No matter where you live in the United States, work trucks are ubiquitous in the American landscape. While these vehicles may be everywhere, buying the first one for your business can still be intimidating. If you're a contractor, there's a good chance your truck will ultimately become one of your most critical business assets, so choosing the right one is essential.
However, it's also easy to spend too much time looking at the wrong features and spend more money on capabilities you don't need. If you're still narrowing down your truck choices, these three questions can help build your shortlist.
1. Do You Need a Diesel or Gas Engine?
Your truck's fuel source will often be the first decision you'll need to make, and it's a critical one. Your primary consideration on this front will be torque output. The relationship between torque and horsepower is relatively easy to understand and, when dealing with work trucks, generally boils down to towing performance versus cruising performance.
Gas engines often produce more horsepower because they operate at a higher RPM range, providing better acceleration and overall performance when cruising. On the other hand, diesel engines offer more immediate torque output for hauling or towing while generally providing better gas mileage. The best option for you will depend on the unique needs of your business.
2. Are Off-Road Capabilities Important?
When it comes to off-road capabilities, the primary feature you'll be looking at will be your truck's drive wheels. In most cases, your options will be between rear-wheel drive (RWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD), although some truck manufacturers now offer more sophisticated all-wheel drive (AWD) systems. Whatever the case, it's important to understand that these features don't come without trade-offs.
A truck with more than two driven wheels will typically be heavier, have more components to maintain, and return worse fuel economy. These trade-offs may be acceptable if you typically operate on dirt service roads or drive through severe weather, but they can needlessly cost your business money if you don't. Consider your usage before deciding you need a 4WD or AWD truck for your business.
3. Do You Have Specific Tool or Storage Requirements?
Standard truck beds are acceptable for many contractors and offer more versatility than other options. However, some businesses require large amounts of specialized tool storage or need to haul awkward or bulky equipment. If you're using your truck more like a van than a traditional pickup truck, it may be worthwhile to consider buying a vehicle with a service body instead of a standard bed.
While installing a customized service body on your work truck will cost more upfront, it may save you money in the long run since you'll spend less upgrading and modifying your truck. More importantly, you'll have everything you need to keep your gear safe and secure. This option isn't suitable for all businesses, but it's worth considering if you have unique storage requirements.
Contact a local auto dealer to learn more.