Tips to Remember When Buying A Used Truck

When buying a commercial truck, pay special attention to the cooling system and the oil for instance, can be a simple indicator of how the truck was maintained and how it should perform. A reputable dealer will take the time to inspect those areas, so the buyer has a high level of assurance that those systems are in good condition. But taking the time yourself to make a couple simple checks, or at least ask, gives you assurance that the truck you’re about to buy will perform in any season.


Pre-purchase systems checks help you feel better about what you’re buying. But to protect your truck and your business once you’re on the road, take some time to check out the value you get when you invest in an NTP warranty. That value? Peace of mind.


When purchasing a truck, whether you’re an owner operator or a dealer, you should always take the time to check a couple simple components or systems that can tell you a lot about the truck and save you from costly repairs down the road.

  1. Inspect the blow-by tube for any oil or water residual dripping out. If there is, it should be checked. At times you might see the blow-by tube appears to be steaming or breathing heavy. If you don’t hear unusual noise coming from the engine, the truck should be run on a dynamometer to check the blow-by under load.  Most of the time the blow-by is measured with a magnehelic gauge for an accurate reading.  Each engine manufacture’s specifications are somewhat different so check engine manufacture’s tolerances and blow-by scale for the proper readings.


  1. Check for compression in the cooling system. Compression in the cooling system can be caused by several engine problems depending on the engine manufacture’s model. Normally there is a failed or near failed engine component allowing combustion from the engine to escape. Compression can also be caused by an injector sleeve, a damaged cylinder head gasket, a cylinder head, or air compressor. This is a simple check with a compression gauge.


  1. Oil is the lifeblood of any engine so it’s always a good idea to perform at least one oil sample analysis. Taking just one oil sample won’t give you all the information you might need but it will pick up sodium and boron which could indicate a trace of antifreeze in your oil. Oil temperature runs hotter than coolant and the coolant will burn off leaving the sodium and boron in the oil.  About 90% of the time having sodium and boron in the oil comes from a leaking EGR cooler. But it could also be a leak in a cylinder head gasket, cylinder head, a pitted liner or crevice seal. Any sign of something in your oil should be taken seriously as it could lead to major engine damage.

3 Steps To Being Proactive in Your Truck’s Maintenance

Practice Preventative Maintenance

You invested your hard-earned money to buy your truck. So, creating your own preventative maintenance (PM) schedule and sticking to it at consistent intervals can prevent breakdowns which will help keep you on the road, save you money and importantly, keep you safe.

The key is to not think of a maintenance program as being reactive, only doing something when something goes wrong. An effective maintenance program should be proactive, checking your equipment often and doing your PM on time. Here are three simple things we suggest for taking care of your truck:

Step 1) Pre-Trip/Weekly Inspections

Your truck is your responsibility. So, get in the habit of doing a pre-trip or, weekly inspections. They don’t take long and can save you thousands of dollars, lost time and lost revenue. A pre-trip/weekly inspection should include inspecting hoses for leaks, checking fluid levels, inspecting belts for looseness or fraying, looking for loose or broken components.  These short quick inspections can lower the chances of a breakdown and tremendously reduce downtime for a major repair. Don’t risk an outcome you will regret.

Step 2) Consistent Regens

Regens can be time consuming and inconvenient with your busy schedule. However, they are absolutely needed, sometimes as much as once a day, for your truck to perform at its best. When the yellow regen light goes on, don’t ignore it. The light is telling you there is an excessive amount of soot in your DPF that needs to be burned off. In newer vehicles this will happen automatically. But if not, you can perform a “parked regen”. Do not perform a parked regeneration on grass or leaves as the exhaust will become extremely hot and could cause a fire. Make sure you are parked on cement, asphalt or gravel. If you light is red, pull over as soon as possible and call for service.

Step 3) Listen

The simplest of the three steps is listening to how your truck sounds.  When its running smoothly, it hums. When something is wrong, or about to go wrong, you can often hear it. Like the lights that go on, don’t ignore funny or unusual sounds. Check them out right away.

Taking some very simple precautions every day on your truck will help you keep your business running smoothly without downtime and helping prevent huge equipment repair bills. And to protect your business and your livelihood when you do have major repair costs, ask your used truck sales rep about the value of a commercial equipment warranty.

Tampering with Aftertreatment Systems Puts Your Business at Risk

Modern commercial vehicle aftertreatment systems have dramatically reduced harmful vehicle emissions and helped improve our air quality. But since their initial introduction, these systems have also contributed to more instances of mechanical breakdown and therefore, downtime. Recent changes in aftertreatment technology have significantly improved performance and reduced the number of failures but still, some are leery of the potential for failure that the aftertreatment system may introduce. For example, when the truck is producing emissions in excess of what is allowed under the Clean Air Act, the aftertreatment will shut the truck down, even if it is otherwise in good working order.


To avoid a possible shut down, some in the trucking industry have been tempted to tamper with aftertreatment systems hoping to reduce or eliminate the possibility that the truck could stop operating due to the aftertreatment system. Aftertreatment systems are usually tampered with (often said to be “deleted”) in one of two ways:


  • By physical removal of components within the system, or
  • Through re-programming the Aftertreatment Control Module (ACM), allowing the system to operate outside of regulatory standards


The temptation to circumvent the aftertreatment system’s ability to “regulate” the operation of the truck is simply something you should not do. In fact, tampering with the aftertreatment system in any way is a violation of federal law. Repair facilities who tamper with aftertreatment systems or perform repairs to trucks with improper aftertreatment systems risk heavy criminal and/or civil penalties. Similarly, owner-operators who tamper with their aftertreatment system can face those same penalties, along with the potential for losing their operating authority. In short, a good business can lose revenue or even potentially go out of business simply by tampering with an aftertreatment system.


Owner-operators also need to remember that most warranties have provisions that could void aftertreatment warranty coverage if the system has been tampered with. If that happens, they could end up paying the cost out of their pocket to have the aftertreatment restored to proper working order plus, still be subjected to paying fines for violation of the law.


Aftertreatment system failure can be one of the most expensive repairs you can make on a truck. Having aftertreatment warranty coverage is a smart way to limit your risk of high out of pocket repair costs. But also, take time to pay attention to this important part of your truck. If you’re purchasing a used truck, make sure that the aftertreatment system, including the physical components and the ACM, is operating within required specifications. If your truck has problems with the aftertreatment system, check that the service facility follows all the right guidelines so your system functions properly and within industry standards.


Maintaining the day-to-day operation of the aftertreatment system on your truck is the right thing to do for our environment. But it also helps assure that your truck and your business keep running smoothly so you keep making money.


How to Keep You Cool on Those Long and Short Hauls

Your truck can run without AC, but can you? Inefficient air conditioning in the cabin can be more than uncomfortable, it can affect your driving performance and safety. That’s why it is so important to make sure your air-conditioning system is operating efficiently all summer long.

Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance

The most important thing you can do to ensure your AC is in peak condition is to stick to the recommended maintenance schedule. Even if your AC appears to be working fine, it loses about five percent of its efficiency every year without proper maintenance. And while it can seem like a hassle to take your truck in when it doesn’t feel necessary, a couple hours of preventative maintenance (PM) sure beats being down for a day or more to have your air-conditioning system repaired or replaced.

Aside from keeping up with the PM schedule, there are other actions you can take to ensure you are maximizing the efficiency of your air-conditioning system:

Listen to the Blower

At least once a trip, take a quiet moment to listen hard. Is there any noise coming from the blower motor? If you notice any buzzing or grinding noises, that’s a good indication that the blower is working at less-than-optimal efficiency, putting more stress on the rest of the system and maybe, a sign that it could be on its way out. If you hear any odd noise, have a mechanic look at it as soon as possible.

Sniff and Look

While the AC is running, give the air a strong sniff. If you detect an old, musty smell coming from your vents, there could be dirt or mold in your system that needs to be removed ASAP. Also, look at your freon level. A low level means you simply don’t have enough refrigerant to adequately cool your cabin. It could also indicate you have a leak. When checking for leaks, examine the hoses and fittings for wetness or cracks, especially at bends, flex points and hose connections.

Shut it Down

If you ever feel warm air coming out when you’re running the AC, shut down the entire system and turn off your engine. Give your truck time to cool down to a normal temperature, then check your fluids. If you’re low on fluids and you keep pushing it, you could bring your truck dangerously close to overheating.

Protect Your AC

You don’t need AC to keep your truck running, but it is a valuable component to keep you running. That’s why you should consider a warranty to cover cooling and heating issues that can crop up at the worst time. Talk to your sales rep about NTP’s Comfort Package, which is available with any 12- or 24-month warranty. Aside from covering most air-conditioning parts, it also covers other important components that keep your truck running and you comfortable, like radiator, alternator, starter, radio and more. And, it could save you thousands!

Air-conditioning efficiency is of the utmost importance during these hot summer months. Proper maintenance and a few basic precautionary measures should help you keep everything running smoothly. Keep cool out there!

NTP Rewards Customers During Covid-19 with Oil Change Discount at TA Truck Service Locations

Winston Salem, NC May 5, 2020 – National Truck Protection Co Inc.®, parent company for National Truck Protection® (NTP®) and Premium 2000+® commercial truck warranties, announced a promotion that rewards NTP/Premium 2000+ customers who are also members of TravelCenters of America’s loyalty program, UltraONE,® with $25 off any oil change at TA Truck Service locations across the U.S.

“This COVID-19 event has put undue pressure on our single truck and small fleet customers,” said Wade Bontrager, CEO of National Truck Protection Co. Inc. “Some are stressed with long hours hauling critical supplies, medical equipment and consumer goods, while others are rethinking their business model because work has slowed or stopped. An oil change is one of the most important preventive maintenance tasks to keep a truck running smoothly. This offer not only saves our customers money, but it’s our way to thank them for all they do, every day, to keep America moving.”

“When NTP/Premium 2000+ asked us to help facilitate an offer to help their drivers maintain their vehicles, our team was 100% in,” said Drew Kortyna, Vice President of Truck Service at TravelCenters of America. “The unprecedented COVID-19 situation has made the lives of many truck drivers very difficult. Our team is committed to ensuring professional drivers have access to our Truck Service shops, as well as a variety of food options, showers and other services while visiting our sites.”

“The trucking industry absolutely makes this country tick,” Bontrager added. “We truly appreciate the amazing contributions that every driver and owner operator is making for all of us right now.”

About National Truck Protection 

National Truck Protection Co Inc® is the parent company of the trucking industry’s two largest and oldest aftermarket warranty brands: National Truck Protection® (NTP®) and Premium 2000+®. Both warranty brands are available on Class 3 – 8 trucks through used truck selling location including major OEM, independents and rental truck dealerships, finance companies and insurance agencies.

About TravelCenters of America

TravelCenters of America Inc. (Nasdaq: TA) is the nation’s largest publicly traded full-service travel center network. Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Westlake, Ohio, its more than 21,000 employees serve customers in over 260 locations in 44 states and Canada, principally under the TA®, Petro Stopping Centers® and TA Express® brands. Offerings include diesel and gasoline fuel, truck maintenance and repair, full-service and quick-service restaurants, car and truck parking and other services and amenities dedicated to providing great experiences for professional drivers and the general motoring public. TravelCenters of America operates nearly 650 full-service and quick-service restaurants and 10 proprietary brands, including Quaker Steak and Lube®, Iron Skillet® and Country Pride®. For more information, visit

NTP Continues Support of Military Veterans in Trucking Industry

National Truck Protection (NTP) and Premium 2000+, two of the largest aftermarket commercial truck warranty brands in North America, last year introduced its “Value Our Veterans” program to support the military veterans in the trucking industry.

The company says it is estimated that one million of the active military veterans in the workforce are working in the transportation industry, about 12 percent of the total military veterans in the workforce today. NTP and Premium 2000+ says its Value Our Veterans program looks to support veterans from all branches of service.

The program began last year on Sept. 11 when any owner-operator who bought an NTP or Premium 2000+ warranty during that time period was given a $100 gift card and automatically entered into a drawing to give away three cash prizes totaling $5,000. This support carried on at the annual UTA Convention in Palm Springs, Calif., where UTA participants could enter a drawing for $500 in cash prizes and each winner could designate which military veterans organization they wanted NTP/Premium 2000+ to donate to.

National Truck Protection Run Ranger RunWith a donation from NTP/Premium 2000+ and all winners donations, the local Palm Springs VFW Post 1534 received a donation of $1,650, the company says.

The Value Our Veterans program continued this spring as company leaders also recently participated in a Run Ranger Run to support veterans.

“Supporting our military veterans is near and dear to our hearts, which is why we started the ‘Value Our Veterans’ program,” says Wade Bontrager, CEO, National Truck Protection Co. Inc.

“We have employees who have served in the Army, Marines, Navy and Reserves. As an Army veteran myself, I know firsthand the challenges of transitioning back to civilian life after years of serving our country. So, our participation in the Run Ranger Run event can help proud vets who are uniquely qualified and have terrific work ethic to have rewarding careers in our great trucking industry.”

NTP Teams with CTC as a Strategic Partner in Agency Channel

Winston Salem, NC, September 3, 2019 – National Truck Protection® (NTP®), the oldest commercial vehicle warranty company in North America, announced that they are teaming up with CTC Transportation Insurance Services, LLC as a strategic partner in their new Agency Sales Channel. CTC, the fastest growing privately owned insurance company in the country, will partner with NTP in a unique effort to offer their individual owner operators and small fleet customers commercial equipment warranty coverage on their trucks.  

 “CTC is not only the fastest growing insurance agency but well-respected amongst our target audience, owner operators and small fleet owners,” said Scott St. Clair, NTP Vice President, Agency Channel. “They offer us a tremendous entry point to educate their customers just how important it is to protect their truck’s equipment and critical components – the most expensive part of their truck to repair when it breaks.”

CTC is a wholesaler focusing on the trucking insurance industry, providing their retail agents fast quoting technology, an in-house binding facility, multiple brokerage markets and superior customer service. Their underwriters are experts in the trucking business and know just how important it is for their customers to stay on the road. “The trucking industry is very different than many businesses and our strength is that we know the business,” said Chris Daggett, President of CTC. “They are small business owners who rely on their truck to be in business. If they’re not moving, they aren’t making money. If they aren’t making money, they could lose their business. Having a warranty from a very reputable company like NTP that protects their business is essential to protecting their livelihood.”

NTP has been in the commercial warranty business since 1985 and are a respected leader in providing aftermarket commercial equipment warranties for Class 3 – 8 vehicles. “We are truly excited to have CTC as a strategic partner in developing our products for the agency channel,” added Wade Bontrager, CEO of National Truck Protection Co. Inc. “Entering this channel with the support of an industry leader like CTC signals that an NTP warranty is a valuable product offering to the commercial trucking industry.” 

About National Truck Protection

National Truck Protection and Premium 2000+® commercial warranty brands are owned by National Truck Protection, Co Inc. Combined they have been serving the trucking industry for over 60 years and are both highly regarded for their knowledge of the commercial equipment warranty business. Their mission is developing innovative warranty options and providing high levels of customer services to meet the needs of small independent owner-operator and small fleet businesses. For more information visit and, or contact Tim Ronan at [email protected]

Heavy Duty Truck Executive Ted J. Fick Joins National Truck Protection’s Board of Directors

Cranford, NJ – National Truck Protection (“NTP” or the “Company”) today announced the appointment of Mr. Ted Fick to its board of directors. Ted is a Kinderhook operating partner with significant experience in the heavy duty trucking industry.

Headquartered in Cranford, NJ, NTP has a 33 year track record of providing extended service contracts for critical coverage on high-value fundamental drivetrain components for used class 3 through 8 trucks. The Company is the undisputed market leader selling through an unmatched and diverse distribution network that includes over 1,300 used truck dealerships, large blue-chip OEM truck manufacturers, large commercial trucking fleets, and finance and leasing companies throughout the United States. NTP’s products offer significant value to its customers, from large fleets to independent owner-operators, by returning their trucks to running condition in the event of a breakdown.

“We are thrilled to have Ted join our board. Ted’s vast experience with industry leading heavy duty truck OEM’s will provide valuable insights in furthering NTP’s industry partnerships and in helping us develop new innovative products. Ted compliments the outstanding group of professionals on the board and we are confident that this team will accelerate the company’s growth trajectory into the future”, said Robert S. Amico, President and CEO of the NTP.

About Mr. Fick

Mr. Fick frequently assists Kinderhook in evaluating investment opportunities in the heavy-duty trucking industry. Currently, Mr. Fick is CEO of the Port of Seattle, the nation’s third largest seaport. His role includes responsibility for SeaTac International Airport, the fastest growing airport in the USA, with highly truck dependent air cargo operations. Prior to that, Ted was President and CEO of Polar Corporation, the market leading liquid and dry bulk tank trailer OEM and operator of Polar Service Centers and the Rockwell American division, manufacturer of axles, suspensions and fenders. Prior to Polar Corporation and Rockwell American, Mr. Fick was the former President of Thermo King – Americas, a Senior Vice President at Hino Trucks and spent 17 years in a variety of leadership capacities with PACCAR.

NTP Names Jim Porcari To Board Of Directors

CRANFORD, N.J.–(September 16, 2016)–National Truck Protection (“NTP” or the “Company”) today announced the appointment of Jim Porcari to its board of directors. Jim is a Kinderhook operating partner with significant executive experience in the insurance industry.

Headquartered in Cranford, NJ, NTP has a 33-year track record of providing extended service contracts for critical coverage on high-value fundamental drivetrain components for used class 3 through 8 trucks. The Company is the undisputed market leader selling through an unmatched and diverse distribution network that includes over 1,300 used truck dealerships, large blue-chip OEM truck manufacturers, large commercial trucking fleets, and finance and leasing companies throughout the United States. NTP’s products offer significant value to its customers, from large fleets to independent owner-operators, by returning their trucks to running condition in the event of a breakdown.

“The addition of Jim to our board is very exciting. His deep insurance industry knowledge and his leadership expertise in demonstrated best practices pertaining to claims handling and customer service are truly valuable as we expand and enhance NTP’s operating characteristics,” said Robert S. Amico, President and CEO of NTP.

About Mr. Porcari

With over 35 years of industry experience, Porcari assists Kinderhook in evaluating investment opportunities in the insurance and collision industry. Porcari is Founder and Managing Partner of Insurance Resources International, LLC a strategic consulting firm for the property and casualty industry since 2010. Prior to founding Insurance Resources International, Porcari was President of Personal Lines Claims for American International Group (US), and has held various other leadership positions with several insurers. In addition, Porcari was recently added to the board of directors at Collision Diagnostic Services, a Kinderhook Fund III portfolio company.

About Kinderhook Industries

Founded in 2003, Kinderhook Industries is a private equity firm with over $2.0 billion of committed capital and an investment philosophy based on combining senior management and operating experience in a variety of industries with the financial and investment know-how of private equity professionals. Kinderhook primarily makes control investments in companies in which the firm can achieve significant financial, operational and growth improvements. The firm targets orphaned non-core subsidiaries of corporate parents, existing small capitalization public companies lacking institutional support and management-led recapitalizations of entrepreneurowned companies. By providing access to capital, strategic advice and an extensive network of relationships, Kinderhook Industries has a history of successfully building privately held firms in partnership with management.

About National Truck Protection Co., Inc. (NTP)

NTP, based in Cranford, NJ, is the leading independent provider of warranty and service contracts to the North American trucking industry. For over 32 years, NTP has provided private label warranties to major OEMs as well as extended service contracts to the used truck segment through its extensive network of corporate and independent dealers. NTP provides the most comprehensive repair and breakdown management services in the industry. For information, please visit

NTP is an Accredited Member of the Better Business Bureau. Please visit for the latest ratings.

National Truck Protection Adds Finance and Insurance Industry Executive to Its Board of Directors

Cranford, NJ – National Truck Protection (“NTP” or the “Company”) today announced the appointment of Mr. Ron Gardner to its board of directors. Mr. Gardner is a Kinderhook operating partner with significant experience in the Finance and Insurance (F&I) industry.

Headquartered in Cranford, NJ, NTP has a 33 year track record of providing extended service contracts for critical coverage on high-value fundamental drivetrain components for used class 3 through 8 trucks. The Company is the undisputed market leader selling through an unmatched and diverse distribution network that includes over 1,300 used truck dealerships, large blue-chip OEM truck manufacturers, large commercial trucking fleets, and finance and leasing companies throughout the United States. NTP’s products offer significant value to its customers, from large fleets to independent owner-operators, by returning their trucks to running condition in the event of a breakdown.

“We are very pleased to add Ron to NTP’s board. Ron’s extensive background in Finance and Insurance and in vehicle service contracts will be extremely valuable to NTP both in enhancing our current offerings and also in new product and business development”, said Robert S. Amico, President and CEO of the NTP.

About Mr. Gardner

Mr. Gardner frequently assists Kinderhook in evaluating investment opportunities in the F&I space. Mr. Gardner’s company, Rosemark Group, provides F&I products and consulting services to the automotive and other consumer products industries. Mr. Gardner has also recently served in a consulting capacity for some Fortune 500 clients of Resource Global Professionals (“RGP”). Prior to working with RGP, Mr. Gardner was the former CFO of the London Broadcasting Company, and held various leadership positions at CareGard Warranty Services, First Extended Service Corporation, FFG Insurance Company and Ernst & Young.