Commercial vehicles are a class of motor vehicles used specifically for transporting goods or ferrying passengers for private needs and business profits.
Buying a new vehicle is always a good idea, but not everyone can afford to purchase a new one. This is when used vehicles come into the picture. Used vehicles are sold at a much lower price than the brand new ones. Purchasing used vehicles have its own set of advantages like engine being well toned.
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Leading online commercial vehicle marketplaces like indiamart, indotrux and motorbazee offer a wide variety of trucks and vans to choose from. Although you cannot get an idea on the vehicle’s condition online, you can contact the seller and set up a meeting in which you can inspect and arrive at a conclusion on the vehicle’s condition.
If you opt to buy commercial vehicles from a dealer, then you would have very limited options. It is wise to explore options before arriving at a purchase decision. Compare the prices offered by multiple dealers for the vehicle you want, also check the features of the vehicle, and ask for an add-on feature as a complementary benefit.
Many commercial vehicles are sold via auction and you may consider this as a viable option. You must remember that high intensity bidding can sometimes drive prices upwards and you end up paying more, unnecessarily.
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2) Research Thoroughly
The most important step in buying a used commercial vehicle is to get as much information as you can to determine if the vehicle is a right purchase. The three main parameters of inquiry are:
(1) Inspect the truck or van or any vehicle, right from the structural and mechanical pieces till the tyre treads and the vehicle’s mileage.
(2) Know the vehicle history, ask for information of use, maintenance, oil change, and service records, (and always go through public records using the vehicle’s VIN to find traffic records and the accident history)
(3) Know about the owner or the dealer by background checks and reputation through word of mouth.
3) Consider technological features
If the vehicle is more advanced such that you or your drivers are not capable of driving it around, then the operational learning curves could slow down the productivity.
On the other hand, advanced features will help in working smarter and faster, therefore you will have to strike a balance between innovation and familiarity. Make sure that commercial vehicles that you are purchasing, meet the state and federal requirements, which include safety measures and emissions standards.
4) Ensure the vehicle looks good
It’s easy to ignore the look of a used commercial vehicle, as long as it functions fine. But, the question is if the dealer or seller has not taken good care of the outer body of the vehicle, then how do you expect them to take better care of the main parts like the engine? You must be extra cautious when evaluating vehicles that look in bad shape. Do note that commercial vehicles should look good. If the look of the vehicle is not that great, but the main parts are good, then you must consider refurbishing to make it more attractive and professional.
5) Evaluate the overall cost
The Total Cost of Ownership, TCO, is found by adding the purchase cost with ownership costs (tyres, fluid and lube changes, maintenance / repairs / part replacements, insurance) and subtracting the resale value. Researching a vehicle’s condition and history as mentioned above, would help in forecasting when and where problems would arise and the average cost of maintenance, services and repairs. You must remember that a vehicle would require a major engine overhaul once it runs 7,00,000 miles.
Estimating and establishing an acceptable TCO that suits your financial situation, would give specific criteria for evaluating used commercial vehicles like trucks and vans.
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6) Ensure documentation is done
Ask the dealer or seller for proof of ownership of the vehicle. This is just to be sure that you are buying from the registered owner. The worst case scenario would be to purchase a stolen truck and the original bill or invoice would instantly provide the assurance that you need.
When buying second hand or used vehicles, you must always obtain a title transfer and a bill for sale of the vehicle. If a truck or van shows up with problems or doesn’t get delivered on time, then you have enough proof to push for refunds or take legal action.
7) Ask for a warranty
If you have doubts and questions over the condition of the used vehicle at the time of purchase, then you must strongly consider asking for a warranty or guarantee of the vehicle from the seller. Most commercial vehicle dealers offer some kind of warranty. The individuals who often sell trucks at lower prices than a franchised dealer are likely to not offer any warranty or guarantee. Hence, getting a warranty or guarantee is a factor to be considered while buying a second hand vehicle.
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