If you want to start a career as a trucker or if you’re adding trucks to your business, you’ll need to buy the right semi-truck from the job. The good news is, you have a lot of options available to you—but this overwhelming multitude of options can also be intimidating.
How can you be sure you’re getting the right truck?
Outline Your Goals
First, take the time to outline your goals. For starters, why are you buying this semi-truck; is this going to be part of a fleet for your business, or is this a single semi-truck for your personal use? Either way, you’ll have to consider goals like:
- Financial impact. How much is this vehicle going to cost you? Are you going to finance it or pay for it outright? If you’re financing, what kind of terms are you able to get?
- Durability/longevity. How long do you need this truck to last? Are you looking to get several years out of it?
- Form and function. What is this semi-truck capable of? Will it be able to do everything you need it to?
- How easy or comfortable will it be to drive?
Buying a Semi-Truck: New vs. Used
One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want to buy a semi-truck new or used.
Buying new offers a handful of advantages. Notably, new vehicles tend to be in much better condition, and they’ll have a longer lifespan as well. You can also enjoy the image of having a brand-new semi-truck and verify that it will be taken care of properly.
But buying used is also advantageous. You’ll usually score a much better deal without sacrificing much in terms of functionality. Some used semi-trucks run just as well and last just as long as their new counterparts.
Choosing the Right Type of Semi-Truck
There are a lot of semi-trucks out there, and not all of them are going to suit your needs. For example, if you’re just hauling general freight, you’re not going to need a double frame. If you’re going to gross more than 80,000 pounds, you might need a much more powerful engine—but if you’re hauling less than this, you might not have to worry about it.
Some people are tempted to buy the biggest, most powerful truck they can; this way, they can handle anything. But in many cases, all the extra features are a waste of money unless you’re putting them to good use. Look to buy the minimum semi-truck necessary to comfortably serve your needs. Your truck doesn’t need to be incredibly versatile; it just needs to get the job done.
Picking the Platform
At this point, you’ll need to figure out where you want to buy. If you’re thinking of buying used, you’ll have even more options to consider. For example, do you want to buy from a dealership? If so, you might have a seller willing to take greater accountability, but you might end up paying more. You could also buy from an individual seller to score a better deal—but you might end up with a less reliable vehicle. You should also consider buying from a trucking company, since they’ll have ample stock and will understand the importance of appropriately analyzing a truck’s condition.
While you’re at it, see if you can get some kind of warranty or guarantee of the truck’s condition, especially if you’re buying used. You don’t want to end up with a lemon.
Test and Inspect
Before you finalize the purchase, it’s important to test and inspect the vehicle. Find a mechanic you trust or do the work yourself; take the semi-truck out on the road, look at the interior and exterior, and check the records to verify its maintenance history. It’s okay for a truck to have flaws, but you need to familiarize yourself with those flaws in advance before you’re ready to move forward with a purchase.
Protect Your Investment
Buying a semi-truck is a major investment, and you’ll want to make sure to protect it. Once you own the semi-truck, make sure you have it inspected and serviced on a regular basis. This way, you’ll keep the vehicle running smoothly, and you’ll be able to catch small problems before they escalate into major problems. You can extend the lifespan of the vehicle for many years this way and simultaneously save yourself a lot of money.
Buying a semi-truck is a major decision, no matter how you look at it or what you’re going to use the truck for. But with the right strategy and a bit of extra research, you can make the decision much easier. Take your time and find the perfect fit for your needs.