Things to Look for When Buying a Used Semi Truck

If you are ready to expand your trucking fleet, it is important to know what to look for when buying a used semi truck.  Do your research so you know what specs will work for the freight you want to haul, how to inspect a used truck, and what questions to ask before you sign the dotted line.  Let’s break it down!


Table of Contents

How to Inspect a Used Semi Truck Before Purchasing

Leaks: Inspect all hoses and the radiator for leaks.

Check Fluids: Check your oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid before purchase.  All fluids should be full and fairly clean.

Frame: Check the frame for excessive rust. Rust is an indictation that the previous owner may not have kept up with vehicle care.

Belts: Inspect the belts.  Are they lose or damaged?

Body Damage: Used doesn’t mean damaged.  Check the body over for rust, scratches, and dents.  Decide what cosmetic damage is and isn’t okay.  It is common to have tiny dings and paint chips due to every day use.  This truck represents you and your business.

APU/Bunk Heater: Turn it on and check all of the settings.  Don’t wait until winter hits to make sure you have heat.

Tires: Look for any cracks or bulges. Check for foreign objects. Tires are expensive to replace.  Steer tire tread must be at 4/32 and drive tread at 2/23 according to DOT regulations.   

Brakes: Truck Sales Manager Josh Parker suggests checking your brake measurements in the middle of the pad; not the edge.  DOT regulations require 50%. 

Lights: Test all lights; inside and out.

Interior Features: Inspect the interior to make sure it is well-maintained.  Look for excessive wear and tear.  Inspect for stains and damaged fabric. 

tips for buying a used semi

Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Used Semi Truck

What is the history of the truck?

If you can get service records for the life of your truck, you are winning.  You will not only walk away with a truck but peace of mind.  You will know every oil change and repair that has been done along the way. How was it maintained?  Who maintained it?  

What kind of fuel mileage does this truck get?

Diesel is one of the biggest expenses for drivers.  Ensuring your trucks is built to get great fuel mileage means you get to keep more money in your pocket at the end of the day.

What is the tire tread depth? 

Do the tires still have life left in them? DOT standards require tread depth to be at 4/32 of an inch.  Replacing tires on a truck can be costly. 

The Pedigree Promise | What Our Customers Get When They Buy a Pedigree Truck

At Pedigree Truck and Trailer Sales, our goal is to deliver a truck that you can drive off the lot and head to pick up your next load.  We challenge you to go through each of these inspection steps when you come pick up your new truck. 

We are confident in the fact that we have the BEST used trucks in the industry.  As a used semi dealer, we want to not only meet your expectations, but we want to exceed them.

This list is incomplete, but here are just a few checkpoints our team will go through to ensure you are getting only the best:

Ask the Experts

  • trucking experts how to inspect a used freightlinerI checked in with some of the top experts in the trucking industry to find out what they would look for first if they were to purchase a used truck.


  • Check your brake measurements in the middle of the pad; not the edge.  DOT regulations require 50%.  Here at Pedigree Truck Sales, we replace any brake pads that aren’t at 75% or better. -Josh Parker, Truck Manger Pedigree Truck Sales


  • I would look at maintenance records,  mileage, warranty, and driver comfort.  Sit in the driver’s seat and make sure you are comfortable.  You are going to spend a long time in that truck.  I want storage space and more storage space.  When you get out on the road for along time you accumulate things quickly.  -Roger Dale, Driver 11 years


  • First, I want to see the maintenance history.  If it hasn’t been taken care of, I don’t want it.  Next, I’m asking about fuel economy.  I want a truck that gets 8-9 mpg so I’m not throwing money away on fuel.  Max, Pedigree Truck Expert

Best Price vs Best Value

When considering the purchase of a used semi-truck, it’s essential to differentiate between ‘best price’ and ‘best value’. The best price refers to the lowest initial cost of acquisition, which can be tempting, especially if you’re working within a strict budget. However, the cheapest option may not always be the most cost-effective in the long run. Best value, on the other hand, encompasses more than just the purchase price. It includes factors such as the vehicle’s condition, reliability, fuel efficiency, maintenance history, and expected longevity. Investing in a semi-truck that might be slightly more expensive initially but has a well-documented maintenance record, better fuel efficiency, and lower expected repair costs can result in significant savings over time. In essence, while the best price is about paying less upfront, the best value is about paying wisely to save more in the future.


Take the Next Step | Used Semi Trucks for Sale

How to inspect a used semi truck

In conclusion, thoroughly inspecting a truck before purchase is crucial in ensuring you get a reliable and worthwhile vehicle. Remember to check the engine, transmission, brakes, tires, and the overall body for any signs of wear or damage. This careful examination will not only give you peace of mind but also safeguard your investment in the long run. 

As always, we take care of all of these things for you.  Our trucks are ready to go!  If you’re in the market for a quality used truck, consider exploring the options available at We offer a wide range of well-maintained, high-quality trucks that you can trust. Click here today to find a truck that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations. Happy truck hunting!


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