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Buying a Semi-Truck in 2021

Did you know that the trucking industry is set to grow by 21% over the next 10 years? If you’re looking into buying a semi-truck to get into the business, there’s no time like the present. 

Whether you’re just getting into the industry or are looking to buy your first semi-truck, you need the right knowledge and attitude to find the right one for you. Below are a few important tips that can help you decide.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Semi-Truck

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty tips, it’s important to note that there are a few considerations you should make before you start your search. Following these considerations can help narrow down your search and help you avoid a lot of unnecessary stress.

New or Used?

The first decision you need to make is whether to buy a new or used semi-truck. Take into consideration how much you have to spend, the monthly payments you’re comfortable making, and the risk you’re willing to take on with potential repairs.

New trucks certainly have their perks. They’re covered by a warranty, they’re extremely clean, and they generally won’t need repairs for a while. However, used trucks can be nearly as dependable, cost a lot less, and usually have lower monthly payments.

Day Cab or Sleeper?

The type of job you’re going to do will help you determine whether a day cab or a sleeper will be necessary. If you only take short trips and are able to go home every night, a day cab should work fine.

If you take longer trips where you’re frequently away from home overnight, you may want to opt for a sleeper. 

Manual or Auto Transmission?

Many drivers have strong opinions on their preference regarding manual or automatic transmissions. Automatic transmissions tend to be more efficient overall, though some drivers still prefer the act of manually changing gears.

You’re going to be stuck with whichever one you choose for a while, so make sure you’re happy with the choice.

Do You Have Any Makes/Models in Mind?

Ask any owner-operator if they have a preference when it comes to the make and model of truck and you’ll probably get an earful. A lot of truck drivers swear by a certain make and model and refuse to buy anything else.

As you do your research, pay attention to what other owner-operators have to say. Their experience may prove valuable when buying a semi-truck.

Are There Any Specifics?

Another way to narrow down your search is to determine which specific features you’re looking for. Do you want a truck that handles easily? Is there a specific threshold when it comes to miles per gallon?

If you’re able to find an affordable option that has everything you’re looking for – great! But, keep in mind that you may have to make a few concessions.

6 Tips to Follow When Shopping for a Big Rig

After taking the preceding questions under consideration, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for. Read on to find out 6 tips to help you choose the right rig.

Perform a History Check

History checks won’t matter if you’re shopping for a new semi, but if you’re looking at a used one, this is one of the most important things you can do. A history check will provide you with an idea of the condition of the truck you have in mind. 

You want to take a particularly close look at the truck’s history of maintenance, accident history, oil changes, and any upgrades that have been made. 

Last but not least, ask the seller why they’re selling the truck. If there’s anything wrong with the truck, or if it’s clear that it has needed significant maintenance and repairs throughout its life, you might want to look elsewhere.

Research the Engine Model

When you’re looking at a truck, whether new or used, you’ll want to know the engine make and model so that you can do some research yourself. Some engines have a history of issues or are known to wear faster than others.

It can help to do a little preliminary research on the best engine models available on the market before you decide to buy.

Look at the Engine

This goes without saying if you’re interested in a used truck, but it’s a good idea to try it out with new ones, too. Start the engine and let it idle for a minute or longer. Notice how the engine looks and sounds while it runs.

Listen closely for any squeals, rattles, thumps, or if the engine produces a lot of white or black smoke while running, it may not be in the best condition. 

Check the Mileage

Semi-Truck engines are built to run for a whopping 1 million miles before they should be replaced. If the truck you’re looking at is nearing the end of its engine’s life, this isn’t always a bad thing. 

If the truck you want to buy has a significant amount of miles on it, you may need to plan ahead for major engine maintenance, if not a replacement.

Look into Lending Criteria

If you plan on financing a semi-truck, you will want to know the lending criteria before you move ahead with a purchase. Depending on the make, model, price, and a few other factors, the truck itself may not qualify for the financing options you have available.

Closely Inspect the Cabin

You’re going to be spending a lot of time in the cabin of your truck. Check out the look and feel of the seats, see how you fit in the sleeping compartment (if applicable), and test the stereo.

There’s Good Money in Trucking

Buying a semi-truck is a lot like buying a car. It needs to be affordable, durable, and comfortable. Once you’ve identified and purchased the right rig, you’ll be ready to get started finding trucking jobs.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get started on your new trucking career, contact us today. 

Michael Brooks

Michael Brooks has been in the Transportation Industry for over 16 years. He is passionate about helping drivers, and assisting others to grow personality and professionally. It’s not just a business for Michael, he believes in family and building lasting relationships. He has done everything from dispatching to driving over the road, and operations management.
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