Fleet Truck Prices Soar, But Are Used Trucks Worth the Risk?
It’s a seller’s market, and right now, prices for new heavy-duty semi-trucks are pretty high. And with a limited supply, it begs the question — is it worth buying used semi trucks for fleets? We did some digging to find out.
U.S. Local Markets for Used Fleet Vehicles
An Atlanta area commercial vehicle dealer currently lists their 2022 Kenworth heavy-duty truck at $173,280 new. In the same market, a comparable used Volvo model was listed at $85,900 with 455k miles by another local metro Atlanta dealer.
We did a bit more digging, and the pricing through used semi vendors in the Texas and California markets are comparable to those in Atlanta.
Online Markets for Used Fleet Vehicles
On the other hand, considering an online retailer like Penske used trucks, you can get a used heavy-duty sleeper from around $49,000 to $80,000. So online retailers offer a better deal in some cases, but keep in mind the destination cost of these vehicles.
How Do I Know if Used Semi Trucks Are Worth the Investment?
Truckers are required to drive a maximum of 11 hours per day, according to the Hours of Service regulations. All things equal, at that rate; they’ll be driving about 55-60 miles per hour and will cover an average 600-650 miles by the end of their shift. So in a 40-hour workweek, we could easily assume 2600 miles on the vehicle.
If we assume that 750,000-1,000,000 miles of lifespan for the average semi-truck that’s well-maintained, that’s about 384 weeks of long haul trucking or 7.4 years.
So given prices for used trucks with 500,000 miles, is it worth paying 50% of the new cost? Possibly.
The other thing to consider is that as these trucks rack up more and more mileage, so will the repair bills. So in addition to the sunk cost of a used fleet asset, we’ve also got to consider the average annual cost of upkeep and repair on the vehicles.
Semi-truck maintenance and repairs are estimated to cost around $15,000 annually. Common issues include air/line hoses, alternators, wiring problems or brake repair for example. Additionally, annual tire expenses can run up to $4,000 a year with 16 tires being replaced every 18 months on an eighteen-wheeler as well.
Is a New Semi Truck Better than Used?
“We expect late-model pricing in June to clearly surpass the highest months in the post-Great Recession period,” … “In times like this it’s easier to justify the expense of a newer truck if it means better reliability and fuel economy and possibly a warranty,” said Chris Visser, J.D. Power Valuation Services commercial vehicles senior analyst and product manager in a recent interview.
What’s Best for Your Situation?
Ultimately, the best solution for you is the one that fits your needs and budget. Visser makes a good argument for the value in investing in a new fleet asset, but when supply is short, a used vehicle could be a good short-term solution for bottlenecks in your fleet where more vehicles mean more throughput.
How to Get the Most Out of a Used Semi Truck
One of the best ways to ensure you extract the maximum amount of value from your investment is to ensure that it’s maintained very well. One of the biggest time-drains for fleet managers is keeping up with an entire inventory of trucks and their maintenance schedule. But that’s where telematics comes in. With the help of connected hardware monitoring the health of the vehicle, error codes, and driver behavior, it’s much easier to plan and even predict when maintenance will be needed.
This is important for two key reasons. Firstly, preventative maintenance is almost always more cost-effective than reactive repair. Secondly, unplanned downtime causes a shockwave to your logistics, and it has become much more preventable thanks to solutions like these. If you’re investing in used fleet vehicles or you’d like to get a better handle on your fleet monitoring and maintenance, GPS Trackit can help.
If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help you optimize your fleet management and telematics, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.
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