Top Tips for Buying Medium and Heavy-Duty Trucks at Auction
Truck auctions are an excellent option if you’re looking for quality trucks at good value prices. But before you start bidding, learn these tips. Purchasing a commercial truck at an auction can be risky for various reasons. You could end up with a car requiring more maintenance than expected.
Know Your Limits
The electric atmosphere at a truck auction can make getting caught up in the bidding easy. Before you know it, you’re paying far more than your budget allows. To avoid a costly mistake, determine the maximum price you can spend on the truck before the auction begins. Freightliner trucks for sale are categorized by class based on their maximum operating weight. Class 1-3 trucks, such as pickups and SUVs, are considered light-duty, while class 4 through 6 trucks—including moving vans, small buses and large tractors—are called medium-duty. The largest trucks, classified as class seven through nine, include heavy-duty vehicles like semi-trucks and big rigs. Buying at auction gives buyers access to older models that dealerships may want to avoid carrying on their lots. Additionally, it’s often easier to find trucks with specific specs that a dealer might have yet to stock. However, these vehicles may have a higher cost of ownership and require more frequent maintenance than newer models.
Research the Vehicle
Purchasing a truck can be a significant investment, and many options are on the market. You want to be sure you are making the right choice for your needs and getting the most bang for your buck. Your intended use of the truck will influence what features you are looking for, such as whether you need two or four-wheel drive and what engine size you prefer. It would be best if you also determined the truck’s GVW (gross vehicle weight) classification. Most box trucks fall into classes 3 through 6, while some large models can reach class 7. Once you have a list of requirements, consider what options you may want to add, such as the type of fairing, fuel tank size and placement or grille guard. If there are items that you can’t live without, you should discuss rolling those costs into your financing. Ask about the truck’s history and if any maintenance has been done. Also, get an ECM (engine control module) report and review it with a trusted expert who can decipher any engine codes and determine what the truck might need before you bid.
Set Your Bid Cap
Most people have heard the words “heavy duty” and “light-duty” thrown around, but the precise characterization of these trucks can be confusing. This is especially true for people shopping at auctions. Trucks are characterized by their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), which is the maximum rated weight of the truck with cargo and passengers. Trucks are classified as medium-duty if their GVWR is between 26,001 and 27,500 pounds and heavy-duty if it is more than 28,500 pounds. Many trucks used for construction and commercial purposes fall into this category. This is because they are designed to haul heavier loads over long distances and require a larger payload capacity than light-duty pickup trucks. In addition to the higher payload capacities, heavy-duty trucks are built for durability. They are typically made with high-tensile steel, aluminum, and molded plastic components, which give them strength and corrosion resistance. They also have more robust drivetrains and suspensions, which make them suitable for off-road driving. This makes them popular with off-road enthusiasts who want a truck that can handle rigorous use.
Visit the Truck in Person
Many in-person and online truck auctions allow bidders to do a visual inspection before bidding starts. This is a great opportunity to determine whether or not a certain truck meets your requirements, and if it does, how much to bid on it. When inspecting a truck, look for scratches, dirt, and rust that could indicate the vehicle has been damaged in the past. Also, pay attention to any signs of damage to the frame, crossmembers, springs, and suspension components. Consider the fuel economy of a truck when making your decision. If you plan on using the car for cargo hauling or towing, a higher fuel economy can save you money in the long run.
Additionally, a more fuel-efficient engine can reduce maintenance costs and emissions, so it’s an investment worth considering. Discuss your options with a dealer and consult the latest fuel economy standards before purchasing a truck. It’s also important to only buy from a reputable dealer. This will give you the best chance of getting assistance should something go wrong with your new truck after it leaves the dealership.
Inspect the Vehicle
When you hear “medium and heavy-duty trucks,” your mind may immediately think of hardware like tractor-trailers, flatbeds and refrigerated units. However, various vehicle types in these classifications can vary significantly regarding their capabilities and applications. Truck classifications aren’t just meaningless labels – they have real-world implications for drivers and businesses. For instance, knowing which truck class your vehicle falls under can help you avoid overloading it with cargo, crossing bridges at the wrong times and complying with strict legal guidelines regarding driver availability, mandatory drug tests and maintenance schedules. Before you bid on any truck, please take a good look at it and perform an inspection. Start by pulling the hood and looking for any signs of leaks. Try listening to the engine if you can’t find any visible problems. If you hear any knocking or squealing noises, it may indicate that the engine needs repair or hasn’t been maintained properly. Also, check the air filter for any oil stains and look at the last mileage marking on the oil dipstick to see when it was changed last.