If you are one of America's nearly nine million people employed in trucking-related jobs, you know just how much of what you rely on moves on roads via trucks and semis, and if you drive a truck, you know how vital it is to have a reliable and rugged truck to get the job done.

You may work for a large company, or you might be one of the estimated nearly half-million truckers in the United States who own their own rig and earn a living as owner-operators. For you and the companies that use these huge machines, purchasing a semi-truck or box truck is a major investment. Before you add the cost of a trailer, even a day cab with a single axle and lower capacity can run $80,000. A full custom job with plenty of horsepower can easily run to $200,000 or more.

These prices are one reason so many drivers turn to dealers who have semi trailers or a good box truck for sale. These trucks from well-known manufacturers are built to deliver several hundred thousand miles of service with good maintenance. This means well-maintained commercial trucks for sale might deliver years of additional use.

However, as with any purchase of used vehicles, it is important to carefully evaluate any semi trailers, tractors, or box trucks for sale. Here are 4 tips for use when you are considering the purchase of a used semi or commercial truck:

  • Check the configuration, capacity and horsepower. You want a truck that is going to meet your demands, and it also has to meet the transportation regulations for the area where you will drive it. This is especially important for the axle configuration, whether it is 4x2, 4x4, 6x4 or something else. The efficiency and value of any truck is largely determined by how well it fits the job you need it to do.
  • Review maintenance logs. This is a great place to start once you have the appropriateness of the basic rig identified. You'll want to carefully examine the level of preventative maintenance and care the truck has received. Check for any overhauls and for regular oil changes. As a small point of verification, compare the oil change date in the log with the stickers showing on the oil and air filters – they should all agree.
  • Look closely at the brake pads. Most companies that have commercial and box trucks for sale will include an inventory checklist, and often include pictures of the brake pads. While the replacement of brake pads is relatively inexpensive, this may be an indication of the trucks overall maintenance history.
  • Stop, look and listen to the engine. If you are an experienced driver, you will know what to look for and listen to. If you are just starting, hire a competent mechanic to help you check for leaks, look for smoke coming from a running engine, and listen for any knocks or troubling sounds. While checking the engine out, verify its emission sticker is current and appropriate for where you will drive.

Of course, you will also want to determine if the cab fits your driving needs as a day truck or for long hauls. You will also use the odometer to help determine the trucks value. For today's trucks, you might be looking at an out-of-frame or cheaper in-frame overhaul if the miles are in the 400,000 to 500,000 range without a previous overhaul. If you're looking for a good place to start looking for a box truck, visit House of Trucks.

Making the right deal on a reliable truck can control your costs while keeping your rolling down the road.