Some people are naturally better drivers than others. Some people drive work vehicles worse, some better, than their own personal vehicle. The more drivers the flatbed truck had, the more likely it wasn’t driven in the proper way. Some people race the engine and some slam on the breaks.
Be leery of purchasing a flatbed truck that had ton different operators driving it.
Was it used locally or across the country?
This is another thing for consideration. Vehicles run on local routes are operated differently than those used for long hauls. Find how it was used, often the type of business with give you all the clues you need.
Local most likely means it was in constant stop and go and in high traffic areas. But it probably didn’t run at too high of a speed for long stretches of time. Long haul means less stopping but was most likely running at a higher rate of speed for a more consistent amount of time.
There are pros and cons to both, that is why it is best to have your trusted mechanic go over it first.
Check the tires condition
Tires, tires, tires… I know I always find the time to speak about tires. Why? Well because they are one of most important part of the flatbed truck. Or any truck actually! But they can also tell you a lot about the truck and the operator’s driving habits.
Are they worn or showing signs of uneven wear? The rim does it show signs of hitting the curb a few too many times? Are the rims showing hidden signs that the rotor or the brakes are going bad?
Much like you can tell a lot about a person by their hands, the same is true with the tires.
Check the engine
The engine is the other most important factor. If you check the oil and it smells burned that is a bad sign. If it is too thick or too thin that too can be a bad sign and possible symptoms of a greater issue. Perhaps the rods are bad or the gaskets leak.
Also when you start it, does it turn over properly? How do the spark plugs look? Check the filters. Even remove the radiator cap check and smell it, if has a burned smell that is not good, possibly a sign of other hidden issues. So look closer and let the mechanic you have with you do what he is paid for!
Look carefully the condition for one of the most important truck parts!
The last thing you want to do is overhaul the engine of your new flatbed truck!
Take a detail look at the transmission
The transmission is equally important as the engine. I make it sound like every part is important. Well they are. So remember to check the fluid, see if it has the burn smell. When you start the flatbed truck up does it shift gears smoothly? How does ride as you run down the street?
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Flatbed trucks can be either automatic or standard shift. In this classification the automatic is most likely going to be more common. But if it is a standard then you must check the clutch. Try running through the gears, does it shift smoothly?
This could be really expensive if there was an issue and you didn’t catch it.
I hope you were able to find these tips useful. Just remember, buying a flatbed truck is like anything else. You must research the available trucks and see which model type and size is best for your operation. Take it for a test drive and by all means have your mechanic give it a full once over.
Having a flatbed truck allows your customer options that they might not be able to get if your fleet was consisted with only larger trucks. Depending on state requirements and the actual classification your drivers might not even need a CDL to operate a flatbed truck. But like everything check into that first.
Which is your favorite model of flatbed truck? How many does your fleet have? Do you think it is better to have assigned vehicles or just hot-seat them as they are available? Share your thoughts and recommendations with us.