What to Look for When Buying a Used Semi-Truck

Investing in a used semi-truck is a great way to expand your fleet on a budget. Sifting through truck models and dealerships can be a lot if you don’t prepare correctly. Doing some research can ensure you make the most of your investment without breaking the bank. Taking the time to explore nearby dealerships, recent safety innovations and more will help you succeed.

When getting started, try to make a list of what you need in a truck and what your business goals are. Good research helps you get the best vehicle for your operation. Remember, going to buy a used semi-truck takes time and dedication — you want to ensure you’ve got your essential wants while purchasing a quality vehicle. 

1. Age and Mileage

Start by checking out the truck’s age and mileage — they’re essential for estimating how long your vehicle will last. While lower age and mileage can mean longer life spans, the newer the used vehicle, the more expensive it will be. Higher mileage may equate to a lower price, but they might mean more wear and tear on components. Weigh your budget with the truck’s expected life span to help you find a middle ground that works for you.

If your business relies on frequent driving, getting a higher-mileage truck may mean buying a new one sooner. On the other hand, a semi with decent mileage will be more expensive but will have a longer life expectancy. Choose a truck that fits your needs without exceeding your budget or cutting reliability.

2. Warranty

Always review available warranty options. A good warranty can help you cover unexpected issues, protecting your investment. Some dealerships and sellers will offer you semi-truck warranties when you buy from them, so look for those as well. Your semi-truck might also have part of the original warranty intact, giving you even more protection.

Review the warranty carefully and make sure you stay compliant so it isn’t voided. You’ll also want to look for component coverage and special stipulations to avoid surprises after the sale. Warranties give you a safety net after making an important purchase, so go over them carefully. 

3. Truck History

When getting any vehicle, you should always ask for its history in case it has a record of issues. Carriers are required to keep maintenance records and the dealer should have a copy of these. Going over maintenance records lets you see the truck’s care — the more regular maintenance you see, the better the truck’s condition. However, repeat maintenance might mean the truck has lots of problems. If you see lots of maintenance and a history of repeat issues, the truck might cost you more than it’s worth. Remember to also look at accident history. Severe accidents may have left the truck with significant problems that you’ll end up paying for.

Getting the entire semi-truck history lets you know what to watch and shows you how the truck will perform. Always use the truck history to help you make the best decision for your company.

4. Comfort

Comfort is easy to overlook if you’re not always in the driver’s seat. Consider investing in trucks with driver comfort enhancement features to help your drivers on the road.

Truck drivers work long hours in heavy-vibration environments. These conditions can cause long-term issues like lower back pain for truckers. Vehicles with vibration-reduction measures and comfortable cushions can help reduce pain for drivers. With comfort-focused features, you can help improve retention rates — happy drivers will want to stay at your company. Additionally, reducing driver pain will keep them alert since chronic pain won’t distract them. Making the drive better for drivers can improve their happiness and productivity, benefitting your operation. 

5. Safety

Safety is critical for keeping your operation running smoothly and protecting your drivers. When you’re checking out semi-trucks, go over all the safety features. Look at the vehicle history and visually inspect it for signs of damage, wear or rust. Ask to take the vehicle on a test drive and get a feel for the handling, tires and braking system. Remember to inspect the antilock braking systems, electronic stability control and collision avoidance systems. You want all safety systems and lights to be up-to-date before buying used.

You might want to have the semi-truck inspected by an experienced third party for another opinion on the vehicle’s safety condition. Safety is non-negotiable when working with semi-trucks — review the vehicle carefully to ensure driver protection on the road. 

6. Cost

Keep available financing options in mind as well to help you budget effectively. Explore financing and leasing options to reduce upfront truck costs. Buying a used semi-truck is expensive — with some help, you can spread the costs out without sacrificing truck quality.

Additionally, take the time to calculate the total cost of ownership. Take the sale price and ongoing expenses into account so you develop an accurate budget. Fuel, maintenance, insurance and potential repairs for your semi-truck all influence long-term costs. While a truck may seem cost-effective initially, including these extra expenses provides a better look at truck cost. Keep your short-term and long-term budget in mind when looking for a used vehicle to help you make the right choice.

7. Dealership Reputation

Dealership reputation should also play into your decision. Look at the dealership’s reviews to understand their service and products. A good dealership will have lots of reviews that reflect their customer service and vehicle quality. See if reviews mention these aspects and note any repeat compliments or points customers make. A dealership’s reputation can tell you if they’re the best place to buy a used semi-truck.

You should also contact your used semi-truck dealership to learn about their truck care. Ask them about their truck inspections and see if they provide in-depth information on the trucks they sell. A trustworthy dealership will do good research on their stock, and they’ll give you any relevant information. Choosing the right dealership ensures you get a quality truck and excellent support.

Explore Used Semi-Trucks at Inland Truck & Equipment

If you’re looking for your next semi-truck, explore the large selection of new and used trucks at Inland. With a reputation for quality and performance, Inland Kenworth provides road-ready vehicles and an extensive range of genuine parts. Our commitment to customer service ensures you get the support your operation needs. With expert semi-truck service and tailored leasing options, we’ve got a trucking solution for you.

 Whether you want a new addition to your fleet or a cost-effective used option, Inland Kenworth has a semi-truck that fits your operation. Check out our truck selection online or locate a dealership near you to get started today!