We know you love your Freightliner truck, and for good reasons. Nonetheless, there comes a time when you need to think about retiring that rig and replacing it. But truck buying is a serious decision. Your livelihood and on-the-job-comfort depend on it. So should you invest in a brand new Freightliner, or buy used?
There’s a lot to consider before you’ll know whether which choice is right for you. And there’s no set formula you can use to tote up the pros and cons of each option. Truck buying is a very personal decision – functionally, financially and even emotionally. Availability may well affect your decision, too, if you’re considering a used truck.
Vehicle lifespans are different these days
Fleet managers used to keep trucks 3 to 5 years, then pass them along to the used truck marketplace. In recent years, though, we’ve seen more used trucks becoming available that are only about 2 years old. Thanks to dramatic improvements in emissions control and fuel economy, it’s cheaper to operate a brand new Freightliner Cascadia Evolution than a similar model that is just a couple of years old.
For fleets that operate large numbers of trucks, those savings add up fast, so replacing newish trucks with the very latest version brings a strong return on investment. That’s not necessarily so for an owner-operator. You’ll certainly see the savings, but with a single truck the economies of scale won’t benefit you as quickly.
So while you wouldn’t want to ditch a 2-year-old truck for a new one, you might find a lightly-used truck on the market that has more advanced features and fewer miles on it than you had expected.
You don’t have to go whole hog
Freightliner trucks have earned their reputation for durability and reliability the hard way – proving themselves over decades of use and millions of miles. So why not consider a glider – a new-used hybrid? Freightliner offers these new trucks with a rebuilt and remanufactured powertrain for about 25% less than the cost of a totally new truck. Since the glider is technically used, you can avoid the federal excise tax – a significant 12% savings.
How do you compare new versus used?
Consider how you use your rig. Do you criss-cross the country or operate only locally or regionally? Industry experts suggest that the more you drive per year, the more important it is to choose a new truck. Overall, though, you’ll want to make a comprehensive list of what you’re spending now to operate your current truck, then determine what those same costs would be for whatever new/used truck you’re considering.
For example, you should look at:
- Truck payment, whether you buy or lease
- Insurance cost
- Annual fuel cost
- Fuel consumption
- Annual service/maintenance costs
- Annual miles driven
With these figures, you can calculate your cost per mile for a year. But you should also consider features and amenities that a new vehicle might offer that could affect your annual costs. Things like on-board communications technologies or creature comforts.
In general a used truck will cost less to buy and insure but have higher maintenance costs, whereas a new truck will cost more to purchase and insure but bring operational savings. Perhaps savings so significant they will pay for the truck. As noted above, many fleets are switching to the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution in large part for the tremendous fuel economy.
Leaning toward used? Check out SelecTruck
Daimler Trucks North America offers a program called SelecTruck, through which you can find used trucks that have been thoroughly vetted. You can find a wide range of late-model Freightliner rigs, all of which have been inspected and come with excellent warranties and OEM-backed support. The program offers financing, too.
In the end, the decision to buy new or used depends on you. How and where you operate, your personal preferences, and of course the financials. After all, you’re in business to make a profit.