Tips for Buying A Used Semi-Truck

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As an independent owner-operator, you certainly understand the importance of selecting the perfect semi-truck for your business. After all, the semi-truck that you choose will decide whether your business succeeds or fails. This is why you should always take as much time you need to find the truck that fits your business model.

Purchasing a used semi-truck can be the better choice because you’ll save a ton of money and still get a quality vehicle that will last you for years if you take proper care of it. Your best strategy when you’re in the market for a rig is to check out several used semi-trucks for sale and make a decision based on a certain set of criteria. To get you started, here are a few tips for buying a used truck:

Know Exactly What You Need

First and foremost, you must understand exactly what type of semi-truck will fit your needs. This can include everything from your preferred manufacturer and size of the engine to the interior and sleeper compartment. You want to know your basic business model and how a specific type of semi-truck we'll fit into the basic goals that you want to achieve.

Get Pre-Approved Financing

No matter what type of vehicle you're purchasing, it's always best to get pre-approved for a loan. This will tell you which used semi-trucks for sale are within your price range and may allow you to purchase a more robust truck than you were planning. It could also give you more leverage during the price negotiation stage. However, never be afraid to entertain a dealer’s financial options. 

Choose Dealer over Private

Although there's nothing wrong with looking for used semi-trucks for sale by a private owner, there are definitely advantages to purchasing from a dealer. You can be confident that the vehicle has been fully checked out, a short warranty may be provided free of charge, and the dealer may be able to offer you better financing options. Buying from a dealer will also give you more peace of mind in the event that something went drastically wrong soon after the purchase was finalized.

Owner-Operator Versus Fleet 

This often comes down to a personal preference, but it's one that you'll need to consider. The advantages of purchasing a semi-truck that was part of a fleet includes access to its precise mechanical history, proof of regular maintenance, and probably the option of direct contact with the driver. On the other hand, a truck that previously belonged to an owner-operator may not have been run so hard during its operation.

Stick Close to Your Budget

Since you're the owner-operator of your business, you must have a good idea of how much you can afford to spend, both as a baseline and as a maximum. When you're searching through used semi-trucks for sale, be sure that you stick to whatever budget you've decided on. It doesn't hurt to have a little wiggle room, but don't get so excited about your purchase that you spend too much.

Check Out the Truck’s VIN

Once you've narrowed down your list of used semi-trucks for sale to one that you may be interested in, run a check on the vehicle's VIN number. This will tell you if the vehicle has been involved in any accidents and give you other pertinent information about its overall history.

Ask for Proof of Maintenance

Previous operators of semi-trucks take the need for maintenance very seriously, especially since a truck can run well for a million miles or more when properly maintained. Always make sure that you ask for proof of maintenance so that you know the truck has been taken care of.

Inquire About Extended Warranty

Extended warranties can be costly, but they can ease the stress of anything going wrong with the vehicle after you purchase it. When you asked about the warranty, go over everything that is included, because major components may not be covered, or may only be covered at an extreme expense.

Pay Attention to Red Flags

Used semi-trucks for sale are typically in very good condition, especially if they've been properly maintained and cared for throughout their operation. Just be sure that you look for any red flags, such as worn-out suspension, a sizable amount of rust, anything else that might require repair or maintenance in the near future.

Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

Once you've shopped around through a variety of used semi-trucks for sale and finally made your decision regarding which one you want to purchase, never be afraid to walk away if something doesn't seem right. If you're unable to obtain a full history of the truck, the maintenance schedule seems to be off, or you decide that the deal isn't good enough, you should definitely regroup and start looking again.