Buying a used semi-truck is a major purchase, and it can be intimidating. However, the process doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. Whether you want to add another truck to your fleet, or you’re a company driver looking to become an owner, with the right preparation and knowledge, buying an older truck can save you thousands of dollars while providing you with exactly what you need.

Buying a Used Semi-Truck Checklist

Buying a used semi-truck can be an exciting experience. You can save money, and if you buy from a reputable seller, the truck should be in good shape.

But there are some things to look out for when buying a used semi-truck.

Here’s a list of things to check.

Buying A Used Semi Truck ChecklistSource: rbauction

Determine the Budget

When it comes to determining a budget, it’s important to be realistic. You should assess your personal finances and determine how much money you can afford to spend on a used semi-truck. If a truck is too expensive, don’t let emotion get in the way of making an informed decision. It is important to know which are the top-rated trucks, so that you can compare them with the truck you want to buy.

Another thing that many people forget about when looking at the cost of a semi-truck is maintenance costs. The average cost of parts and labor can range anywhere from $1,500-$2,000 per year depending on what kind of work needs done and where you live (i.e., small town vs big city).

Consider Age and Mileage

You need to determine the age and mileage of the truck. That will help you figure out what kind of wear and tear there is on it, and how much it’s worth. Check out these things:

  • The sticker on the windshield that says when it was built
  • The odometer reading (on newer trucks)

The age of a semi-truck can affect its value in different ways. For example, if a truck is newer but has more than 500,000 miles on it, that might mean that the engine needs replacing or another major repair job done soon. That will increase your costs when buying and fixing up your used semi-truck later on down the line!

What To Look For When Buying A Used Semi Truck Consider Age And MileageSource: MHC

Check the Warranty

Make sure the truck has a warranty. A semi-truck with a three-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty is ideal, but anything more than two years is good. Also, look into whether it’s transferable — this means that if you sell your used truck, the next owner will be able to transfer the warranty over to their name.

Interior Features

The interior should be well-maintained. Look for wear on the cushions and fabric, stains on the carpeting, and rust around the door handles. If you’re planning on using this truck to drive long distances every day, make sure that you’re comfortable sitting in it for long periods of time.

Interior FeaturesSource: SelecTrucks

Exterior Features

  • Look at the paint. You want to make sure that it’s not cracked or peeling. If there aren’t any visible dents, check if they’re in places where you can’t see them from a distance, like the bottom of the truck or around the wheel wells.
  • Inspect the tires to make sure that they are in good condition and have plenty of tread on them (about 1/32nd of an inch). Make sure there aren’t any bald spots on either side of each tire and no cracks in them as well.
  • Check out any accidents that may have happened with this truck, as this could affect its value and also how safe it’ll be for you while driving it.
  • Make sure there aren’t any rust spots on your new semi-truck either.
  • Do a general truck pre-trip inspection, to make sure everything is in the best order with the truck.

Do the Research on Previous Owners

One of the best ways to find out if a truck is reliable is by doing research on previous owners. If you can, try to find out why they sold the truck in the first place and what problems they had with it. For example, if one owner said that their transmission went out after only three months, then this would be something that may concern you when considering buying it.

Buying A Used Semi Truck Do The Research On Previous OwnersSource: International Used Trucks

Where to Find a Used Semi-Truck for Sale

You can find a used semi-truck for sale at online auctions, dealerships, or private sellers.

If you choose to buy your truck from an online auction site, make sure that you are comfortable with the seller’s return policy. You should also ask if the seller will help install any additional accessories or modifications that you may want on your new vehicle.

At a dealership, there is more of an assurance that the truck has been inspected and serviced regularly by professionals (although this isn’t always the case). However, you’ll likely have to pay more than what it would cost if you bought it directly from an individual through Craigslist or another classified site.


When you’re buying a used semi-truck, you may be tempted to turn to a dealership instead of an independent seller. Dealerships are everywhere — they are often the first place people think of when they want to buy a semi-truck because there are so many options and financing opportunities available. But dealerships have their drawbacks as well.

They’re expensive: When you buy from a private seller, there’s no middleman taking a cut; all your money goes straight into their pocket. In contrast, even if you get lucky with deep discounts and fair prices at some dealerships (which may come with strings attached), most add on several thousand dollars in fees for things like financing or maintenance plans that aren’t necessary when purchasing from an independent seller who can provide these services directly.



Auctions are a great place to find used semi-trucks. There are many good reasons why you should consider buying a truck from an auction, but what exactly can you look for? Here is a list of things to keep in mind when searching for a used semi-truck at an auction:

  • Get the best deal possible
  • Find out about the reputation of the seller
  • Inspect the truck before bidding

Private Sellers

When buying from private sellers, make sure they have all the documentation and history of the truck. This includes proof of ownership, maintenance records, and service history. Make sure everything is up-to-date and there are no outstanding issues with the truck before making an offer.

Private SellersSource: Adobe Stock

How to Know When to Walk Away from the Deal?

If you’re serious about buying a used semi-truck, it’s important to know when to walk away from the deal. If a truck is priced well below market value, you can be sure that something is wrong with it. The price should reflect the condition of the vehicle and what someone could realistically expect to make on resale in that condition.

The best way to find out how much a particular truck should sell for is by looking at comparable listings from other sellers. This will give you an idea of what people are willing to pay for similar trucks in your area, and if there are any trends in pricing that might affect your offer for purchase. If a seller has listed their vehicle as ‘fully loaded’ or as having ‘all options’ included with their listing description but doesn’t include photographs showing these options or proof of their existence (such as receipts), then there’s probably something wrong with their truck — and this means it may not hold up well under pressure from buyers who know better than to take such claims at face value.

The best way to know if this is the right time to buy a used semi-truck is by doing your research. You’ll be able to determine if it fits with your budget, if it has too much mileage for its age, and more importantly whether or not you feel comfortable buying from this particular seller. Remember that there are many ways in which one can go about buying a used semi-truck, so don’t hesitate to ask questions before making any decisions!

For more insights into the trucking world, follow us on our YouTube channel Extra Mile International Inc Trucking Company, and visit our Instagram profile @extramiletx.

Fleet Manager & Recruiter at Extra Mile International | + posts

Mia is a Fleet Manager and Recruiter at Extra Mile International, based in Chicago. Mia is over 5 years in the trucking industry while driving trucks for more than 3 years.