Contributing author Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. A Ringgold, VA based carrier. Joey started his company in 2010 after serving time as an unhappy employee with a local trucking company. The time spent there was not fun but, in hindsight, was a turning point that propelled Joey into the wonderful world of being an entrepreneur. Please visit JoeySlaughter.net for more insightful blogging.
There are many factors to consider when buying a truck. New or used? There’s just no simple answer because we’re all coming at it from different angles. Years ago, the large carriers would get new vehicles every 3 to 5 years, thus flooding the used market with trucks. Now, with all the recent advancements in fuel economy and emissions, some of the large carriers are shortening their life cycles as they’ve found it more advantageous to remarket their trucks after 2 years and recoup a cost savings by the vast fuel efficiency that a Freightliner Cascadia Evolution will give them.
Then you have the option to buy a glider. These are new trucks that have rebuilt and remanufactured powertrains. They can cost 25% less than a comparable new truck and are often exempt from the 12% FET (Federal Excise Tax). Most come with a rebuilt Detroit 12.7L Series 60 engine and as of late have been having a lot of problems. Some believe that this is due to the high demand for these engine blocks and the mismatch of components as the supply has tightened.
As a predominantly regional owner-operator, I prefer to buy used trucks. To be more precise, I recommend a SelecTruck as they have gone through rigorous inspections and are even available with a warranty. You can read more about this choice from a recent blog here.
The math must make sense no matter what choice you make. By that I mean you must calculate your cost to operate for each truck you’re considering buying. If you already have a truck, you should know this anyway.
Your cost to operate your truck per mile is based on:
- Truck payments
- Truck insurance
- Fuel cost
- Fuel economy
- Maintenance cost
There are more items that make up a cost per mile, but they would be the same no matter what truck you drive. Things like cell phones, load boards, etc… The ones mentioned above will differ from truck to truck so they must be considered.
Once you’ve determined your cost per mile to operate your current truck, calculate your new truck choice cost per mile. Of course your payment will go up and your insurance will do up but more than likely so you will your fuel economy. And your maintenance costs will go down. So a new truck can save you money depending on what you’re coming from. I’ve talked to someone who left a classic style truck and bought a brand new Freightliner Cascadia Evolution. The fuel savings alone made the payments for the truck. Sometimes you have to look at it that way.
In review, consider these things when deciding on a used or new truck:
- Higher payment (Con)
- Higher insurance (Con)
- Better fuel economy (Pro)
- Lower maintenance costs (Pro)
- Lower payment (Pro)
- Lower insurance (Pro)
- Lower fuel economy (Con)
- Higher maintenance costs (Con)
After you’ve crunched the numbers, the correct choice should be evident.
Thanks to TruckStockImages.com for the use of this photo.