Truck buying tips

A 2016 Guide to Buying Trucks

Trucks purchases tend to depend on a number of issues. The trucks in the light and medium market segments tend to sell faster than the heavy duty segment. This is due to the fact that nearly 3 in every 5 truck buyers buys it for personal towing purposes. 

Truck Features                                                                                                                             

Cab designs for trucks come in three different types, regular cab, extended cab and crew cab which have four full-size doors. The popular light duty truck ranges from $20,000-50,000. Most company trucks offer 4 and 6-cylinder engines while most full-size trucks rely on V8 engines. A lot of trucks have incorporated basic safety features including airbags, stability and cruise control and they have published crash score tests.

Interior décor, towing capacity, operational costs and versatility are also big issues to consider. Based on all these factors there are a number of trucks that make the cut for review in 2016. The trucks fall into three major categories compact, light duty and heavy duty. Heavy duty trucks require conspicuity tape on their trailers.

Latest Compact/Light/Heavy Trucks                                                               

  Under compact category, 2016 Chevrolet Colorado stands at 5.2-6.2 ft. bed length and 100,000 mileage. It is smaller, more manoeuvrable and fuel-efficient with a government test crash rating of 4 out of 5.  Still under the compact truck segment, the 2016 GMC Canyon has a total seating capacity of 5 people and it’s available in RWD and 4WD. Though it costs much more it has the options of a 2.5ltr 4-cylinder engine, 3.6 litre V6 gasoline and the 2016 Toyota Tacoma.

In the light-duty category, you have the 2016 Ram 1500, the 2016 Ford F-150, the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado and the 2016 GMC Sierra. The heavy duty category has 2016 Ram 2500 / 3500, 2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500 / 3500, the 2016 Ford F-250 / F-350 / F-450 and 2016 GMC Sierra 2500 / 3500.

List of Top Truck Manufacturers.                                                                         

The German manufacturers Daimler remains the top truck manufacturer in the world after churning out over 377,000 truck orders. Their main brands are Mercedes-Benz, Sterling Trucks, Unimog, Freightliner Trucks and Mitsubishi Fuso and Western Star

Volvo global    Trucks in Sweden comes in a distant second with 158, 000 truck orders. Their main brands are Mack Trucks, Renault Trucks and UD Trucks. German dominates the top five categories with the Munich-based MAN churching out 91, 000 truck orders at number 3.

The fourth spot goes to another German truck manufacturer, the Scania. This Koblenz based firm churned out 57, 000 trucks. Navistar in the United States comes in at fifth with 28, 000 orders.  The other top truck manufacturers include Dongfeng, Tata group, Volkswagen, Ford and Paccar.

The myths of diesel

5 Myths about Having Diesel engines

Heavy trucks are mainly used for handling and hauling heavy weight which means they need heavy torque. These exceptionally high torques can easily be achieved by diesel engines. The reason most trucks use diesel instead of petrol engines is because diesel engines produce lower speeds but high torque.

There are certain myths that are persistently bandied onto the diesel engines regarding their durability, performance and versatility.  Given the increasing popularly of diesel engines in recent years let me address a few of these myths.

I. Diesel Price is higher than gasoline price. Diesel production is not more expensive that gasoline production. In the instance that diesel is more expensive than gasoline the difference can be attributed to taxation and pump owners. The availability also shapes the prices. Higher diesel demands shoot the prices up which accounts for the places where diesel cost more than gasoline at the pump.

II. Diesel is dirty. The thick black fumes emitted by diesel trucks is because of particulate matter from the car exhaust system as well as accumulated soot. Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) can easily rectify this huge smoke production by cutting down the smoke fumes to a mere 5%. This works by having the fuel burn into the combustion engines producing heat that activates the DPF to burn out the accumulating soot.

III. Diesel Fuel Freezes in winter. Cold-starting, modern day engines technologies is a very simple and efficient inclusion in most trucks. When the temperature hits 5 degrees Celsius some diesel hydrocarbons turn gelatinous causing the fuel to jell. Vehicles with glow plugs can easily warm up and aerosolize the fuel and the car starts without any difficulty.

IV. Diesel Engines Are Sluggish. Because trucks are the most common users of diesel and because most of them drive slowly, it is often falsely concluded that diesel engines are therefore slow. The truth is most trucks always carry or tow heavy loads, that’s why they need the high torque.  Diesel engines are very efficient at the 65 miles per hour and below speeds which is where most driving happens anyway. You will find diesel engines are faster, more efficient with great acceleration and consumption.

V. Most Pumps Don’t Sell Diesel. Given the popularity of diesel engine cars, the neighbourhood pumps all have diesel. Anyone who has driven diesel trucks for long will tell you that there are a countable number of pumps that do not have diesel. You probably have the same number of pumps that have gasoline as those that have diesel. Point to note is that diesel engines have become popular owing to their fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions relative to gasoline truck engines.

The appeal of pickup trucks

Why Do People Buy Pickup Trucks?

The popularity of fuel trucks is driven by a number of issues. For some, it is a symbol of utility, drive, self-sufficiency and machismo. In states like Texas, it is considered part of the cowboy culture. Meanwhile, in mining towns, it is considered the proper vehicle for moving around, a fact that is also true for farming communities.

Truck purchases have defied pump prices with the purchase inching up by over 300,000 in 2003/4 even though the pump prices also went up by 20 cents. The same trend can be seen over the next 6 years up to 2009 as the truck purchases defy the changes in pump prices. Given that there is no correlation between pump prices and trucks purchases the question becomes, what drives these purchases?

Vehicle Utility. People need trucks irrespective of pump prices. Trucks are needed for deliveries, by cops, in farms, mining areas, construction sites, fire rescue and hundreds of other uses. Because of their multiple and ever increasing uses, the fuel prices becomes merely one of the factors but not the main issue driving the rise or decline in the purchase of trucks. There are just no alternative vehicles that can perform the work that trucks do. Interestingly according to the 2009 issue of Automotive News only 40% of vehicles sold in the US are ‘work trucks. So how do you account for the remaining 60% of trucks bought? 

Image. An interesting 17% of truck buyers do it for the image that it projects. Trucks communicate bravado, capacity, strength, wealth and enable one to fit in with the crowd in places like Texas or the Midwest. Everyone in the image category wants to have the biggest, fastest and most powerful truck on the road. Most trucks are much more expensive that a lot of other types of vehicles. The image factor ranges from premium packages, special features and above average power.

Towing. This constitutes the highest number of those who purchase trucks. We cannot categorise towing in the ‘work’ category since most of this towing is personal use. Most of the towing involve recreational equipment, jet skis and trailers. They also tow dirt bikes, boats, race cars and campers in the towing category. Those who use them for towing purchases are the category that is most likely to be fuel conscious.

Given that anyone who buys trucks will is likely to spend more than those who buy other types of vehicles, it means costs and fuel will never really be a big issue. And as long as communities continue to spend more time outdoors and need to tow, the demand for trucks will always inch up.

Truck groups

The Major Categories of Trucks

There are a number of ways of classifying trucks with most trucks falling into three major classifications. These are light trucks, medium trucks and heavy trucks. There are also very heavy trucks and transporters, for example, those who haul oversized and special cargo. There are also those that are off-road which are usually used in mining locations.

Different countries have a different classification for trucks in their automobile categories. In Britain for example, any car above 7.5 tons is considered heavy with an additional 750 kgs allowed if its towing. Meanwhile, after 1997, the government reduced the tonnage for light vehicles to 3.5 tons.

Light Trucks.                                                                                                                   On the lower end, there is the mini truck as well as the light truck. Pickup trucks are larger than mini-trucks but lighter than medium sized trucks. In the US, all trucks below 6.3 tons are considered light trucks. Minivans, Sports utility vehicles, pickup trucks, canopy express and panel trucks are all light trucks. Under this category, you also have panel vans, tow trucks, cab forward, and sedan delivery. Point to note is that there are tow trucks that also fall in the medium and heavy trucks categories.

Medium trucks                                                                                                                    In this category all trucks are larger than light trucks but lighter than the heavy trucks. They usually weigh between 6.3 tons and 11.7 tons. In the US automobile categorization, a medium sized truck is larger than a heavy duty pickup. The box trucks, platform trucks, flatbed trucks, vans, cutaway van chassis, medium standard truck, medium duty truck and recreational vehicles fall into this category. Fire trucks and flatbed trucks have both medium-sized and heavy sized types. Delivery trucks, bottlers and multi-shop trucks are utility functions mostly fitted and associated with medium sized trucks.

Heavy trucks                                                                                                             Heavy duty trucks is a category that accommodates all trucks with a tonnage above the medium duty truck specifications. They fall under 11.7 tonnages up to 14.9 tons. Beyond this, there is no higher on-road classification for trucks. Concrete transport truck (cement mixer), log carriers, dump trucks, Tractor unit, Garbage truck, mobile crane, Tank truck and refrigerator trucks fall under his category.

Haul Trucks and Specialized Trucks                                                                  Vehicles in this category tend to be mostly off-road oriented. They are far too heavy and too large for use on highways without escorts, special permits and public announcements. In this category, we have the vehicles used to transport ALMA antennas. You also have the ballast tractor-a very heavy haul truck used to tow exceptional loads, heavy haulers, which have incredible power source and massive hauling capacities. Lastly, there are the off-road haul trucks used in mining operations