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It's Not Just Mileage That Matters When Buying A Used Semi-Truck

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The search for a used commercial truck often hinges on a number of factors, but mileage is probably one of the most commonly considered variables that buyers look at before they buy. The allure of having a low-mileage truck is often so tantalizing that other aspects of the truck are left unnoticed or glossed over. In other words, there's more to choosing the right truck than just looking at its odometer reading.

To get the full picture, it's important to look at these five areas when shopping for your next used truck:

Engine Hours

Always on the move, semi-trucks can rack up impressive amounts of mileage. But a typical semi-truck can also spend a good portion of its life idling in one spot, whether it involves waiting to load or unload cargo, running accessories on the truck without an APU or simply idling while stuck in traffic. Needless to say, frequent idling causes increased wear and tear on the truck.

It's impossible to know how much time a truck has spent idling just by looking at its mileage. This is why most trucks come with an engine hour meter in addition to the traditional odometer. Just as the odometer records mileage, the engine hour meter logs the amount of time the engine has spent in operation. Going by engine hours in addition to actual miles driven can be helpful when picking out a used semi-truck.

Frame Condition

Checking your chosen truck's mileage won't do you much good when faced with a bad frame. Some of the hallmarks of a bad frame include copious amounts of rust and corrosion on the frame itself. Other types of structural damage, including hairline cracks or failed welds, can also signal a potentially bad purchase.

It's a good idea to carefully go over the frame of your semi-truck purchase prior to signing on the dotted line. You can do this yourself if you know what you're looking for or you can enlist a professional to check out your truck before you buy.

Interior Wear and Tear

The state of a used semi-truck's interior not only says a lot about the previous owner, but it also says plenty about the overall condition of the truck. For instance, an interior with plenty of rips, tears, missing parts or other deformities may reflect a truck that's not in the best of running conditions. Likewise, an impeccably clean truck is likely to stay that way given enough attention from both previous and present owners.

Service Records

When it comes to factors that can make or break a semi-truck purchase, the availability of solid and comprehensive service records is a pretty big one to consider. Having access to those records can help separate the wheat from the chaff, as buyers can track routine maintenance, most forms of personal modifications, and breakdowns. Buyers can also take a pass on trucks with an incomplete service history.

Previous Ownership

Knowing who previously owned your potential purchase and how it was used in its past life can give you a leg-up when looking for a used semi-truck. Imagine there are two trucks with identical specs and appearance, but one was used as a short-haul truck with relatively short distances while the other was used exclusively for long hauls. Even if both trucks somehow have the same mileage, the former is more likely to live a pampered life and experience less overall wear and tear than the latter.

Truck treatment also varies among different trucking fleets. Some fleets take great pains to avoid abusing their trucks, while others tend to push their trucks to the brink over the course of their lives. It all depends on how well the last owner treated the truck before it wound up on the dealer lot.

Contact a dealer like Arrow Truck Sales as you look into used trucks.