Investing in a pre-owned semi truck makes a lot of sense for independent truckers. You get a lot of truck for a great price, and the money you save can be used to reinvest in your business or put back in your pocket. A pre-owned truck may not be as shiny or cosmetically perfect as a new rig, but even a lot of the little blemishes can be easily fixed. Below are a couple of hints for spiffing up your pre-owned semi and making it shine like new again. The cost is low, but the gains are high and will enhance your pride of ownership. Here is what you need to do:

Remove haze from plastic lamp lenses

Vehicle lamp lenses are made from polycarbonate, a durable, plastic material capable of withstanding direct blows without shattering. Polycarbonate lenses can be found on headlights, tail lamps, clearance and marker lamps and in other exterior lighting on semi trucks. Over time, polycarbonate lenses can become hazy due to the harsh environment found out on the highway. Road salt, oily residues, sand and other substances remove the clear, bright appearance and leave the lenses clouded.

Fortunately, you can remove the haze using a couple of simple items and keep it from coming back again. You will need:

  • Non-gel toothpaste in any brand name or generic formula

  • Paper towels

  • Plain tap water in spray bottle

To remove the haze, begin by spraying the clouded lens with plain tap water until it is wet. Next, fold a paper towel sheet in half, then in half again, to form a four-layered square. Squeeze a pea-sized dab of toothpaste on the paper towel square and begin rubbing vigorously in circles on top of the damp lens. Be careful not to rub the surrounding paint or trim components in order to avoid scratching or dulling.

Continue rubbing in a circular motion so that you cover all areas of the lens with the toothpaste, forming a thin layer; allow the toothpaste to dry for about a minute. Next, take a clean paper towel sheet and buff the toothpaste off the lens until it is all gone. Examine the lens to see how much haze has been removed, and repeat the process above as many times as needed to eliminate all of the haze.

Remove rust pitting and dulling from chrome

A shiny chrome-plated stack or piece of exterior trim adds a lot of beauty to a semi-truck and helps convey an image that you take pride in your rig and your business. Just as with polycarbonate lenses, chrome can lose some of its luster over time due to the elements found on the open road. Tiny rust pits and dull spots can develop, and these detract from the overall appearance of your truck. Fortunately, it is easy to eliminate many of these small rusty and dull places without having to spend a fortune. Below is what you need:

  • Aluminum foil

  • Plain tap water in spray bottle

  • Dry, clean cloth

  • Automotive paste wax

  • Handheld wax buffer pad

The first step is to loosely crumple a square sheet of aluminum foil; the exact size of the foil doesn't matter, but a 16-inch square is excellent for this purpose. After crumpling, unfold the foil sheet and fold it in half twice to form it into a square with four layers of foil. Place the foil square in the palm of your hand and begin rubbing it using firm pressure over the chrome. Be aware of where you are rubbing so you don't scratch any non-chrome surfaces. Stop rubbing every few seconds to gauge your progress, and use a new sheet of aluminum foil if it begins to disintegrate or tear apart.

After removing rust pits and dull spots, spray the chrome with tap water and use a clean cloth to remove the water and residue. To provide extended protection from rust, apply a thin coat of paste wax to the chrome and buff it dry with a clean cloth or pad.

Now that you know how to improve an old truck's appearance, consider purchasing a used truck from a dealership like the one at