Usually when we think of the trucking industry we think of the big dry van and flatbed truck. You know the image is of a fancy rig hauling the long van/box trailer. Of course they do make up a large percentage of the trucking industry, but there is much more into it. After all, we are all familiar with reefers and flatbed trailers, even have seen a load of new cars being hauled to the dealership. But even small flatbed trucks should be a part of your fleet.
Actually commercial vehicles come in all shapes and sizes from small taxis to large passenger buses. Even just within the trucking industry there are several types of vehicles. They all vary by classification, based on their Cross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The United States Department of Transportation identifies them using one of the following eight classifications.
- Class 1- is from 0 to 6,000 pounds (0 to 2,722 kg)
- Class 2- is from 6,001 to 10,000 pounds (2,722 to 4,536 kg)
- Class 3- is from 10,001 to 14,000 pounds (4,536 to 6,350 kg)
- Class 4- is from 14,001 to 16,000 pounds (6,351 to 7,257 kg)
- Class 5- is from 16,001 to 19,500 pounds (7,258 to 8,845 kg).
- Class 6- is from 19,501 to 26,000 pounds (8,846 to 11,793 kg)
- Class 7- is from 26,001 to 33,000 pounds (11,794 to 14,969 kg)
- Class 8- covers everything over 33,000 pounds (14,969 kg)
Most flatbed trucks would fall into either the class 6 or class 7 categories. As an example, you might use these when your load doesn’t justify the use of a big rig and trailer, for LTL (less then load) freight, or for specialty freight and odd sized loads. People commonly see these used at hardware stores to deliver lumber and other purchases. But their uses are as varied as there are trucks on the road.
So what is it? A flatbed truck (or if you were in England, flatbed lorry) is a truck that has a flat open bed, without permanent sides or a roof. This makes the flatbed truck easy and versatile to load and unload, so basically loads that can be in the elements (or covered with a tarp), such as common construction materials.
Now when you look into getting a flatbed truck here under are present few pointers for you to consider.
Check the condition of the flatbed truck
Just like any purchase that you make, you have to shop around first, find what you need, and one think for sure you must inspect the flatbed truck first before you decide to buy it. I would recommend that you have a professional mechanic, not associated with the dealership, look it over. If it is a trusted dealership or you are buying new flatbed truck, just a quick check might be fine. But if it is a private seller, an inspection is a must.
You need to check for rust and other damage. Take it for a test drive. Make sure it handles well and runs smoothly. If you have any questions ask. Now is the time!
Make sure the mileage is accurate
I have heard two different thoughts on this. Some say with the newer vehicles it’s harder to adjust the odometer. But if you are buying a used vehicle, find out if the engine has been replaced, or rebuilt. Ask about the transmission and the drive train. Check the brakes.
Find out if they kept their maintenance logs on the flatbed truck. If so, you can compare odometer readings for accuracy there as well. Of course it isn’t always the number of miles but the type of miles.
You don’t want a flatbed truck with too many miles.
Determine if the maintenance was according to the plan
Maintenance is the number one most important thing you can do for your truck equipment. So if you’re going to buy a used flatbed trucks, you must know the maintenance record. It is very important to know that the flatbed truck was well maintained, by a properly certified licensed mechanic.
Check to see if the truck oil was changed regularly. Check to see if the tires were rotated and balanced. Everything that you do on your fleet is for the good of your business. Buying a flatbed truck that was not properly maintained could cost you more than a new one.
Check the date of last inspection
Every state and metropolitan area has different standards for inspections, though the core issues are the same across the board. Make sure the flatbed trucks inspection is up to date. If they have the previous inspection records, check those as well.
It is better to get too much information than not enough.
Ask was the flatbed truck involved in traffic accident
This is so important when purchasing any used vehicle. But if you’re going to buy a flatbed truck for your business you must know its history. Run a Carfax report on it. That is right! You can run a report on Carfax for big trucks as too! Check other records, do whatever it takes, but don’t just take the owner’s word for it.
The last thing you want is an unsafe flatbed truck. If it was in an accident, repaired and back in service there could be a whole slew of unseen problems. The frame could be bent or have a hairline fracture. The last thing you want is an issue while hauling for a customer.
Something to think about; if the vehicle looks great but was in an accident, there must be a reason they are selling it. Don’t buy it, think about it first, and then make the decision.
Was it driven by just one or few drivers?
Not every company can afford to give every driver their own assigned vehicle. Smaller companies will of course have fewer drivers. But if it was a larger organization the flatbed truck might have ten different drivers operating it every week.