceiling.
Request the trailer’s service records
A comprehensive overview of the trailer’s service records will provide a good indication of its overall performance and whether you may be facing significant problems in the near future. Make sure to confirm the trailer’s VIN number with the number on the records to verify that the documentation is legitimate.
Finally, trust your gut instinct. A used trailer is still a major investment. You want to make sure you feel confident about your purchase before you bite the bullet.
If you are looking to purchase or rent a trailer to make any job easier, call or visit Area Trailer Sales and Rentals in the Amarillo, Lubbock, or Odessa, Texas areas. Call Area Trailer Sales and Rentals TODAY (Amarillo (806) 331-2174, Lubbock Toll Free (855) 862-7252 or Odessa (432) 561-9725). Check out our inventory online or stop-by one of our locations in Amarillo TX, Lubbock TX or Odessa TX. You can also connect with us via email. Whether you are looking for trailers for agriculture, construction or oilfield applications, we’ve got you covered. Rent a belt or dump trailer or buy a livestock or tank trailer. No matter what your needs are, we will find the right trailer for you at Area Trailer Sales and Rentals.