When to Buy Used Commercial Trucks and How to Assess Them

By David Thompson

Dec 23, 2021 03:24 PM EST

When to Buy Used Commercial Trucks and How to Assess Them(1933bkk Via Freepik) (Credit: Getty Image)

When you're running a commercial trucking business and are looking to expand upon or upgrade your fleet of vehicles, one of the most economical decisions you can make is buying used trucks. Whether or not the choice to buy a previously owned vehicle will pay off, in the long run, will depend largely on your ability to assess its condition and value. 

The Value of Previously Owned Trucks

As in the case of any vehicle, the price of a new commercial truck decreases as soon as it is driven off the lot. You stand to save thousands of dollars by buying previously owned options rather than brand new models. The major benefit of a new vehicle is that it does not contain any wear, so you need to be able to assess used trucks to be sure they are in proper condition. 

Assessing the Condition of Used Trucks

The best way to ensure that you buy vehicles that are rugged enough to last and in good shape is to work with a dealership you can trust to sell quality trucks. It also helps to know a mechanic that can provide a second opinion. 

Picking a Brand that You Know and Trust

Another way that commercial trucking business owners decide on which trucks to buy for their fleet is by learning about the history of different manufacturers and deciding on which one they find reliable for the work they require. For example, if you employ drivers to ship freight for long distances, you might decide to buy a Western Star truck due to its reputation as a rugged and high-performing vehicle. 

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

It also helps to understand the age of a previously owned truck and consider how much maintenance will be required to keep it running. While you might save money on a used vehicle that's over five years old, it might end up costing you more than you've saved in maintenance and repairs. 

Understanding Truck Classification

One of the most basic ways to distinguish between different types of commercial trucks regards their classification based on Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR. This rating system is used to determine both the weight of the truck and the weight of the load that it can carry. A few of the things included in this calculation are 

  • Driver and Passengers

  • Cargo 

  • Fuel

General consumer trucks are also classified within the scope of this rating system, albeit at a lower ranking than heavy-duty commercial trucks. Before you decide to buy a new truck for your company, be sure that you understand their different classifications and determine what kind of truck you'll need. 

Buying used commercial trucks is one of the best ways to save money for your company. Take some time to learn more about assessing the condition and age of a truck by talking over your needs with a previously owned commercial truck dealer.

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