You can save a lot of upfront costs when purchasing a used semi-trailer, if you make the right decision. It is not only a cost-effective way of getting into the owner/operator business, but also an economical way, if your company is growing rapidly, to build your fleet quickly. When considering a used semi-trailer, matching your needs with the trailer’s functionality is the most important purchase criteria.
What should you look for when purchasing a used semi-trailer?
1. Perform a compatibility, background and market check.
The first thing is to make sure the trailer is compatible with your truck. You also need to take into account your budget. Keep in mind that you aren’t necessarily getting a better value with a lower price. Research online for what is available and for what you can expect to pay for the type of trailer you are considering. Ask these questions:
- Does the trailer have a current inspection?
- Is the seller a broker or independent owner?
- Why is the trailer being sold or why was it traded in?
Make sure replacement parts are easily available and look at any service records.
2. Check the Structural Components
Be sure to do a thorough examination of the trailer. Have a flashlight handy to check the undercarriage for rust and damage. Surface rust is usually easy to treat with proper care and maintenance, but structural rust could be a red flag, meaning a shorter service life for the trailer, or major maintenance and repairs in the near future. Check that the slider rails are welded to the cross members, and look for cracks, irregular formations or fresh welds that could be an indication of a major repair.
If you’re looking at a van or reefer, be sure to check the upper structure is sound and that no light is coming in when the doors are closed. Ensure have someone with you when you do this. You don’t want to find yourself accidentally locked in.
3. Check the Lights
All lights, including brake lights and signals should be in good working condition. Look for fraying or other wear and tear on all electrical connections and wires.
4. Check the Brakes
Examine the drums and linings for unusual wear and tear and ensure the ABS system is working and the wires are not frayed or cut.
5. Examine the Tires
Tires should always be checked for plenty of tread, embedded objects and bulges on the sidewalls that could result in a breakdown. Uneven tire wear could be an indication of a problem with the axle, wheels, rims, brake drums, hubs, shocks, suspension components or even the tires. Check that the tires are not underinflated as this may cause uneven tire wear.
The team at New Way Leasing understands the industry and can help you with your trucking needs while keeping to your budget. If you have further questions about purchasing a used semi-trailer in Kent, WA, or about semi-trailer rental or leasing for transportation or storage, give us a call.