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Used Dump Truck Buying Guide

March 8, 2023

Expand your fleet with hauling power that won't let you down. What you need to consider and look for before you buy a used dump truck.

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Impacting your operations

Whether you're a seasoned contractor expanding your fleet or a budding entrepreneur entering the construction industry, purchasing a dump truck is a significant investment that can greatly impact your operations. While buying new may be the first option that comes to mind, the allure of buying a used dump truck can't be ignored.

Used dump trucks offer a practical and cost-effective alternative, allowing you to acquire a reliable workhorse while saving a substantial amount of money. Navigating the realm of the used-truck market requires careful consideration and due diligence to ensure you make a sound purchase that meets your specific requirements.

In this article we discuss:

  • What to look for
  • Inspecting the dump truck
  • Assessing your needs
  • The different types and brands

For more information on dump trucks, check out Dump Trucks: What You Need to Know.

What to look for

When buying a used dump truck, there are several factors to consider to ensure you make a well-informed decision:

  1. Purpose and Requirements: Determine the specific tasks and hauling capacity you need the dump truck to handle. Consider factors such as the type of materials you will be hauling, the terrain you'll be operating on, and any special features or attachments required.
  2. Budget: Set a realistic budget that aligns with your financial capabilities. Consider not just the initial purchase price but also potential maintenance and repair costs down the line.
  3. Condition and Maintenance Records: Carefully inspect the overall condition of the truck, including the engine, transmission, hydraulics, tires, brakes, and body. Ask for maintenance records to assess how well the truck has been maintained and if it has undergone regular servicing.
  4. Mileage and Usage: Evaluate the mileage and assess how it corresponds to its age. Excessive mileage could indicate a higher level of wear and tear. Also consider the type of usage the truck has experienced, such as highway driving or off-road work ,as it can affect the overall condition.
  5. Vehicle History: Obtain a comprehensive vehicle history report to uncover any accidents ,damages, or previous ownership details. This information can give you insights into potential issues or hidden problems.
  6. Inspection: Hire a professional to perform a thorough inspection to identify mechanical issues or underlying problems that may not be apparent to an untrained eye.
  7. Seller Reputation: Research the reputation of the seller, Look for reviews and testimonials to gauge their trustworthiness and reliability.
  8. Financing Options: Explore financing options available to you, including loans or lease agreements. Compare interest rates, terms, and repayment options to find the most suitable arrangement for your financial situation.
  9. Warranty and After-Sales Support: Inquire about any remaining warranty or after-sales support that may be available with the used dump truck.
  10. Test Drive: Before finalizing the purchase, if possible, take a test drive. Pay attention to its performance, handling, and overall driving experience. This first-hand experience can help you identify any potential issues or concerns.


Volvo A40F Dump Truck

Inspecting the dump truck

To get a good idea of the condition of the equipment, pay specific attention to the following:


Exterior body and frame

  • Check for any signs of rust, corrosion, or extensive damage on the body and frame.
  • Look for dents, scratches, or evidence of past repairs, which may indicate accidents or harsh usage.
  • Ensure that the dump bed and hydraulic components are in good working order, with no leaks or structural issues.

Engine and mechanical components

  • Inspect the engine for any signs of leaks, such as oil or coolant leaks, which can indicate underlying problems.
  • Check the belts, hoses, and filters for wear and tear, and ensure they are in good condition.
  • Examine the exhaust system for excessive smoke or unusual sounds that could indicate engine problems.
  • Test the functionality of the transmission, clutch (if applicable), and drivetrain for smooth operation.

Suspension and chassis

  • Inspect the suspension components, including springs, shocks, and bushings, for signs of wear or damage.
  • Check for any visible cracks, bends, or weak points on the chassis frame, as this can affect the truck's stability and load-bearing capacity.

Tires and wheels

  • Examine the tires for even tread wear and sufficient tread depth. Uneven wear patterns may indicate alignment or suspension issues.
  • Ensure that the tires are of the correct size, properly inflated, and free from any visible damage or bulges.
  • Inspect the wheels for any cracks, bends, or missing lug nuts, as these can lead to safety concerns.

Electrical system

  • Test all electrical components, including lights, signals, wipers, and gauges, to ensure they are functioning properly.
  • Check the battery's condition and ensure that all wiring connections are secure and free from corrosion.

Interior and controls

  • Inspect the cabin's condition, including the seats, dashboard, and controls, for wear and tear.
  • Test the functionality of essential controls, such as the steering, brakes, throttle, and hydraulic controls.
  • Check the condition and operation of safety features, including seat belts and air bags.

Fluids and fluid systems

  • Check the levels and condition of essential fluids, such as engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, and hydraulic fluid.
  • Look for any signs of leaks or contaminants in these fluid systems, as they can indicate potential issues.

If you're not well-versed in mechanical inspections, it's advisable to hire a professional to perform a thorough vehicle examination. They have the expertise to identify hidden problems and provide an accurate assessment of its condition, giving you peace of mind in your purchase decision.

2007 Mack Granite CV713 Dump Truck

Assess your needs

Here are nine top tips to help you select the right dump truck:  

  1. Identify Your Requirements: Begin by clearly identifying your hauling requirements and the nature of the work you will be performing. Consider factors such as the type and volume of materials you'll be transporting, the terrain and operating conditions, and any special features or attachments necessary for your tasks.
  2. Determine Payload Capacity: Calculate the approximate weight of the materials you'll be hauling and choose a dump truck with a payload capacity that can handle your intended load. It's important not to exceed the truck's maximum capacity to maintain safety and avoid potential damage.
  3. Evaluate Dumping Mechanism: Evaluate the type of dumping mechanism that best suits your needs. There are various options available, such as rear dump, side dump, and articulated dump trucks. Each has its advantages and limitations, so select the one that aligns with your work requirements and the specific challenges of the job site.
  4. Assess Size and Maneuverability: Consider the size of the dump truck in relation to the job site. Ensure that the vehicle can easily maneuver within the available space and access tight areas if required. Additionally, check for any height or weight restrictions that may exist in the areas where you'll be operating.
  5. Evaluate Fuel Efficiency: Fuel costs can be a significant expense, so choosing a vehicle with good fuel economy can help reduce operational costs over the long term.
  6. Safety Features: Prioritize safety. Look for features such as stability control, anti-lock braking systems (ABS), traction control, and advanced driver assistance systems(ADAS) that enhance safety and minimize the risk of accidents.
  7. Consider Maintenance and Serviceability: Evaluate the accessibility of maintenance and service points. Choose a model that allows for easy servicing, routine maintenance, and repairs to minimize downtime and keep your operations running smoothly.
  8. Research and Compare Models: Conduct thorough research on different models and manufacturers. Compare specifications, features, reliability, and customer reviews to gain insights into the performance and reputation of each option.
  9. Seek Expert Advice: Consult with industry professionals, experienced operators, or colleagues who have knowledge in the field of dump trucks. Their insights and experiences can provide valuable guidance.

By carefully assessing your requirements and the truck’s capabilities, you can ensure that the one you choose to buy is well-suited for what you need.

Comparing dump trucks

Each dump truck is designed for specific tasks and operating conditions. Some common types include:

  1. Standard Dump Trucks: These are the most commonly used dump trucks and feature a hydraulic ram to lift the front end of the bed for unloading. They have a rear-mounted dump bed that tips backward to empty the load.
  2. Transfer Dump Trucks: Also known as "slinger" or "super dump" trucks, transfer dump trucks have a separate trailer or semi-trailer that can be detached. This allows for increased payload capacity and faster unloading by spreading the load as the bed is lifted and the trailer dumps simultaneously.
  3. Articulated Dump Trucks: Articulated dump trucks (ADTs) have a pivot point between the cab and the dump bed, allowing for enhanced maneuverability on rough terrains. ADTs are commonly used in construction, mining, and off-road applications.
  4. Side Dump Trucks: Side dump trucks have a hydraulic lifting mechanism that tilts the bed to the side, allowing for easy unloading. These trucks are ideal for jobs requiring precise placement of materials or when unloading in areas with limited overhead space.
  5. Off-Highway Dump Trucks: Off-highway dump trucks are heavy-duty vehicles specifically designed for rugged off-road conditions, such as mining and large-scale construction sites. They offer high load capacities and superior off-road capabilities.
  6. Bottom Dump Trucks: Bottom dump trucks, also known as belly dump trucks, feature a clamshell-type dump bed that empties its load through the bottom. This design allows for controlled and precise unloading of materials along a linear path, making them suitable for road construction and paving projects.
  7. Haul Trucks: Haul trucks are extremely large and powerful dump trucks used primarily in mining operations. They have immense payload capacities and are designed to transport massive amounts of materials over long distances.

Each type has its own advantages and limitations, so selecting the right one will ensure optimal performance and efficiency for your particular application. Compare brands to see which ones address your specific requirements. Some leading manufacturers include Caterpillar, Peterbilt, Volvo, Mack, Western Star, Freightliner, Kenworth, and International.

Check out our dump truck category page to learn more and see what dump trucks we have available to buy now, or keep an eye on our upcoming auctions.


Black Star can make the purchase of a dump truck easier for you. We have a proven track record of working with customers in a wide range of industries to provide information and equipment solutions that meet specific needs.

Our team’s industry expertise enables us to provide complete transparency and hold in-depth, technical discussions with interested buyers. We perform detailed inspections of all the equipment we sell and we have direct access to our sellers at every stage in the selling process.

If you are unable to locate a particular used dump truck to meet your needs now, we would be pleased to conduct a customized search. We also know of many contractors and business owners in our network that have them to sell when a buyer comes along.

Our reputation in the marketplace has a number of long-established and credible companies partnering with us to provide added value for our customers too, such as for transportation or financing needs.

If you need to know more about what to look for and how to buy the right dump truck, contact our experts today.

This article is our representation of useful information and is not intended to be a complete guide for making the right decision for your company. Ask our experts - or your own - for specific advice based on your unique circumstances.


Used Dump Truck Buying Guide
Lynn Schroeder

Lynn is the Swiss Army Knife of Black Star, with 35+ years of proven experience in the auction and appraisal industry; his experience is unparalleled. As an appraiser, he has valued virtually every type of construction and transportation equipment. Lynn serves as Chief Auctioneer and works daily with customers and team members, providing reliable, accurate values on equipment and rolling stock.

When you decide to sell your equipment,
we will personalize a way forward that benefits you.
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