Originally Posted by 1olfart
ASSUME you found a '96 T444E. What would you look for when checking out the last 9yr. service records?
(1) Regular oil changes. Includes transmission fluid once every few years.
(2) Belts - replaced at any point?
(3) Filters - oil filters are typically replaced at every oil change. Same goes for fuel filters. Air filter - as needed.
(4) Brakes - last replacement and/or inspection.
(5) Tires - pressure and tread depth.
(6) Any major work done recently? Injectors replaced? Major problems diagnosed and fixed (or determined "Not worth repair"?)
(7) DVIR's (Daily Vehicle Inspection Reports), filled out by the drivers. Perhaps *THE BEST* indicator of not only vehicle maintenance, but also how well the driver cared for the equipment. DVIR's filled out daily (with issues documented) indicate a driver that had a tendency to take good care of their equipment, watched for problems, reported issues and saw to it they were fixed, also likely to watch the gauges and not allow it to run hot or low of oil.
Follow up on DVIR's - how many different drivers drove this vehicle? One driver over the course of many years indicates it was very likely well maintained, the driver "learned" the bus and could sense when something wasn't right. Multiple drivers would not be a deal breaker for me, but it could indicate the vehicle might have been a spare, to be issued to whoever needed it that day.
(9) All this is in addition to an actual physical inspection of the bus with your own eyes. At the very least, you'll want to check the oil level, coolant level, transmission fluid level, steering fluid level, brake fluid level (if equipped with hydraulic brakes), belts, coolant hoses (both radiator and heater hoses), tire pressure, tread depth, and condition (full size tires may run 100 PSI, and even cutaway style buses may run 60 PSI or more), brake lining thickness (if visible), air pressure system (if equipped with air brakes), checking underneath the body for rust, check the suspension for loose, missing, broken items, check steering for "play" and ease of movement (it should not bind, or take much effort to turn). Air systems (if equipped) should run between 90-120 PSI, typically turning on around 90, and off around 120.