Five Things You Need To Know About Buying A Used Semi-Truck

If the thought of the open highway is attractive to you and you have some truck driving experience, you may be considering purchasing a used semi-truck and going into business for yourself. This can be an excellent idea for people with an adventurous spirit who love to be on the move. Becoming an independent owner-operator is a huge lifestyle commitment as well as a significant financial obligation, so be sure to optimize your chances for success by buying the best possible used semi. Following are five strategies for getting the most out of your available budget. 

Look at the Mileage

Semi-trucks are built for traveling long distances on a constant basis, so their engines can function well up to around a million miles. However, if you decide to purchase a rig with over 700,000 miles on it, you might want to play it safe and have the engine overhauled as a precaution -- most people who buy rigs with high mileage on them plan on overhauling the engines anyway in order to make them last longer, so it might be to your advantage to do so before various components begin to wear out. 

Look at the Maintenance Records 

Carefully inspecting the maintenance records before making a financial commitment to purchasing a used semi-truck will provide an excellent idea of the condition of the rig, allowing you to make a more informed decision. Look for patterns in the maintenance record -- for instance, if the radiator has been worked on several times over the course of the past couple of years, it's probably time to have the radiator replaced. Regular oil changes are a sign that the rig has been well cared for. Be sure to factor in the cost of any repairs if you decide to purchase the rig. 

Look at the Rig's Exterior

Inspect the exterior of any truck you are considering buying for surface rust and corrosion. Although minimal amounts of surface rust may be a simple cosmetic detail that's quickly and easily fixed, rust can also be a sign of something more insidious -- structural rust in places that aren't easy to see. Structural rust can mean that the frame is in the process of corroding, and this may result in significant repair bills at some point in the future. It's probably best to pass on any truck that shows significant signs of structural rust. 

Verify the Availability of Replacement Parts 

Although many older trucks make excellent investments, it's important to make certain that you can get replacement parts for them. Check with several reputable truck part suppliers to make certain that parts are stocked for the specific make and model of big rig that you are buying. If finding replacement parts for the truck you're considering seems overly challenging, move on to other options. The last thing you need at the start of your career as an independent owner-operator is to be put out of business because you can't get parts for a semi that has broken down. 

Buy From a Reputable Dealer 

Although it's possible to find good deals on semi-trucks through private two-party sales, going through a reputable dealer involves safeguards not found in private-party sales. Reputable dealers have a reputation to uphold and therefore aren't likely to misrepresent the rigs that they're selling. You also have a better chance of working out some sort of recourse in the event that something unforeseen goes wrong with the rig after it's been purchased.

For more information on how to get the best value for your money when buying a used semi-truck, don't hesitate to call your local dealer specializing in semi-truck sales at your earliest convenience.