Why California Truckers Need to Sell Their Pre-2010 Trucks, Now.

Why California Truckers Need to Sell Their Pre-2010 Trucks, Now.

Why California Truckers Need to Sell Their Pre-2010 Trucks, Now.



The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has implemented new emissions regulations for vehicles in California, and most older trucks will not meet the new standards.  This means many on-road commercial trucks will need to be sold and those funds will be applied to newer, California-compliant units.


Commercial trucks and buses manufactured before 2010 are now illegal to operate in California, with few exceptions.  Enforcement is being conducted by routine DOT inspections and most recently through the vehicle’s registration.  Trucks not meeting the conditions set forth by CARB will not be allowed to register in the State, effective immediately. 

The rule applies to diesel vehicles that weigh at least 14,000 pounds. CARB has stated there are approximately 200,000 vehicles that have yet to comply with the rule. Truck lobbying groups estimate that roughly 70,000 are Class 8 trucks or about 10% of the commercial motor vehicles operating in the state.

Removing these trucks from service now and selling them quickly is likely the very best advice.  Right now, buyer demand is still strong, but likely fleeting in the coming months. Market pricing for trucks has flattened through 2022 and is predicted to continually depreciate into 2023.  The urgency to sell these assets now vs. later can mean the difference in thousands of dollars.  

However, trading in or selling these older trucks on your own can be frustrating, often costing the seller in real dollars and lost time. 


Dealers usually only offer a minimal amount on any trade – especially a truck that is out of compliance to the the largest economy in the US.  Worse, they may offer over the market value on a trade, then add that back to your loan drowning the new truck’s equity underwater before you even leave the dealership.

Self-selling your truck using an online marketplace (Facebook, TruckPaper, Craigslist, etc.) is equally challenging and time-consuming.  Waiting weeks or months for offers, then unserious buyers and tire kickers trying to haggle down any price you’ve set.   Then you must deal with title transfers and collecting payment.   Lastly, you can be left dealing with the buyer post-sale if there’s any issue with the truck or its documentation (mechanical, lost title, back taxes on registration, etc.).



Auctions offer significant advantages over dealer trades and self-selling and is often the best financial solution.  The trucking industry has a long and very successful history with auctions by reaching qualified and serious buyers quickly.  The simple process is one of the most effective ways to sell commercial trucks - especially for the older trucks now being outlawed by CARB.  Auction buyers are competing up from the last bid and not haggling you down from a set price – delivering more money in your pocket.

-Auctions reach a much wider market and serious buyers, delivering true market value.

Auctions are prized for their ability to attract large numbers of qualified buyers and generate competitive bidding.   Dealers, brokers, and end-users all compete at auctions, driving up each other’s bids and providing more money to the Owner.  The shear market reach of most auctions dwarfs any online listing service.  Good auction houses reach thousands of potential buyers through their advertising and outreach.

-Auctions provide cash, quickly.

List and try to sell your truck online, and you’re not certain when or if your truck will sell. Auctions are different.  They sell the unit, collect the payment, and deliver your money all within a defined timeframe.  A reputable auction house will provide this timeline clearly and may even offer a process guaranteeing you a certain amount while providing additional money back to you should the truck sell for more than expected.  

-They deal with any post-sale issues.

The auction house will complete the sale, deliver the title, and collect the payment.  They can also address any questions or issues from the buyer, keeping you separate from the transaction.  No calls for you to deal with months later for a lost title, a misplaced bill of sale, or a mechanical issue.

-Good auction houses employ subject matter experts.

The best auction companies employ truck professionals with expertise in current market trends, pricing, and marketing.  They take the time and effort to determine the best market for your truck and advertise to qualified customers in these regions – all in an effort to deliver the strongest price come auction day.  They can also provide guidance on expected returns as well as what recondition may be needed to achieve the best price at auction. 

In closing, auctions can provide Owners a very effective and worthwhile way to liquidate their non-compliant California trucks.  The trucking industry’s successful history using auctions coupled with (still strong) buyers’ enthusiasm and a simple process that converts trucks to cash quickly make selling by auction is one of the best options for truck owners impacted by California’s new restrictions.   


Don Nash is a National Representative for Jeff Martin Auctioneers.  He has worked in the truck remarketing and auction industry since 2010.


LINKS for more information on CARBs policy below

The Truckstop – Official California Truck Information https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/sites/default/files/truckstop/truckstop.html

Truck and Bus Regulation – California Air Resources Board https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/our-work/programs/truck-and-bus-regulation/about

(Enforcement) CARB deploys ‘Dirty Truck Detector’ along popular Ontario truck route https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/news/carb-deploys-dirty-truck-detector-along-popular-ontario-truck-route-1

California's ban on around 70,000 vehicles takes effect this week” https://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/california-ban-on-70000-vehicles-17694178.php

“Environmental Developments to Watch in California in 2023” https://www.natlawreview.com/article/environmental-developments-to-watch-california-2023

“News: California’s Commercial Diesel Truck Restriction Is In Effect – Here Are All the Details” https://tfltruck.com/2023/01/news-californias-commercial-diesel-truck-restriction-is-in-effect-here-are-all-the-details/