Buying Used Garbage Trucks – Five Tips

The backbone of any business is people and quality equipment. A waste-hauling refuse company is no exception and your trucks are what make the difference for reliable service to your customers.

Whether you are a large waste hauler or a start-up refuse company, buying a used garbage truck could be just what you need. Now more than ever, quality used trash trucks can be a game changer especially as capital preservation is so important.

But how can a used garbage truck buyer make sure the equipment is a good value? Armed with the right information and a little research, you can find pre-owned garbage trucks that not only meet your demands but represent a solid value as well.

Here are a few tips on what to look for when looking for used garbage trucks for sale.

The ABC’s – Types of Used Garbage Trucks

Obviously, not all garbage trucks are the same. There are several types and you first need to determine what type of garbage truck best fits your operation. As a starting point, here is a quick summary of application types.

Front Loaders
Front Load Garbage Trucks are used mainly for commercial routes or in dense residential neighborhoods. Although most front loaders are primarily used for commercial waste collection, automated front loaders equipped with the Curotto-Can are an extremely popular option, with unbeatable capacity and versatility on residential and commercial routes.

Side Loaders
Side Load Garbage Trucks are highly efficient and have become very popular for residential waste collection routes. Requiring just a single operator who never needs to leave the cab, sideload trash trucks allow for quick waste container pickups, which is the reason for their popularity as an ideal garbage truck for residential routes.

Rear Loaders
Rear Loader Garbage Trucks were the original workhorse of the industry, and remain the most popular trash truck type to this day. Rear Loaders are available in a wide range of sizes and can be used for both commercial and residential waste collection routes.


Rolloff Trucks
Rolloff Trucks are versatile vehicles primarily used for hauling large containers. Roll offs are ideal for refuse haulers, construction sites, large clean-up projects, and businesses with significant waste disposal needs. They are equipped with a hoist and a cable system that allows containers to be rolled on and off the truck’s bed.

Hooklift Trucks
Hooklift Trucks are highly versatile and used for a variety of applications. They feature a hydraulic hooklift hoist system that allows for easy loading and unloading of different types of containers. This makes them ideal for businesses that need to quickly switch between hauling different loads, such as construction debris, recyclables, and bulky waste. Hooklift trucks can greatly enhance efficiency by reducing the time and labor required for container swaps, making them a valuable asset for companies with diverse and dynamic operational needs.

Why Buy Used Garbage Trucks?

Garbage trucks are a waste hauler’s most expensive asset and if you know what to look for, buying a used or reconditioned trash truck can be a very smart decision. Many used garbage trucks are still in good condition or have been reconditioned and brought up to manufacture standards. And a good used garbage truck can save a hauler thousands and thousands of dollars.

But it’s important to do your homework and make sure you know what you’re buying and what you’re getting. Read more points on what to look for when buying a used garbage truck.

Know Your Truck Dealer

When dealing with a garbage truck dealer, make sure they have a good reputation. You want to purchase your truck from a company that is familiar with the refuse industry, refuse trucks, and maybe most importantly, how they operate.

Garbage trucks are designed for particular work and the specific demands of the route. A good dealer should have a waste industry background and know what trucks are best for commercial or residential work. A knowledgeable dealer should understand the demands of the waste hauling industry and be well-informed not only on route requirements but on the different cab configurations, body specifications as well as the option content. They should be able to help guide you and offer choices that fit your application.

Determine the Truck’s Mechanical History

It’s always important to determine how well the truck was taken care of.

Start by looking for trucks that do not have high miles and high hours. It is possible to run diagnostic software from the truck’s computer to determine the exact miles, hours and other pertinent detail such as service and engine fault codes. Ask your dealer if this has been done and if not, request it.

You should also verify that the truck chassis and the body on the truck are the same year.

In addition, you should request a CARFAX report. This will ensure there is a clean title on the truck and it will share any information regarding accidents or if the truck has endured water or flood damage or been repaired.

Look Into the Truck’s Work History

If possible, it’s a good idea to know what type of route or workload the truck did on a regular basis.

Was it used on a municipal route or in a dense highly-populated area? Often, a truck formerly owned by a municipality tends to have less wear and tear as they run on shorter shifts. But that’s not always the case and it’s unfair to say that trucks owned previously by a private company are not as good, they very often are. It depends on the workload and where the truck operated.

Verify All Used Garbage Trucks Have Been Inspected Before Buying

Every dealer should thoroughly inspect their trucks and be able to document what they did to the truck or what repairs the truck needs. Most dealers are honest, but some dealers just “flip” trucks without any inspection or real knowledge of its condition.

A truck may be priced cheap and look like a great bargain, but if it needs significant repairs and is in poor condition it may well end up costing you more in repairs than the purchase price. A truck in poor condition or at its end-of-life could be a high-maintenance nightmare that could easily eat up all your profit.

So above all else, you need to determine what shape the truck is in. You need to verify that the truck has been inspected, if it is ready to work on the route, or what is required to get into working condition.

The inspection should be thorough and go from bumper to bumper, including all mechanical truck chassis and body functions as well as cosmetic items.

If repairs have been made, they should be documented. This report should be readily available to you upon request.

Finally, the most important part of your business is operating safely and that starts with your people and your equipment. At a bare minimum, you want to know that the truck is DOT compliant. All safety concerns should be noted or what was done to fix them. DOT requirements vary by state and you should confirm that the truck adheres to the DOT standard rules for the state where you intend to use it.

The Time Is Right

Trucks are waste haulers most expensive asset. And maintaining a business with good reviews and happy customers means staying on top of good quality equipment. But quality does not always have to be brand new. There are many great options in today’s used garbage trucks market.

Trucks & Parts is the nation’s largest garbage truck dealer. We sell both new and used garbage trucks. We will always give you a factual representation of the condition of our trucks and provide detailed documentation of our inspection. Our inspection process is the most thorough in the industry. And our inspection documentation will show you specifically what we inspected, what condition it was in and what repairs we did (or did not do) to the truck. Most dealers can’t produce any documentation whatsoever for any work done to their trucks – we can!

A quality truck can make a game-changing difference for your business. That’s why buying the right garbage truck is such an important decision. Make sure that you are not buying “someone else’s problem” or a tired “end-of-life” used truck with just new paint. And remember, at Trucks & Parts, we inspect and document every one of our trucks, so that you can know what work it needs, or what was done to it and see the repair value we added.

For more information on how we can help with all your garbage truck needs, reach out to us today.