Box Trucks

Box Trucks

Commercial Truck Sales Overview

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Box trucks provide an affordable, versatile way to transport products or supplies. Businesses of all sizes use these common vehicles for a wide variety of tasks such as delivering products to customers, moving inventory between warehouses and retail stores, or bringing equipment to job sites.

Also called cube trucks, cube vans, or box vans, box trucks consist of a cab - the passenger compartment and engine - and a separate box for cargo. This two-piece construction is what differentiates them from cargo vans, which are more like passenger vans with one-piece construction.

Gasoline vs. diesel engines

One basic decision to make before buying a box truck is whether you want a gasoline or diesel engine. Both are fairly common in trucks of this size, with diesel holding a slight edge.

Diesel engines provide a few important advantages for box trucks. Their design gives them more power at low RPMs, making it easier to start from a standstill with a heavy load. In addition, they run cooler and are built with stronger components than gasoline engines, improving their longevity.

Gasoline engines, on the other hand, are quieter and less polluting than diesels. However, that advantage is somewhat less than it used to be thanks to improved diesel technology. It's also easier to get parts and fuel for gas engines than diesel, and at high RPMs, they provide more power.

One important consideration is the cost of fuel. Historically, diesel fuel was generally less expensive than gasoline - but no longer. Soaring oil costs have raised prices on both to the point where they're more or less equal in many parts of the country. Diesel engines get marginally better mileage than gas, but their somewhat higher initial purchase cost will largely offset this advantage.

Box truck options

Box trucks are generally measured by the length of the cargo area. The most common sizes are from 14' to 26'. Small, midrange, and larger vehicles can be found. But the larger versions are rare - they’re typically much more expensive and harder to drive. Plus, smaller trucks provide the capacity most businesses are looking for.

In general the three sizes break down by their class ratings:

Almost all box trucks have roll-up gates in the back similar to garage doors. One option you may want to invest in is a lift gate, a powered platform that raises and lowers your cargo from the street to the back of the truck. If you'll be using your truck mainly at loading docks, you won't need them, but for on-street deliveries it's a huge timesaver.

One expensive option for the cargo area is refrigeration. A very small minority of box truck buyers need refrigerated trucks, but if you're one of those few, it's essential. Be prepared to spend extra cash on both the up-front purchase and additional operating costs.

Other extras in the cargo area can include translucent ceilings for light, electric lights, pass-through doors into the cab, and rail systems along the walls that make it easy to secure cargo when needed.

In the operator's cab, you have a range of familiar options to choose from. Automatic or manual transmission, A/C, bucket seats, CD players, and other comfort and convenience options are similar to those available in new cars.

Prices for new and used box trucks

If your truck is going to be an essential part of your daily activities, it can make sense to buy new. However, if the truck is going to less central to your business, buying used is often a smart way to save money.

Older trucks go for even less. You can find 10 or 15 year old box trucks that still run for as little as $5,000, but you can expect them to have 300,000 or 400,000 miles on them. In general, you won't find these kind of commercial truck sale prices at dealerships you'll find them in classified ads and online commercial truck sales.

This brings up the element of "buyer beware" when considering any used box truck for sale. Only buy from a dealer who offers at least some warranty to make sure your money isn't wasted on a lemon. Because of the longevity benefits, diesel trucks are often a better choice if you're buying an older vehicle.

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