What Is Considered Low Mileage for a Used Semi Truck for Sale? (Read or Listen)

Learn what is considered low mileage for used semi trucks for sale, why it is that way, and how much of the story this tells about the truck.

used semi truck mileage explained
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Buying used semi trucks is an entirely different shopping experience. 

For most of us that drive consumer-grade vehicles on a regular basis, it can be tricky to get our heads around the lottery-jackpot-level numbers running across a diesel semi truck’s odometer. If you were to shop for a used car, truck, or SUV, you’d likely stay away from anything with over 200,000 miles on the engine. 

older car odometer in kilometers

200,000 miles, however, is peanuts in comparison to what you would expect to see listed in relation to a decent used semi truck for sale. In fact, the “break in” period for many new large bore diesel engines is just around 50,000 miles—the point at which the fuel economy of the truck actually improves.

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“So, what is a realistic number of miles to expect on the average used semi truck for sale?” 

Roughly speaking, the lower average for used semi truck for sale odometer readings will range 220,000-400,000 miles.  

Let’s look into some of the reasons why used commercial trucks tend to go on sale once they reach this range of mileage.

Trucking Companies Replacing Their Fleets

Many of the used semi trucks that hit the market every year are the result of large trucking companies replacing their fleets with newer models. Though there are no set industry standards concerning when to upgrade semi truck fleets, many trucking companies will replace their trucks after about four years or around 500,000 miles—also, two numbers that vary by company. Often, such equipment replacement policies allow these companies to continue to use semi trucks that are still under some sort of warranty and possibly to sell these trucks before such warranties expire. 

truck driver in cab

Depending on the company and style of driving (city and short-range versus long-haul, etc.), the average semi truck driver can put anywhere between 45,000 and 130,000 miles on a truck every year. Combine this statistic with the idea of many truck companies upgrading their fleets after just a few years, and this is where we get the above average mileage rate of just over 300,000 miles clocked to the average used truck for sale—a factor that is still reasonably low.

Though this equipment replacement is not the only reason many used semi trucks for sale on the market have similar mileage, it likely has a large impact on the used semi truck market as a whole—both in mileages and pricing. 

"What is the average working lifespan of a semi truck?"

A well-maintained semi truck can easily keep running into the 800,000-mile range and beyond. Many semi truck drivers may proudly proclaim their truck’s admission into the Million Mile Club. Of course, these same drivers may then reveal that this rig has gone through a number of transmissions and related components—none of which are cheap. 

While, yes, it is possible to drive a truck the equivalent of 40 times around the globe, the cost of maintaining an older semi truck has many owner-operators considering whether to rebuild their current semi truck or to buy a newer one

“Why not just fix up a high mileage truck and save some money?”

And if you’re tempted to consider overhauling an older, higher-mileage truck with hopes of breathing a new working life into a classic, there’s more than the maintenance to consider. For example, you may need to be ready to buy it with cash because your truck financing options will likely be trickier. Few financing companies will be too keen to finance a truck that is over than 15 years old. The likelihood of such a truck continuing to pay for itself throughout the duration of its note are slim.

It’s not just about miles on the odometer. 

While scrolling through listings for used semi trucks for sale, you may notice something peculiar—some trucks with much higher mileage still asking a higher price than some of their lower-mileage counterparts. What gives? Well, the odometer may not tell the entire story behind the truck. 

When looking for a used semi truck for sale, documentation is crucial. Detailed maintenance logs, accident reports, and any other official records that the seller has for the used rig helps make case for their asking price. If a seller cannot produce adequate records for a used semi truck they’re trying to sell, the mystery surrounding the truck’s previous working life may make purchasing it a bit of a gamble—thus impact its asking price. Even if the truck has low miles but limited records, inadequately documented accidents, or poor maintenance, these can all hinder the performance and lifespan of the rig. 

Do you have questions about buying semi trucks? 

If you’re in the market for a new or used semi truck or sale, it pays to be an informed buyer. For this reason, we’ve compiled a detailed Semi Trucks Buyer’s Guide just for you. Receive a better understanding of the terminology, truck styles, problem areas to look for, and much more. 

Become a knowledgable semi truck buyer with the My Little Salesman Ultimate Semi Trucks Buying Guide

Ready to start looking at used semi trucks for sale?

If you’re ready to dive in and begin comparing used semi truck listings, you’re in the right place. You’re invited to look through our thousands of commercial truck for sale listings on My Little Salesman. Pinpoint what you’re looking for in seconds by using our intuitive filtering functionality. Save time finding your next rig and get on the road sooner!
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About Ken Lane
Ken’s affinity for the heavy equipment industry was fostered as a curious youngster—becoming happily lost on his grandfather’s tractor sales and service lot (his favorite color is still Allis-Chalmers Orange). Since then, he’s perfected the art of turning black coffee into helpful buyer resources and marketing materials for My Little Salesman.
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