Amy's Amazing Auto Service and Repair Blog

Selecting a Used Commercial Semi-Trailer Truck

by Derek Davidson

There are numerous trucks in the market to consider for purchase if you are planning on advancing transportation aspects in your business. The semi-trailer truck is one of the beneficial configurations for both small and medium-sized companies. Basically, this truck consists of a tractor unit to power the vehicle, and you can attach one or more trailers to carry the freight. You can select a new or used semi-trailer truck, but the latter is more advantageous for businesses with limited financial resources. Here are the main aspects to evaluate before buying a suitable used commercial semi-trailer truck.

Assess the Engine

The engine is the most critical module in the truck, so you should examine it thoroughly before considering the vehicle for purchase. If the engine fails prematurely, you will incur losses since this is not a component that you can replace easily. You should visually assess the engine for any anomalies that could affect functionalities. For example, fluid leaks and visible repair points are indicators of poor maintenance practices.

Start up the truck engine and allow the module to run a little. A well-functioning engine should not allow emission of smoke from the exhaust system. Therefore, if you notice whitish or bluish smoke, reject that truck because the engine is burning the oil. It is also prudent to confirm that the semi-trailer truck does not violate emission standards. Finally, do not accept an engine that produces knocking sounds because this indicates imminent failure.


You should evaluate the capacity of the semi-trailer truck to ensure that the vehicle will meet your commercial requirements. There are different types of ratings that are important to compare during this step. However, the most important one is probably the gross vehicle weight rating. Basically, this refers to the maximum weight or mass that the entire semi-trailer truck rig can handle. This includes the weight of the driver, passenger, tractor, the trailer and all freight in the vehicle. The comprehensive weight rating will help identify the ideal truck, depending on potential haulage needs and driving practices.

Maintenance Aspects

You should request for complete maintenance and repair records of the semi-trailer truck. This will help in determining whether major repairs that could affect long-term operations have been performed. For example, an overhauled engine in a truck that experienced a major accident is not suitable for commercial operations. You should also ensure that different fluids were changed frequently, and make certain that there are no recurring problems in the records. Finally, it is prudent to engage a mechanic for pre-purchase inspection.

Keep these considerations in mind when attending truck sales.