Shopping For A Used Semi For Your Business? 2 Red Flags You Should Know About

If you are like most business owners shopping for a used semi truck, you might be more concerned about getting your products on the road again or finding a bargain than you are about seemingly insignificant details such as cab condition or filter type. Unfortunately, being a little too cavalier about your rig shopping could cause a lot of heartache in the long run.  Here are two red flags you should know about when you are shopping for a used semi truck, and how to avoid trouble:

1: Poor Cab Condition

When it comes to cab condition, you might not think twice of a small fabric tear or a missing floor mat. After all, since your guys mainly make short trips and don't worry too much about looks, how much of a difference could an imperfect cab make? Although it might seem like an insignificant detail, a cab that shows obvious signs of wear could signal deeper issues.

For example, if the previous owner and driver didn't care enough to patch up a torn seat cushion, do you think they paid attention to regular oil changes and troubling engine noises? Also, if the previous trucker didn't keep his workspace clean, how likely do you think they were to drive carefully and avoid dangerous, potentially damaging road conditions? While you might feel a little overzealous worrying about every little detail inside the cab, noticing wear and tear should act as a red flag to carefully inspect the rest of the truck and trailer.

If you notice an ongoing trend of poor maintenance, keep shopping until you find a rig that has been pampered. Some businesses do a great job at performing regular cab checks and keeping their vehicles maintained. As you shop, pay attention to things like maintenance records and a carefully maintained engine. By finding a truck that has been pampered, you might not have to worry as much about replacing previously damaged equipment.

2: DPF Filters

Newer is always better, right? Not when it comes to purchasing a used semi truck. Although you might be tempted to purchase that 2012 used truck that you found for a great price, there is a compelling reason that you should consider that 2006 model parked in the corner of the lot: the engine filter.

In 2007, the state of California started mandating the use of diesel particulate filters, also called DPF filters. The goal of this legislation was to reduce particulate emissions, especially microscopic carbon. Commonly used in newer rigs today, these filters are so effective that a white handkerchief can be placed over the exhaust manifold and come away clean. Unfortunately, this environmentally friendly mandate has a downside—these filters are difficult to clean and expensive to replace. Because the filters are so efficient, they also trap exhaust particulates like engine oil and ash, which can increase engine pressure and ultimately harm your motor.

To avoid this frustration, many business owners are choosing to shop around for older used semi trucks that don't contain these problematic filters. Although you might be nervous about purchasing an older truck with loads of mileage, experts note that you can find DPF free rigs that only have between 500,000 and 600,000 miles on them—largely because drivers didn't haul as much during the economic downturn.

As you shop for a used semi truck, ask about the presence of DPF filters. If you don't live in California and don't deliver to customers in the state, an older rig without a DPF filter might save you from having to replace engine parts early and worry about extra maintenance. 

By shopping carefully for that used semi truck, you might be able to avoid frustrating unplanned expenses, and keep your fleet of trucks on the road—delivering products to your customers. Now that you know what to look out for when shopping for used trucks, check out an online dealer like