A Basic Guide To Buying a Used Semi

The price of a used tractor (Freightliner, Mack, Peterbilt etc) can as high as $100,000 plus according to CostOwl. An expenditure that large should be based on an informed decision. Don’t spend money until you are informed.

Know The Specs

Whether you are considering any used freightliner trucks kansas city mo. or any other used truck anywhere else in the world you need to know the truck’s specs. Spec’ing a truck is about determining if it is adequate for the loads you will be hauling. Truck spec’ing is a specialized skill and there are professionals who offer spec’ing services. Getting the wrong truck for a great price is not a bargain.

Searching For a Truck

All sources consulted for this article agree that it is best to buy a used semi from a private individual you know and trust. Online forums can aid in the quest for the right truck. There will be hundreds of trucks listed with the specs that are necessary to finding the ideal semi.


Used trucks can be found at factory dealerships and private used heavy equipment dealers. One experienced trucker declared, “I prefer dealing with factory dealers”. The advantages of dealing with a factory dealership are that they usually offer some sort of warranty, multiple financing options, and factory dealerships are usually willing to try and rectify any post-purchase issues.

What to Ask

You will want to see the truck’s maintenance records. The maintenance records will contain oil change history. Knowing what has been replaced and when reveals repair bills you may incur. Make sure any paperwork shown is for the truck you are considering.

Research the history of the engine type that is in the truck to learn if there are recurring issues with that engine. Ask when the engine in the truck was overhauled or underwent a major repair and if a sample of the engine oil had ever been analyzed. Inspect the tire wear, suspension, and drivetrain. Ask if the transmission fluid and oil from the differential have been analyzed. Check out the wiring.

Inspect The Body

An inspection for rust or other body damage should only be done in bright daylight. An absence of surface rust does not equal the absence of rust below the surface. Bubbles in the paint mean that rust is present. Rust can render a semi unsuitable for service.

Beware Planned Obsolescence

Odd as it sounds Smart Trucking reports that some heavy-duty trucks are only built to last for a very few years. To avoid buying one of these throwaways go over a truck thoroughly taking note of the quality of the materials used to build the truck and overall fit and finish. If you have doubts, see how many of that brand and model are being offered for sale online. If you find an unusually high number of that brand for sale at bargain basement prices, then the truck you looked at is probably a throwaway.