6 Things to Consider When Buying a Dump Truck
For children, seeing a dump truck is exciting.. Watching these big behemoths of the truck world haul heavy loads down highways and around job sites, just to dump them in another location, is one of the most thrilling experiences a kid can have.
However, most people don’t buy a dump truck to achieve fame and glory. They buy a dump truck for one simple reason – to make money. In order to do that, you don’t want to waste money on features or extra performance that you don’t need. However, you also don’t want to skimp on the important details that allow you to work effectively and efficiently for your required operations.
Tips for Choosing a Dump Truck
Whether you are planning to purchase a brand new dump truck or you are looking for a suitable used model, here are some important things to consider before making your investment. These ideas will help ensure that you don’t end up with more or less truck than you actually need. That way you can optimize your investment and get down to business.
Talk to Your Dealer.
You’ll want to tap into the expertise of your utility vehicle or dump truck dealer. Talk to your local dealer, explain your usage needs, and ask lots of questions. A good dealer not only has knowledge about dump truck specs and performance, but also knows the needs and legal regulations of your local area.Make sure to describe what you’ll be hauling, on and off-road usage, how many highway miles you’ll be traveling, and how long you plan to use the truck. With this information, your dealer can help determine the correct gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), appropriate suspension, and most useful tire treads to fit your needs. They can also select the relevant type and capacity of the dump box.
It is true that a dealer is in business to make money and their ultimate goal is to sell you a dump truck. However, customer satisfaction is an important part of business, and ultimately a dealer’s success hinges on their ability to match their customers with the best dump truck to fit their needs.
Choosing the Right Engine.
Since the ultimate goal of purchasing a dump truck is to make money, you certainly don’t want to waste any. An easy way to do just that is to purchase more horsepower than you actually need.Power output from typical dump truck engines can range from 300 to 600 horsepower. If you will be hauling lighter loads or operating mostly on flat terrain, a smaller engine with less horsepower is enough to get the job done. However, heavy loads over hilly terrain may require a larger and more powerful engine in order to keep speed on steep grades.
Engine size and power may be the most important consideration when choosing a dump truck. You never want to be under powered, but using a large powerful engine for frequent light hauling will create an unnecessarily high operating expense.
Weight Hauling Needs and Axle Requirements.
A dump truck’s gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR, is the maximum operating weight specified by the truck’s manufacturer. This weight includes more than just the weight of the cargo. The weight of the chassis, body, engine, fuel, and driver also must be factored in.
Federal law limits the gross weight of dump trucks based on the number of axles in the truck’s construction. These laws are in place to protect highways and bridges from excessive damage. The fewer axles a dump truck has, the lower the weight that truck can legally carry on public roads. Make sure to check the local and federal laws regulating weight and axle numbers with the Department of Transportation for laws before making your final purchase.
Choosing a Transmission.
There are several types of transmissions to choose from, each with its own set of advantages.
A manual transmission is the most popular choice when it comes to dump trucks, mostly because of performance and the wide range of gear options available. The more gear choices the truck’s transmission has to offer, the easier it will be to match the truck’s engine speed to any individual task. For example, a low gear will help increase the dump truck’s maneuverability on soft mud or sand, while a multi-speed reverse will prove useful for jobs that require backing up over long distances. A manual transmission is also a smart choice if you will be operating over steep terrain.
An automatic transmission with a flexible torque converter may be more expensive than the typical manual transmission, but it has its own advantages. Because a truck with an automatic transmission doesn’t require gear shifting, it can be more accommodating for new or inexperienced drivers. Also, since there is no clutch to press or gears to shift, there is generally less driver fatigue. This can be an important consideration for tiring all-day operations, especially for older drivers.
Another lesser known type of transmission is the automated manual transmission. This type of transmission integrates the best qualities of a manual and an automatic transmission. Electronic sensors and actuators do the shifting for you in place of the clutch and hand gear shifting. This type of transmission is gaining popularity because of its lighter weight and energy efficiency, as well as its ease of use.
A lot of contractors are moving to dump trucks with lightweight aluminum bodies in order to reduce the dump truck’s overall weight. This can be a great option for hauling finer materials such as sand or fill dirt. However, be aware that harsher materials such as asphalt, gravel, and concrete can be overly abusive to a softer aluminum dump body. When dealing with stone, rock and other heavy or abrasive load materials, you may need to consider the harder impact-resistance of steel.
New or Used.
Budget is a major factor when it comes to deciding whether to purchase a new or used dump truck. While a brand new dump truck is obviously the most reliable choice, it is also the most expensive. Looking for a used dump truck can offer purchase options with a wider range of prices.
Pricing of used dump trucks is dependent on their condition and previous usage. You’ll need to look at more than just mileage when deciding on a used dump truck, however. A dump truck that has seen tough usage over rough terrain may have experienced rougher treatment and more wear than a truck that has seen lots of easier highway miles.
The best part about owning a dump truck is that there is always a need to move big heavy loads, so there is always money-making potential. However, make sure the dump truck you purchase fits the jobs you’ll be doing, otherwise, you may end up spending more money than you’ll actually make.