Home The Long Haul Blog Why Buy Used Trucks From A Dealership Instead Of An Auction

Why Buy Your Used Truck From a Reputable Dealership Instead of an Auction?

June 22, 2023 Truck Sales Author: Rush Truck Centers Read Time: 3 Min

Information provided by Doug Shields

This article is a continuation of our series answering many of the questions that a prospective commercial truck owner might have when considering a used truck purchase. In this third installment, we dove into the risks of buying used trucks at an auction and why buying from a reputable dealership is always the best choice. Just straight facts and no fluff to help you make a solid, fact-based decision when buying your next commercial vehicle.

When you consider buying a used truck, whether it’s from an online platform, an auction house or even a small independent dealer, there is some inherent risk involved.

Let’s say you decide to buy a used truck, and you’ve heard you can get the lowest price at an auction. The auction house provides a list of all the trucks to be auctioned off when you arrive, and you spend the day checking auction numbers, popping doors, looking at odometers and cranking trucks, all in an effort to find telltale signs of wear and tear and potentially costly failures.  

After completing your inspections, you find just one vehicle worthy of your consideration. When bidding begins on your top pick, the excitement of the auction sets in and you get caught up in the moment, bidding way higher than the walk-away price point you had in mind. As the auctioneer announces you as the winner, the realization sets in that you paid far more for the truck than you ever would have at your usual truck dealer, or any dealer for that matter.

Risks Associated With Used Truck Auctions

Does the above scenario sound familiar? Unfortunately, it happens more often than it should, even to experienced dealers and buyers who know better. No one is immune to the electric atmosphere that auction houses create to extract the highest possible bids for their trucks.

Besides this very real risk of overpaying for a truck, you’re also taking on other unnecessary risks when you purchase a truck at auction rather than from a reputable, certified truck dealership:

  • There is typically no warranty on a truck purchased at auction unless you buy an aftermarket extended warranty.
  • You’re usually only allowed to start the truck, not drive it. Not being allowed to drive a truck creates a lot of questions about future usability.
  • When you do find deficiencies, they’re almost always your responsibility to address and pay for.
  • Due diligence is entirely your responsibility. This means that any previous wrecks, flood damage or frame damage, as well as issues with the engine control module (ECM), engine, aftertreatment, transmission, differentials, or any other costly components, are now your problem and not the seller’s.
  • Not only do you have to pay the exact dollar amount of your high bid, but in many instances, there are taxes and fees that you’re responsible for, which can include a hefty buyer fee.

When you consider that most dealers and end users bring trucks to auction because they can’t afford to fix them without risking significant financial loss, you begin to understand that many of these Hail Mary auction pieces are best avoided. In other words, you’ve really got to know what you’re doing, and be more than a little lucky, if you plan to survive shopping for your next truck at an auction.

Shopping for Used Trucks at Rush Truck Centers

Now, contrast the scenario above with what could have happened if you had visited a truck dealership, such as Rush Truck Centers, for your used truck.

Every pre-owned truck we sell has gone through a rigorous make-ready process and has passed a federal DOT inspection before hitting our lots, so you can be sure that every truck you look at is in the best possible condition. Our truck sales experts will be ready and waiting to help you find the best truck for your application and provide information on the vehicle’s history and any available warranties. And should issues pop up after you take possession of the vehicle, our ASE-certified technicians at our more than 140 locations across the U.S. are available to assist.

Rush Truck Centers is your source for quality, used trucks of all makes and models. Search our large inventory of pre-owned trucks from the brands you know and trust, or contact us today to inquire about a vehicle.

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About the Author

Doug Shields

Doug has been a mainstay in the new and used heavy-duty truck industry for more than 25 years. Formerly Rush Enterprises' Director of Used Truck Operations, Doug serves on a number of industry and OEM committees and councils and has written countless sales and management-related articles specific to our industry that have been published in the Used Truck Association monthly magazine. Retiring in 2024, Doug enjoys playing chess and poker and spending time with his family in Arizona.