When shopping for used vacuum trucks, you need to strike a balance between a lower powered vacuum truck loader at a lower cost and a more powerful machine at a higher upfront cost. For example, a lower powered machine, used for vacuum excavation, will limit the number of potholes you can complete in a day. A more powerful, more productive potholing system will allow you to complete more potholes during the work day.
What’s Your Budget?
- Before buying a used vacuum truck, you need to first figure out your budget.
- Financing, are you using a bank or a leasing company?
- Oil and gas cost.
- Insurance – collision and liability.
- Operating costs – tune-ups, tires, body cleaning, engine and hydraulic systems service.
Investing in industrial vacuum trucks is an important business decision, so it needs to be thoroughly investigated before purchasing.
New, Used, or Refurbished?
- A budget will help determine what kind of vacuum truck you can afford. Then you can match the budget with the right equipment.
- If buying a new vacuum truck find out the warranty terms and the local support.
- If buying used vacuum trucks check all service records and inspect prior to purchase including an oil analysis.
If buying a refurbished septic vacuum truck obtain all documentation on work done and warranty support.
Related article: Vacuum Truck Rentals
Purchase With Patience
If you want the best deal, be patient and take your time. Once you’ve identified a machine that suits your needs, thoroughly inspect it yourself or have a mechanic inspect the equipment prior to accepting delivery
Make sure what you’ve purchased matches exactly what you specified.
Thoroughly read the vacuum truck manufacturer manual and follow the maintenance schedule to protect your investment for the long term.
Purchasing Used Vacuum Trucks
“The Golden rule to a vacuum truck evaluation, is to inspect everything to your own satisfaction”
Whether you are a dealer or customer, purchasing a used vacuum truck is a buyer beware situation. However you can take systematic steps to maximize your value for money when purchasing.
1 First inspect the truck as well as possible. Make sure that you or a trusted third party consultant, a mechanic or a broker physically operates the machine, making sure that each component works – inspect the chassis for rust or damage. Review all available maintenance records – even then you can’t be sure.
2 Before initiating a physical inspection phone the owner and find out as much as possible about the condition beforehand. If there are major discrepancies upon physical inspection then you may want to walk away from this machine.
3 Hours and miles are only a part of the overall condition of the machine. Many variables can affect the condition of the truck. The owner or owners give an indication of the type of use and also the level of maintenance. Municipality owned machines are the most well maintained of all, as opposed to small contractors who may not be as vigilant nor disciplined maintaining a vacuum truck. If you are unable to see the machine yourself, hire a local truck mechanic to inspect and write up a report.
4 Used vacuum trucks come from all kinds of applications from slurry to clay soil pickup. If at all possible run the machine in the exact same conditions you hope to operate in. A used vacuum excavator will have had very different service life than a sewer pipe cleaning or catch basin cleaning truck.
5 Call the vacuum truck manufacturer and try to obtain the original build specifications and also any bulletins on recalls or upgrades. Reputable manufacturers will gladly comply, hoping you will come back and buy a new machine one day.
Once you’ve tabulated all parts needed to be replaced including costs and labor, you now have a complete picture of the total cost of operation of the machine. Considering these costs and future maintenance costs, then also consider the cost of a used truck versus new. Is there a large difference in cost? If not, maybe this used machine hasn’t enough value to be shortlisted for purchase, then you may want to continue researching for other used vacuum trucks for sale.