Used Scania R-series: 12 issues to look out for


Click here to view the full range of used Scania R-Series tractor units we have in stock.

Scania’s R-series Topliners are, in the main, indestructible. Call the vast majority of those operating and/or maintaining these vehicles to ask what problems they’ve had and the answer you will get is mainly: “None at all. They’re bulletproof.” They really do all use that same word. Bulletproof. The R-series had such a good reputation, in fact, that we can point you in the direction of multiple hauliers who lined up to order the last few of these trucks before the next generation came in, because they were gutted production of the model was coming to an end. With this in mind, while we did come across some issues it’s worth used buyers being aware of, they’re all pretty minor and some apply only to the very earliest trucks.

Hover over and click on any of the points on the photo to find out more...

1. Wiring: Wiring between the door and mirror can corrode and cause wearing where it passes through the door mirror.(Back to image)

2. Seats: Leather drivers’ seats, especially the squab, can suffer premature wear to both stitching and interior foam, despite being well cared for. A replacement is then needed.(Back to image)

3. Stereo: The stereo sometimes freezes when a phone is connected to the system. The unit shows three to four bars of volume, but no sound comes out. Check this by connecting your own phone before buying.(Back to image)

4. Temperature gauge: Exterior temperature gauges on the dashboard sometimes fail for no obvious reason.(Back to image)

5. AdBlue system: The AdBlue system can experience generalised faults.(Back to image)

6. Clutch: There have been reports of clutches needing replacement around 250,000km when the vehicle is routinely used over harsh terrain.(Back to image)

7. Gearbox: Gearboxes can suddenly “go slow” on up-changes. Check the vehicle history for this.(Back to image)

8. Bell-housing: Check for small oil leaks around the bell-housing area on older models – it can come slack and cause major time and effort to resolve.(Back to image)

9. NOx sensor: Issues of repeated NOx sensor faults have been reported, triggering limp-home mode. Check whether this has been an ongoing occurrence on any vehicle being considered.(Back to image)

10. Battery: There have been some cases where battery replacement has been required after sudden failure.(Back to image)

11. Shifter: On 3-pedal Opticruise versions, there have been reports that the shifter/ selector within the gearbox wears, causing a failure to select. This happens with very little warning, the tell-tale sign being that the box is slightly slower to change in manual mode, doing so with a very subtle “clunk”.(Back to image)

12. Theft: Parts on these trucks frequently get stolen, both in the UK and abroad. Headlights, side skirts and wingtops are most often involved. Examine if these parts have already been more firmly secured by previous owner and, if not, do so before dispatching away from base.(Back to image)

Click here to view the full range of used Scania R-Series tractor units we have in stock.

‘Overwhelming’ evidence of fronting results in disqualification


A waste operator has had its licence revoked and its director disqualified for four years after a traffic commissioner found that it had been acting as a front for another company that had lost its O-licence.

London and South East TC Sarah Bell said the evidence before her “overwhelmingly supports the conclusion” that director John O’Rourke lent his licence for Malbay Waste Disposal to director Roy Goodman and/or Quick Skips London Recycling.

At an Eastbourne public inquiry, called due to concerns raised by the Environment Agency and the Metropolitan police, the director claimed he was paying for wages, fuel and vehicle hire at Malbay and therefore fronting was not taking place.

Sole trader Goodman had lost his O-licence in May 2019 and his limited business Quick Skips surrendered its O-licence in September 2018 and yet when Malbay’s drivers were stopped by police in May, June and July this year they claimed to be working for Goodman and Quick Skips.

O’Rourke’s solicitor told the TC his client was “honest and unsophisticated” and had simply taken his eye off the ball, but in a written decision TC Bell disagreed, saying that the director spent most of the time trying not to get caught out:

“Mr O’Rourke’s evidence was punctuated by long silences when considering the most straightforward questions,” she said.

“On the evidence before me, he simply cannot be trusted.

“It should be noted that professional drivers’ vocational entitlements have been put in jeopardy by the conduct of Mr Goodman and Mr O’Rourke.

“There are three separate police prosecution referrals for no insurance, two to the same driver.”

She added: “It follows that I formally find there has been ‘fronting’ in its truest sense.

“I had removed Roy Goodman from the O-licensing regime from 3 May 2019 for good reason – unlawful operation and an unacceptable maintenance regime.

“Mr O’Rourke permitted that unlawful operation to continue virtually uninterrupted.

“Disqualification is necessary to deter those foolish enough to work in ways that prevent transparent regulation. Accordingly, I disqualify Malbay and Mr O’Rourke for a period commensurate with their wrongdoing.

“Fronting itself and the inherent risks caused by it are serious but the self-serving approach by Mr O’Rourke to his evidence at the hearing is an aggravating feature.”