If you are getting ready to purchase a used semi, it is easy to get caught up in the looks of all of the shiny chrome, as well as the bells and whistles that the trucks sitting on the lot have to offer. While a good looking truck may be important to you, a truck that is going to last should be a top priority. To make sure that the truck you are considering is worth what it will cost, it is important that you have a complete picture of the health of the vehicle you are considering. One of the first places you will want to start is with the service records. Here are a few things that you will want to look for prior to you driving it off the lot.
What Should The Maintenance Or Service Records Show?
The exact maintenance schedule for any particular truck will vary based on the make, model, and mileage of the truck, as well as the conditions that the truck has previously run under. Trucks that have been run under tougher conditions, such as off the road, or in construction, should have been serviced more often than those that were run under medium-duty conditions over the regular road.
In your service records, you want to look for three to four levels of preventative maintenance that have been performed at regular intervals. You may even see other levels of service depending on who owned the truck prior to it being sold.
The primary service levels include:
A levels of service - these services include greasing the fifth-wheel chassis and platform, changing the oil filter, topping off the fluids, and sampling the engine oil. Since this is routine service, the records should indicate that this has been performed more than any other type of service.
B levels of service - for every two to three times that an A level of service is performed, the maintenance records should indicate a B level of service. This service includes a full oil change, changing out the air filter, cleaning or changing or the fuel filters, as well as greasing all of the joints, suspension and drive-train components. In addition to this, the records should show that the tires, brakes, hoses, transmission fluids, and coolant fluids were all checked.
C levels of service - you should see this full service of the truck performed annually. It should include everything that would normally be done under an A & B level of service, as well as correct any other issues that the truck may have had. This level of service it will usually coincide with the DOT annual inspection of the truck.
D level of service - this will only be seen if the truck has had a major rebuild or a replacement of a major component. You may also see this level of service if the truck has had any type of major upgrade to any of the truck's systems.
After reviewing the records, consider:
- What is due to be replaced in the near future? The answer to this will often depend on the age of the truck you are considering, as well as the mileage.
- Did the dealer perform an analysis of the oil samples from the engine, transmission, and rear end when the truck came in? Although most of these fluids have probably been changed during the preventative servicing done to get the truck ready for sale, any analysis done prior to this change will alert you to any problems these systems may potentially have.
- Have the truck had any engine problems, and if so when?
What Else Should Your Checkup Include?
Even after you have reviewed the service records of the truck, you still want to make a visual inspection of the vehicle for yourself. If you do not have a lot of mechanical knowledge, you may want to consider bringing a knowledgeable mechanic with you when you go to purchase your used semi. They will know exactly what to look for, and will hopefully be able to keep you from purchasing a vehicle that may need repairs in the near future.
Even if you have mechanical knowledge, consider taking a prevention maintenance checklist with you and completing it for the trucking you are thinking about buying. This will ensure that you do not miss any important components during your check.
Performing a full health inspection of the truck that you are considering will let you know what repairs you may be facing in the near future. But importantly, the projected costs of repairs may also give you negotiating power in determining the final cost of what you will pay.
For more information on used semi trucks, consider contacting a professional like those at Arrow Truck Sales.