As an owner-operator truck driver, the semi truck you invest in will pretty much be your livelihood. Not only will this vehicle become the platform by which you make a living, this truck will be your home when you are far away from home. Because the truck itself serves such a crucial role in your business efforts, it is imperative that you know what you are doing when you shop for a used rig. Making hasty decisions about buying a used semi truck could land you with not just a burden, but a threat to the sustainability of your business. There are a few things you need to do before handing over your money for a used semi.
Take a good look at the truck's maintenance logs.
Any semi you plan to purchase used could come along with minor issues. However, it is always best if you know exactly what the truck and its motor have been through in the past to get a good idea of how much life the vehicle has left. Ask the seller for maintenance logs, which are typically kept by commercial trucking industries and owner-operators alike. These maintenance logs will give you a glimpse at the vehicle's history that can prove to be invaluable as a buyer.
Look over the engine with a discerning eye.
What is beneath the hood of a semi truck can tell you a great deal about it's life and how well it has been maintained through the years. You should be looking for:
- Overall cleanliness of the motor. - A good clean motor beneath the hood of a semi truck is a good indicator that the vehicle has been well maintained.
- Signs of leaks. - Take a look around the motor for signs of leaks. Whether it is white residue around the radiator or apparent fuel or oil discharge, leaks of any kind are a sign of the engine's age.
- Deteriorating hoses and rubber components. - Gently squeeze and touch rubber hoses and components to make sure they are flexible and not dry or brittle. Deteriorating rubber components can mean a lot of extra mechanical work for you down the road.
Step up in the cab and spend some time there.
The cab of a semi truck as an owner-operator truck driver is where you will be spending a great deal of your time. Do, step up inside the cab of any semi you are considering buying and spend some time there. make sure the seat is comfortable enough for long hours of travel. If you need a semi with an extended sleeper, don't be shy about climbing in the sleeper and testing it out.