May 22, 2022

Things to Consider When Buying a Used Truck Tractor

If your operation has an immediate need for an additional truck tractor, your best option in today’s tight supply market would be to buy used.

There are obvious factors that come into play in your decision-making process. What brand do you prefer? Common manufacturers here include Peterbilt, Kenworth, Freightliner, International, and Mack.

Other top-line considerations include the mileage, engine, and transmission of the unit. But these factors only scratch the surface, in this blog we note other elements that should be taken into consideration when buying a used truck.

Has there been recent work done to the engine or transmission?

Well maintained equipment garners a higher price, as this generally extends the life of the unit.

For example, an overhauled engine adds value, as worn-out parts are replaced during this process – resulting in the engine having more longevity and as well as modifications can be made to one’s needs. Reputable auction companies and sellers will fully disclose the service records of a unit, as well as repair invoices.

If they do not, it is advisable that you call the seller, ask these questions, and request the supporting documentation.

Does the truck meet my state requirements for emissions compliance?

To ensure a cleaner environment, states are enacting tougher emission standards for trucks. Before buying a used truck, take a look at the states it will be travelling through, and choose a unit that meets all states emission requirements.

Additionally, you’ll want to determine if a truck’s emissions have been altered. Some owners modify their units to combat issues that diesel exhaust emissions can cause but are illegal in some states, such as California.

Make sure that you are working with a reputable seller who is transparent and thorough in revealing this information.

Does the truck have the proper axle configuration for my desired application?

You need to take into account what types of loads you will be hauling and where you will be hauling it to. Heavier loads obviously require more axles to distribute the load rating, as well as heavier axles can be used to carry more weight.

Like emissions regulations, you’ll also want to investigate state requirements for weight restrictions and axle configurations, as certain states require more axles to carry less weight to prevent road damage.

Keep in mind that certain permits are required in select states and roadways to enable larger load carrying capacities.

Do I need a wet kit for my application, and what type of wet kit do I need?

Trucks equipped with a wet kit option allow them to be much more versatile and carry a larger spectrum of loads. When buying a truck with a wet kit make sure that it is equipped with the proper configuration. Options here include single line, two-line and three-line configurations.

A single line wet kit hydraulically powers contents up, and gravity force down (for example, a dump trailer.) With a twin line, the hydraulic fluid moves in a constant circle, moving cylinders and pumps, then returning to the reservoir.

A common application for this would be a belt trailer. A triple line unit is essentially the same as a double, but will have two returns which can extend longevity of the system.

Knowing what you’ll be hauling today, as well as tomorrow, will determine what your wet kit requirements are.

There are many factors to look at when buying a used truck tractor, but with proper foresight and investigation, we’re confident that you can find exactly what meets your needs. As always when making a buying decision, working with an honest, reputable seller or auction company is key.

If you’re not getting the information you need, or have an unsettling feeling, it’s best to follow your gut instinct.

If you’re looking to buy a used truck tractor, BigIron Auctions sells thousands of pieces of equipment online every Wednesday. We may have just what you are looking for! 

Cover photo credit: BigIron Auctions

Published by BigIron Auctions May 22, 2022
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