Whether you’re a long-hauler who typically stays on the road for days at a time or if you use your truck locally or on short distances, it’s always best to inspect your purchase before making the transaction, especially when you’re planning to purchase a used semi truck. Even for big brands like a heavy-duty Peterbilt semi truck for sale, you need to consult a professional mechanic or create a checklist to come up with a smart decision.
Brand New vs Used Semi Truck
If you have the option to buy a semi truck, would you buy a new one or a second-hand rig?
The answer would be different for each person, but many would most likely choose a used semi truck, especially if they are on a budget. This is a more economical choice for those who are just starting with their business. Brand new semi trucks tend to be expensive and you would need to save a bigger amount, which could take longer than what you like. You can even buy two or three used semi trucks for the price of one brand new rig.
Moreover, you also have a better chance of getting a used semi truck with better mileage. Typically, older trucks have higher mileage than newer models since they are built to last longer on the road.
You may even have more choices when you choose to buy a used rig.
Trucks are among the things in the world that depreciate over time. So, even if you buy a $100,000 brand new semi truck, it would still end up selling for $30,000 to $40,000 in a few years’ time even when it’s still in pristine condition. When you buy a used truck, you won’t have to worry about that anymore, and instead, you’ll be happy to use your rig until it eventually stops running altogether.
Of course, there are a few disadvantages when you buy a used semi truck, such as its condition. That is why it’s essential to inspect the rig first before you decide if you’re buying it or not.
What to Look for When Buying a Second-hand Truck
So, you’ve set your mind that you’re getting a used semi truck since it’s what fits your budget best. But, how do you ensure that the rig is worth the deal?
Here are three essential things you should look for when buying a used semi truck:
One thing you should always check is the truck’s outer body. Make sure there are no rusts, especially on the doors. Typically, rusts indicate that the owner is not taking great care of it and it hasn’t been maintained for quite a while or that the truck had been around for quite some time, so it doesn’t have much left to its lifespan. Plus, rust on the exterior may also mean rust under the hood.
You should also check for dents and scratches and then assess if the damages are superficial or they indicate something worse. For example, the dent might have come from a collision, which could mean the damage is not just on the exterior of the truck.
Checking for damage, even the tiniest dents, and scratches can also help you gauge how much you’ll likely need to repair the truck and bring it back to tip-top shape.
Besides the exterior, be sure you look inside as well. If you can, check the mechanical features such as the axle, the brake pads, wheels, and more.
Under the Hood
After checking the exterior, it’s time to check out how things are under the hood.
The truck’s engine can tell a lot about the truck. What you’re looking for is something that does not have any damages, such as a leak. If there are some issues, they should be something that can be repaired easily and would not require expensive fixes. Replacements of some parts, both the exterior and the engine, will be inevitable, so assess it properly to have an idea of how much the repair costs will be.
It’s also best to test the truck’s engine. Turn it on and let the engine run for a while until it gets warm. You’ll want to find no smoke coming from the exhaust. But, if there is and it’s white or blue, it signifies that the engine is burning oil, which is definitely not a good sign.
Besides looking, you should also listen closely to the truck. If you hear some knocking coming from the engine, you’ll want to take a closer look at the engine.
While you’re checking under the hood, make sure that you also check the oil. Locate the dipstick and take it out so you can wipe it clean, then return it back to the tube so you can check the level of the oil. There is an indicator on the dipstick and if the oil is below the indicator, you’ll need more oil.
But more than that, you should check the color of the oil. New oil is a light clear fluid, which will darken over time. Once the oil is black, it means that it should be changed along with the oil filter. If the oil has a milky, light brown color, it may indicate a coolant leak.
Besides checking the oil itself, make sure you check the change oil schedule of the truck. Be sure that it’s following the schedule. Otherwise, you’ll want to stop and look for another truck.
Planning for the Purchase
After a thorough investigation of the truck, you can have it professionally checked for more inspection, which may cost you, but it would be nothing compared to buying a used truck with tons of issues that require costly repairs. You’ll definitely want to do this if you don’t want to exceed your budget on repairs.
Lastly, be sure that you check the reason why the truck is being sold and whether it has been in an accident before. Even if it’s a used semi truck, it’s still a big investment, so you’ll want to guarantee you get the best value for your money.
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