Buying a semi truck is an investment that every trucker should always prepare for. Oftentimes, you only get one chance, so you have to make sure that the semi truck you buy, whether used or brand new, is the right choice for your needs.
Nevertheless, choosing to buy a used semi truck or a brand new rig is often the first issue that most truckers face in the whole ordeal. Although buying a new truck is definitely the better choice in general, most truckers would rather purchase used trucks for a variety of reasons–one being used semi trucks tend to be cheaper. And if you just know what to check before buying a used one, it’s easy to get a good deal. There is a wide selection of second-hand semis, including big brands like Peterbilt, Freightliner, and used Kenworth semi trucks for sale.
Buying Used Semi Truck Checklist
Before you proceed with any purchase, you’ll always want to have a checklist of things you must do and check. For a trucker buying a second-hand semi truck, it’s even more important to have a checklist that you can follow before putting the money down. With that, here’s a sample checklist:
- How much are you willing to spend on a semi truck? Decide on a price range and make sure it’s within your budget.
- Where do you find an affordable used semi truck? There could be a place in your area that offers such trucks, but you also have to ensure they are a reliable source and have the right credentials to run a business. Or, you can also choose an independent source, maybe a fellow trucker who has upgraded his rig and is getting rid of the old one.
- Take note of the semi truck’s engine model. You can research the model online and through forums. Some engine models are more durable than others, while some are more vulnerable to certain issues. Learning ahead of time what you’re going to face can help you make a decision later on.
- Create a checklist of things you should double-check, such as the history of the truck and its current condition.
- Check for any insurance policies that can cover your semi truck once you purchase one. Know what the requirements are and what the policy covers.
How to Run a History Check
It is essential to check the truck’s quality and the condition it’s currently in, but before diving into the specifics, you first have to run a history check. This means you’ll have to check the reason why it’s being sold to the rig’s maintenance history if it had been repaired before and what issues it faced.
Once you have found potential used semi trucks you can buy, always ask why it’s being sold. Ask the seller the reason to avoid learning of existing machine problems later on when you’ve handed the money over. If there is indeed a problem, it’s a good sign that the seller is honest and tells exactly all the issues you’ll face, which is essential so you can decide whether to purchase it and prepare for the repairs and replacements, if necessary.
Of course, there’s the maintenance history that you need to check, as well as the timeline of its oil change history. The latter is vital to the overall health of the truck’s engine. Oil changes should be consistent throughout the truck’s lifetime. If it doesn’t have any oil changes or are sporadic through the years, be cautious.
Moreover, check if the semi truck had been involved in any kind of accident and if there had been any damages. Knowing this can help you prepare for any troubles down the road or if buying the rig is worth it.
How to Perform Quality Inspection
After asking the seller some standard questions, it’s now time to take a closer look at the truck and under the hood. Here are things you should always check:
- Look outside first and check for any rusts in the truck’s body, especially in the doorframes. If there are rusts, it could be a sign that the rig hasn’t been well-maintained or that it’s pretty old.
- Check for any damages on the body, so be sure to check the truck in broad daylight outdoors to see even the smallest damage.
- Although you know the truck’s oil change history, it’s still best to check the rig’s existing oil situation.
- Besides the mechanical aspect of the truck, be sure to check the tires, which are as important as any part of the truck. Check how many miles have been used on the current set of wheels it has as well as when they are due to be replaced. Even if the truck is in the best condition, the wheels are something you’ll have to replace sooner or later after purchasing the truck.
Checking the Mileage
Checking the mileage is definitely one of the most important things any driver wants to check first before checking any vehicle, used or not.
When checking the mileage, consider how you’ll be using the truck. If you are planning to use it frequently and at greater distances, then you’ll want to choose a used semi-truck with lower mileage. However, not every truck that has higher mileage than other options necessarily means it’s nearing the end of its life. If it’s been well taken care of, you may be able to use them for a longer time.
Again, you’ll want to carefully research the truck’s mileage. Some older models typically have higher mileage than newer brands since they are made to run greater distances without issues.
Planning for the Purchase
Before finalizing your purchase, be sure you know everything there is to know about the truck, including parts that need repairs and replacements, which means you also need to source those as soon as possible to proceed with repairs immediately. Of course, be sure it’s all within your budget, from the semi truck’s price down to the cost of spare parts and fees.
Choosing a second-hand truck may have its disadvantages, but you can still guarantee a great deal.