Transportation is a booming industry, and trucking companies are adding thousands of drivers to their ranks every year. While all that expansion ultimately means higher profits, it also means more machinery. A brand-new heavy-duty truck isn’t cheap, and as a result, many companies (and owner-operators) are looking into purchasing heavily discounted used trucks to add to their fleets.
Unfortunately, no company should count their used trucks before they’re driven. Often, sellers will be misleading about a used commercial vehicle’s information ― if they don’t lie outright ― which means buyers must be particularly careful when considering a used heavy-duty truck. Here’s what buyers should know about buying used before they make major mistakes in their scramble to cut costs.
First and foremost: Every used semi is going to be a gamble. An older truck is never a better truck, and most drivers question whether a truck past the half-million-mile mark can even be considered good. Though buyers might get excited by the low prices of used rigs, ultimately purchasing a used semi is spending money for the luxury of someone else’s unwanted leftovers, and only in certain circumstances is that a good deal.
Third-party sellers ― such as owner-operators ― are the least reliable source of pre-owned trucks. Unless the buyer knows the seller personally, it is a significant risk to acquire a used vehicle from a third party. The seller could be lying about any number of features, from the rig’s condition to its comfort, which makes thorough inspections absolutely necessary.
Some heavy-duty truck dealers do business with both new and used rigs. Such sources of pre-owned vehicles are perhaps the only reliable way for buyers to acquire a worthwhile truck. Dealerships conduct rigorous examinations of their stock, whether it be new or used, and any car purchased from a dealer comes with policies should buyers discover faults after putting down money. Though you might pay a little extra to make a deal with a dealership, buyers will probably be more satisfied with their used trucks in the years to come.
All truckers ― all professionals in the transportation industry ― agree that those who have the means to purchase a new truck absolutely should. New big rigs require almost no repairs for a while, which means the wheels are on the road longer, making owners more money and costing them less overall. Plus, newer makes and models, especially the latest Volvo commercial trucks, have amazing technological features, including better fuel economy and selective catalytic reduction, which help owners save even more on maintenance.
Of course, there are downsides to purchasing a new semi. For one, initial price is likely to be higher. However, financial institutions are usually much more enthusiastic at helping you find funding for a brand-new vehicle that they know will stay on the road and be safer.
For another, buyers must consider whether they should strive to own or whether leasing is the right path. Leasing provides new or small businesses access to equipment to earn profits without bogging them down with upfront costs ― or in some cases, maintenance costs. However, ownership is usually ideal, as it builds physical capital and financial independence that businesses need to thrive. This decision is another complicated step necessary in buying a new big rig.
Acquiring a heavy-duty commercial vehicle is a big step for companies and owner-operators alike, which makes it even more important that all prospective buyers get the facts beforehand. When it comes to used trucks, buyers should be wary of scams that will keep their wheels off the road. Meanwhile, new trucks seem perfect ― until one considers the tricky hoops to jump through in the purchasing process. Ultimately, as long as buyers find trustworthy sellers, they should be able to find an excellent deal.
Bilal Sajjad is a full-time writer who loves to write about new cars, classic cars and good at writing about cars racing as well.
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