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How Long Will A Semi Truck Last? (13 Important Facts)

Ok, so you’re new to the game and have been through all the training, but there may be still a few questions that are swimming around in your head.

From how long do shocks last to what’s the most reliable semi-truck on the market…we have it covered!

Here’s a quick answer to How Long a Semi Truck will Last:

A semi-truck lifespan is generally between 10 – 15 years with an average mileage of around 750,000 miles. Semi trucks can last even longer if proper care and maintenance are done. During the lifespan of the semi truck, components such as the clutch, gearbox, and shocks will have to be replaced.

How many Miles does a Semi Truck Last?

A typical semi-truck given the nature of its job is a real superman or woman of vehicles, averaging out at around 750,000 miles over its lifespan, that’s around 50,000 to 66,000 miles a year and some even past the million marks.

They truly are the remarkable undisputed heavyweights of the world, but the question you may be asking is what makes them keep going for so long?

There are many factors to consider when you ask how long a truck lasts.

How many Miles can a Semi Truck Engine Last?

Whilst engines don’t last forever, they do pretty well as long as the engine has its regular servicing and maintenance and is properly cared for by the driver, there is no reason why these babies can’t last past the million-mile mark.

This will also depend largely on the engine manufacturers and what materials they use to construct the engine from the housing to the pistons.

Paccar seems to be one of the leaders of the industry even going as far as electric and hybrid trucks which can possibly last longer than the 750,000 miles of which a conventional truck is averaged out at.

Does a Semi Truck Diesel Engine or Gasoline Engine Last longer?

Semi diesel trucks are winning the battle for survival when it comes to which one can last the longest.

With that being said there are gasoline trucks out there that have outlived their cousins when it comes to wear and tear of the engine.

The reason a diesel engine generally outlives a gasoline engine is down to the internal space.

The diesel engine has a much larger crank and camshaft as well as cylinders and bearings. It allows the oil to lubricate the engine more freely.

The wear on diesel is generally lower when compared to that of the gasoline engine.

How long do Semi Transmissions Last?

If you take really good care of the transmission and have regular maintenance it could last as long as up to 200,000 miles. Some burn out at much less than this.

Neglect is the number one cause of the death of any transmission. Automatic transmissions on the other hand are much less reliable and burn out at much lower mileage.

It is worth noting the following for good practice in transmission care.

  • Service every 30,000 miles.
  • Check transmission fluid regularly.
  • Maintain the cooling system (check owners manual).
  • Use synthetic fluid.
  • Use external filter.
  • Practice good driving.

How Long does a Semi Truck Clutch Last?

A clutch can last the lifespan of the vehicle or can go much earlier, this will depend on a few things.

One being the skill of the person controlling the clutch, releasing a clutch too early or pressing it down too late will result in a shorter lifespan.

This creates unnecessary excessive pressure on the engine and transmission which in turn overheats the clutch.

And once again with the risk of repeating myself, good upkeep (oil checks/servicing, etc).

How long do Semi Truck Brakes Last?

The rate at which semi-truck brakes can fade and need replacing varies based on the weight, the journey (grades), the skill of the driver, and the road conditions.

As a general rule of thumb, they average out at around 50,000 miles, some may be less and some more, probably a good idea to check them yourself or have them checked by a professional.

If your truck isn’t fitted with brake fade sensors, you should as they’re relatively cheap to have fitted and will save you hassle in the future.

How long do Shocks Last on a Semi Truck?

A semi’s shocks are usually replaced around every 100,000 miles, it is recommended that they are checked at every 12,000 miles.

It is possible to inspect the visible shocks yourself for any wear before the recommended due dates, below is a list to help you identify this.

  • Check shock housing for any fluid leaks.
  • Check for dents in the housing.
  • Check for worn or broken mounts.
  • Check for uneven tire wear (cupped).
  • Check when a leaf spring was replaced (as the shocks should have been replaced at the same time).

If you’re unsure, ask your fellow trucker or a mechanic.

How long do Semi Truck Batteries Last?

Too hot and the water from the battery can simply evaporate, too cold and it could then be drained by the glow plugs becoming greedy and taking more current, leaving you with less power resulting in a shorter lifespan for your semi-trucks battery.

Given the proper care and the correct temperatures, they generally last between three to five years, but that really gives or takes as the weather is never the same all year round.

If you’re not sure about the battery power you can measure it with a digital battery analyzer. A reduction in power will also show in your headlights changing brightness when you rev the engine or the delay in the engine starting.

Have your alternator checked to make sure it’s not overcharging the battery and evaporating the water (the summer effect).

How many Miles does a Semi Truck Tire Last?

There are three types of semi-truck tires, one is the steer tire and the other is the drive tire and the less important ones are known as the trailer tires.

Though there is no difference to the tire itself there is a significant difference in the lifespans of each.

The steer tire’s job is to keep the truck going in the direction it intends to go, these should be replaced around 150,000 miles.

The drive tire can last as long as 350,000 to 500,000 miles as they do not do any turning.

Trailer tires last around 25,000 to 75,000 miles this huge gap is due to the load.

To increase the life of any tire it is recommended that the tire has the correct pressure (found in the owner’s manual or on the wall of the tire).

How long does the Body of a Semi Truck Last?

The body of a semi-truck will last as long as any other vehicle does and that is usually based on exposure to the elements and what chemicals you use when washing it.

Stone chipping and any untreated damage to the bodywork will result in corrosion from the inside out.

The sign for this is the paint bubbling, if this occurs you may wish to take it to a body shop or even have a go at it yourself, but do not ignore it as it will ruin the vehicle’s body.

The trailer’s body is more durable to the elements as it is made mostly of plastic and aluminum, and as a result, it requires very little maintenance and can even outlast the lifespan of the truck itself.

What are the most Reliable Semi Trucks?

In no particular order, the most reliable semi-trucks on the market today are as follows:

Peterbilt a Paccar brand is at the top of the list for a lot of truckers.

Kenworth (designed for truckers by truckers) are close behind if not level, also a Paccar brand.

Volvo trucks have made their way to the top of the list.

Freightliner trucks are also at the top as road soldiers.

Western star 5700 XE comes equipped with proven Daimler technology and is highly durable.

International is also heavy punchers when it comes to reliability.

Mack trucks make for a great buy.

Does Reliability of your Semi Truck affect Insurance Costs?

I must say I was shocked to find that the age of your truck influences the decision for cheaper insurance which is part of being reliable, it doesn’t state this directly, but rather goes around the houses in saying.

Regular maintenance and installation of new equipment (which would surely make it more reliable) do indeed affect insurance premiums.

The advice is to stick to trucks 10 years or newer, upgrading the equipment as it becomes available, just be sure to inform the insurance company of any modifications.

How to Prolong the Life of your Semi Truck?

Ok! Many tips on this subject and I think we all have a rough idea of the answers but just in case the list below will help:

  • Regular servicing.
  • Weekly inspections of the truck and it’s trailer (have any damage or adjustments dealt with asap).
  • Daily oil checks (levels).
  • Daily water checks (levels).
  • Daily tire checks (pressure, wear and tear), rotate them once a month.
  • Check every load to make sure it’s not over.
  • Clean and check lights.
  • Clean air filters (check owners manual) 20,000 – 25,000 miles.
  • Flush radiator (check owners manual).

If you’re not sure about some of these topics it would be advisable to get a professional’s opinion.

Happy trucking!