Red truck moving on a highway

20 Things To Check Before Buying Used Semi Truck

The truck tire can tell you the history of the truck. If the tire was placed in moisture ground that means that the rest of the truck can be exposed to corrosion.

8. Be Sure That all Truck Tires are Changed in The Same Time

If the previous owner cared about the condition of the truck then you will notice that the tires are changed in the same time. At least most of the truck tires need to be changed at the same time because they are all running the same mileage.

The spare tires can be an exception to this rule.

9. Check the Tires if They are From the Same Manufacturer

Another thing that needs to be considered and checked is the tire manufacturer. Having tires that are from the same manufacturer is one way to see that the owner of the used semi truck was careful enough to give the same performance on every part of the truck.

20 Things To Check Before Buying Used Semi Truck

Every type of tires has different specifications. Some tires have a better connection with the road other tires are good for one temperature or season. Having the same type of tires gives same performance on the truck across his length.

10. Check the Engine

Checking the engine is must do on your list, just pull the hood and check if there is any sigh of leaks. The leaks don’t have to point a major and unfixable problem but still it means that you need to visit a repair shop and spend few bucks more to fix the problem.

  • Start the engine to run for 5-10 minutes and listen carefully for strange noise
  • Look closely for smoke – if the smoke coming from the exhaust means that might be a sign of burning oil

20 Things To Check Before Buying Used Semi Truck

A close look on the engine can show you how the engine was maintained and these signs are pointing a used semi truck that was forced beyond the limits and the safety regulations.

  • Dirt
  • Corrosion
  • Bad Cables
  • Moisture

11. Perform a Test Drive

As a professional ORT truck driver, you know that the practice can reveal defects that were hidden from your visual impression. When you are buying a new car you want to test drive it and I am talking about a new car.

If we test drive a new car then we should triple test drive a used semi truck. Feeling the vehicle how realistically performs will give you a wider picture of the truck performance.

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Drive it for a while to feel the power of the machine and in that way, you will see how that used semi truck is performing on different terrain incline. You are buying used semi truck that needs to safely transport goods across the state no matter if the truck is driving trough the most dangerous highway running true a straight highway.

12. Check the Oil

First I want to point the importance of the oil and remind you how important is to check the oil before you buy used semi truck.

  • The oil makes the parts of the engine move without interruption and in that way it allows full power of the engine
  • It has cleaning qualities and protects the engine
  • It improves the fuel economy

20 Things To Check Before Buying Used Semi Truck

So why is so important to buy a used semi truck that had an oil change on a regular basis?

  • The engine oil has a limited life and in a case when the oil is overused it becomes contaminated with metal traces and dirt.
  • The density is higher and has opposite effect from lubricating the parts
  • The truck is becoming less powerful

13. Check the Brakes

What is a truck without brakes? I would say a beast out of a cage in the middle of a crowd. 80% of the trucks have drum brakes and the problem with these truck brakes can be corrosion which can increase the risk of a crash.

20 Things To Check Before Buying Used Semi Truck

Because we are talking about a used semi truck which means that the truck was few years in service I have to mention that NHTSA’s require from the owners that have trucks older than 7 years to:

  • Keep close look on the brake system for any signs of corrosion
  • Perform regular professional inspections for loss of brake fluid

That is why you need to check the brakes visually by yourself for noticeable problems and before you pull the wallet from your pocket take that used semi truck to a professional service center to remove the wheels and check the entire brake system for defects.

14. Check the Lights

Truck lights also need to be checked because you know that the standard lights need to be in function when you turn the key on. Start the used semi truck and step out of the truck. Walk around the truck checking every single truck light that is required by Federal Safety Regulations.


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If the truck has additional lights means that the previous owner made some customization on the truck and just to have in mind those lights don’t have to be in function because they are not required by the federal rules and regulations.

15. Check the Accident Status

In case to forget to put this on your list I am here to remind you to perform accident report by Carfax search on the used semi truck to check the accident history of the truck. If the truck was part of the accident you will be able to see the caused damage.

20 Things To Check Before Buying Used Semi Truck

When we are talking about the class 8 trucks, It is always better to buy new, but when you decide to buy used semi truck be sure that it wasn’t part of some accident or at least, not a major one.

There’s always a possibility that there some hidden defects may occur after few months.

16. Ask for Maintenance Records

Maintenance records are like birthday pictures of your life. The truck supposed to be taken to the professional service for periodical checkups and on every visit the condition of the truck is recorded in the maintenance logs.

20 Things To Check Before Buying Used Semi Truck

Ask for the maintenance records of the used semi truck that you intend to buy BUT… be sure that those records are valid and match the used semi truck that you want to buy.



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