Many school districts only keep buses in their fleet for so many years before they sell the bus. They often sell the bus regardless of the state or condition of the bus if it has reached the set number of years they keep buses in their fleet. When looking to pick up a pre-owned school bus, you need to do a thorough inspection.
#1 Look at the Maintenance Records
School buses are generally owned by school districts, bus companies, or churches. All these organizations usually keep very detailed maintenance and repair records. They keep detailed records so they can keep up with all the vehicles in their fleet and to meet insurance requirements as well as regulations for vehicles that are used for the transportation of individuals.
As you look at the service records, make sure regular service was carried out. Look at the repairs that were done, and keep an eye out for troubling issues, such as repairs that had to be repeated too often.
#2 Pay Attention to the Mileage
Start by finding out how many miles the bus has on it. Keep in mind that buses are designed to be high-mileage vehicles. After you look at the mileage, check and see how the bus's drive train has held up. Drive trains can be expensive to replace, so unless you are getting a good deal on the bus, it makes sense to purchase a bus with a well taken care of drive train.
#3 Check the Interior Body
It is time to check the inside of the bus. How does the floor feel? Some older school buses have wood floors; make sure the wood is not rotting. Open and close all the windows; do they work? Then, examine the seats. School bus seats are strong and can often last for a long time; any damage should be patched. Check the dash and make sure that it is not damaged. Turn on the lights and stop sign to see if they work. Consider what you want the bus for and what conditions you are willing to tolerate.
#4 Check the Exterior Body
Next, look at the body of the bus. Do you see any rust on the frame of the bus? Rust is destructive, so if the rust is extensive, you may want to pass on the bus. Then look for signs of a new paint job. If you see new paint, find out why it was applied. Was the entire bus repainted to make it look good? Or was a panel repainted because the bus has been in an accident?
#5 Test Drive the Bus
Finally, just like when buying any vehicle, you should take the bus for a test drive. When you take the bus for a test drive, be sure to test all the lights and signals. Check the heating and cooling system to see how they work. Pay attention to how the bus accelerates and stops. Make sure the steering is smooth, not shaky, which could be a drive train issue. Be vigilant about anything that doesn't sound or feel right.
When purchasing a pre-owned school bus, pay attention to the condition of the bus inside and out, and ask to look at the maintenance records. Figure out how much work you will need to put into the bus to get it to the state that you need and use that information to determine if the price of the bus is fair based on the conditions you observed during your inspection. For more information, reach out to companies like Sawyers Bus Sales.