Things To Consider When Buying A High Mileage Semi Truck
If you have your CDL license and want to start hauling freight for money, then it is a good idea to invest in a used semi truck to begin your journey as an owner operator. Some of the most affordable semi trucks are ones that have quite a few miles on the engine. If you look at a semi with a mileage over 700,000, then there are a few things you will need to think about and understand when looking at the truck.
A Rebuild May Be Needed Soon
Many semi truck engines can drive well with a grand total of one million miles. If you happen to drive the average 45,000 miles a year like many professional truck drivers, then you probably will not hit the one million mile mark for quite a few years. However, you want to make sure that the freightliner does not need a rebuild a lot sooner than you expect. An oil analysis can help to provide you with a clear picture of the engine and its condition.
An oil analysis can be completed fairly simply with just a small bit of oil from the main oil reservoir. If possible, oil should be removed when it is hot, so ask to take a sample after a test drive. You can remove the oil through the dipstick opening with the assistance of an oil vacuum tool. The tool can be purchased with an oil sample kit if you prepare ahead and buy the analysis kit before you start test driving semis.
The sample can be shipped off to the analysis company and a full report of the oil can be provided to you for a little over $20. The analysis will tell you if there is any metal in the oil. This is a sign that the bearings, pistons, or the engine rod are starting to deteriorate. A rebuild may be needed shortly to replace these parts and other.
An oil analysis will also tell you if there is any coolant or fuel in the engine oil. This is a sign of a piston ring, cylinder, or gasket failure. This may not indicate that a rebuild is needed right away. This depends on the volume of the contaminant in the oil. If concentrations are low, then the problem is manageable, but it will worsen over time. You should have an analysis completed every oil change to keep an eye on the problem and invest in a rebuild once high concentrations of fluids enter the engine.
If you want to be a long distance truck driver, then you should know that your mileage may exceed 100,000 miles each year. An investment in a used and high mileage truck may not be the best option. However, you should weigh the cost of investing in an engine rebuild right away to the cost of a lower mileage truck.
Drive Shaft And Axle Issues Should Be Investigated
When it comes to a used semi, safety and driving performance should be your two main concerns. This means that the drive shaft and the axles should be in good shape. Some heavy duty semi drivers will exceed the recommended weight limits on each axle and this can have a devastating effect over time. In fact, the axles can break and leave you stranded on the side of the road, or worse yet, you could lose control of the truck due to a loss of control over the wheels.
Drive shaft wear issues are also a concern and will keep your semi from shifting into drive and being able to proceed on the road. There are some common signs that the drive shaft and the semi axles are in need of some repairs. Clunking sounds when driving, vibrations from the underside of the truck, and a truck that resists movement when in gear are a few distinctive signs. Also, you may not be able to control the wheel well when driving or the truck may not move as you try to turn the wheel. If you notice these problems, then have a mechanic take a look at the semi before you buy it.
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