Commercial trucks are essential for a variety of professions and industries — from contractors and agriculture to food service and delivery. But when faced with the need to buy, is it better to invest in something new or consider pre-owned options?
In this guide, we’ll break down six main areas to consider in terms of new versus pre-owned trucks to help you determine the best choice for your next purchase.
Cost is always one of the biggest concerns, and for good reason. In general, new trucks tend to be more expensive, but that’s not always the case, since you’ll need to factor in the make, model, year, mileage, and trim level.
For example, a 2023 Ford F-150 starts at $33,695, but a 2021 or 2023 Ford F-150 with a more advanced trim option and relatively low mileage will be priced higher — typically around $50,000 or $60,000.
Other considerations when it comes to cost include:
- Newer trucks are typically under both a powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranty for a certain number of years or a specific mileage, whichever comes first. Pre-owned trucks may still be under warranty if they are still relatively new.
- A key drawback to new vehicles is how quickly they will depreciate. Do the math in your research.
- Don’t rule out electric vehicles. While EVs are typically more expensive, they can often provide a better return on investment over the lifecycle of the vehicle. Plus, 100% electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles that were purchased prior to January 1, 2023 may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500.
Newer trucks are often more reliable since they haven’t been subjected to wear and tear. But pre-owned trucks can be just as solid of a choice, depending on the make, model, year, and how the vehicle was treated.
It’s no secret that pre-owned vehicles will have some type of maintenance history (a mark of smart vehicle ownership), but make sure you request a CARFAX report. This will detail any accident data, service history, how the vehicle was used, and previous ownership information — all of which can factor into your decision about whether a pre-owned truck is worth it.
New trucks may be more difficult to find, depending on the make, model, trim level, exact features, and color that you want. You may also face longer lead times for delivery. Pre-owned trucks, on the other hand, may be more readily available, but you might need to compromise on certain features or options.
4. Environmental Impact
More and more fleets are considering their carbon footprint and the environmental impact of their fleets. Depending on the make and model, new trucks can be more fuel efficient and emit fewer emissions. But there is something to be said for buying a pre-owned vehicle. Though older vehicles may be less fuel efficient, purchasing a used truck helps extend the life of the vehicle and reduces the demand for new manufacturing.
5. Resale Value
It might be hard to think about reselling a vehicle before you’ve even purchased it, but keep in mind that newer pre-owned vehicles tend to have a higher resale value since they typically don’t have the same wear and tear as an older vehicle. On the flip side, you may not make as much selling an older truck, but the lower price tag might entice more buyers. It all depends on what people are looking for at the time.
Trucks that typically hold their value include the Toyota Tacoma (light duty), Toyota Tundra, Dodge RAM 1500, Ford F-150, and Chevy Silverado.
If you’re seeking the latest and greatest features and technology, consider buying new — or at least a pre-owned vehicle that’s a few years old at the most. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Features will vary by make, model, year, and trim level. Before you start comparing new versus pre-owned vehicles, prioritize which features are must-haves.
- The model year may not matter as much, depending on whether any features were added year to year.
- Remember that certain features come standard while others are optional. If you have a specific list of must-have features, a new truck may be the way to go in order to have everything you want.
There are a lot of features to consider, and the list may be overwhelming. But here are some of the most common truck features you should think about.
- Adaptive cruise control.
- Automatic high beams.
- Blind spot monitoring.
- Cruise control.
- Emergency brake assist.
- Forward collision warning.
- Power tailgate/liftgate.
- Tow hitch/tow package.
- Turbo-charge engine.
- Rearview camera.
There are many, many more including the option for keyless entry, heated seats, wireless charging capabilities, and parking assistance. Buying a new truck allows you to customize the vehicle to your exact specifications, but you may be able to find what you’re looking for in a used vehicle as well.
At the end of the day, buying new vs. pre-owned will depend on many of the factors discussed above — including personal preference. Just remember to prioritize areas of importance to ensure that you find the right vehicle for your budget and business needs.
About the Author: Dawn McQueeney serves as marketing manager at Merchants Auto. Joining in 2020, she brings more than 15 years of marketing experience. McQueeney has helped elevate the customer experience in the dealership showroom so that every visit is positive.