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Buying Used? Learn from a Major Seller

By on March 1, 2018
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What You Should Know Before You Buy

By: Erek Starnes, VP of Equipment Leasing and Sales, Swift Leasing Co., LLC, Memphis, TN

If you ever have or are currently thinking about buying a used truck or trailer, you’re likely to find this article to be of value in shaping your thought process and seeking the necessary information to make truly informed decisions. At Swift Transportation and Knight Transportation, the equipment purchased from us by second owners is in our thought process long before our original purchase and long after the sale to you. How can that be?

When we’re looking to purchase a block of new trucks for our two fleets, we’re looking at the following areas well before any final purchase decisions are made:

  • Safety features, always the number one criteria
  • Driver comfort and ease of operation
  • Integration of useful technologies
  • Fuel efficiency and emissions compliance
  • Application details, how the equipment will be used
  • Estimated annual owning and operating costs for years 1, 2, 3 and maybe 4
  • Projected backside residual values

Rigorous Evaluation Process

We have a team that evaluates new truck offerings from the OE manufacturers. In addition to the categories listed above, our real-time, real-world evaluations go several steps deeper. We evaluate technology updates, test all componentry, compare specs, and validate the projected life and payback of a given truck model.

Compared to projections and expectations, actual recorded history tells us the accuracy of our pre-purchase evaluations. But that’s only one factor. Truck models change, technology improves, manufacturers are constantly raising the performance bar in their efforts to increase the consideration and preference for their respective products. Placing some of these newer models in our fleet and documenting actual performance is something that’s just not possible for smaller fleets and owner operators.

On average, we prepare more than 300 trucks for resale every month. 

We have several test trucks on the road at any given time, and put them through a rigorous analysis. We’re able to test in various conditions all across the country, including extreme cold, extreme heat, long-haul and mountainous applications. We’re testing engines and powertrains, emissions systems, brakes, hubs, wheel seals, and other components, all at 95% or more of their GVW numbers. Safety has taken on elevated status with the recent introductions of collision avoidance systems, adaptive cruise control, and lane change alerts.

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Resale Prep

Depending on application and mileage, we typically sell trucks between 38- and 48-months after original purchase. Approximately 75% of their useful lives remain. The majority still have remaining OE engine and drivetrain warranties that are transferred to new owners. When they come into our shops, trucks are subjected to major cleaning. Their maintenance records are checked. Routine servicing is completed. Any repairs and outstanding recall orders and service bulletin updates are completed. Any body damage and cosmetic repairs including repainting are completed. Trucks leave our facilities ready to hit the road and begin earning for second owners. We’ll even install customers’ lettering and graphics.

We have experienced technicians and sales teams at each of seven locations. They work with customers to determine their needs, match trucks to specific applications and assure trucks meet and, in most cases, exceed OE and fleet specifications. No shortcuts, no secondary parts are utilized. Trucks are DOT certified ready, including the DPF systems. Satisfied customers are excellent sources for repeat business and referrals to others. Building trust and enduring relationships are top priorities that influence our entire approach to preparing and selling used trucks and trailers.

On average, we prepare more than 300 trucks for resale every month. They’re inventoried at: Fontana, CA; Phoenix, AZ; West Valley, UT; Corsicana, TX; Memphis, TN; Greer. SC; and Columbus, OH. On average, almost 500 trailers are prepped for resale every month and inventoried at all 42 of our terminal locations. With our nationwide network, we can easily transfer inventory to a location close to our customers. Once equipment is sold, we maintain contact with the purchasers to make sure they’re satisfied.

Ancillary Services

Secondary warranties are available for those who would like higher levels of protection on power trains, other mechanical components, even entire trucks. A range of third-party financing partners can accommodate almost any buyer situation, including A, B, C and D credit ratings. When buying a truck from other sources, you may not know if you’re the second, third or fourth owner. A lot of history is lost; a lot of problems can be covered up. With Swift, you’re assured of being the second owner. We speced and bought each truck new, maintained it, know its complete history, and prepared it for resale.

We typically sell trucks to fleets in the 50, 100, 150 range, plus firms who lease vehicles to others and owner operators. You know Swift used trucks are desirable when many of our company drivers wish to purchase their own trucks and move into the ranks of owner operators. If someone wants a fleet of trucks that are identically equipped, we can provide them. Driver and maintenance training are also part of many transactions. We like it when new owners come to our facilities to pick up their newly purchased used trucks. We cover the location and functioning of every button, switch, gauge, and gadget. Contacts for follow-up questions are also provided.

Easy to Learn More

At SwiftEquipmentSales.com, you can see the complete inventory of Swift and Knight trucks, dry vans, refers, flat beds and step decks. Be sure to watch a 3-minute video entitled, “3 Reasons to Buy a Decommissioned Swift Truck.” You’ll see everything you just read about and more. The inventory is updated in real time to keep you apprised of what’s available. When customers are looking to purchase used trucks, they easily enter an order with their exact specifications. The opportunity to discuss your needs would be appreciated. Just call us today at 888-292-0689.

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