8 Tips for Vacuum Truck Shoppers

Vaccuum Trucks are growing in demand

The market for used vacuum trucks keeps getting larger, while demand is growing. But when shopping for a pre-owned vacuum truck, be sure it is affordable.

For more and more septic contractors, the trucks are heavily in demand. Why? That’s because lead time for new truck deliveries is rising to more than six months, while vehicles pre-owned are getting increasingly more popular. Some vacuum truck companies declare that the sales of pre=owned vehicles have risen as much as 60 percent in the last five years alone. In fact, pre-owned vehicles make up more than half of vacuum truck sales for some companies.

There are a variety of trucks out there including wet-dry industrial vacuum trucks, hydroexacavators and wet-dry DOT vacuum trucks.

  1. When looking for a pre-owned vacuum truck, buyers should consider getting a good warranty, get the proper paperwork, remember that you get what you pay for, beware of customizations, be wary of tight-lipped sellers, don’t forget about the rubber, ask for maintenance/service logs and a history of any major repairs and put major components through their paces.
  2. What does all that mean? We will explain. According to Suiter, getting a good warranty is important. The length of the warranty typically depends on the age of the truck and its condition. There are usually several levels of warranties, which can range from “as-is” units up to 6 months for work-ready units to fully remanufactured or rebuilt trucks. Some of these will exclude the chassis. It is also the case where some sellers provide warranties but they are separate for the chassis and the vacuum module. Some dealers may not service both warranties, while other dealers might not service both of the warranties. There can be instances where the dealer may handle the issues with the module of the vacuum, while the chassis related issues will be handled strictly by the chassis dealer. But it is advisable that the buyer be sure to finalize all warranty details prior to making the purchase because it can be harder if both warranties are not handled by the dealer the buyer is purchasing from.
  3. Next, it should be a priority for the buyer to look at the locations of sellers where warranty service is provided. For example, if a buyer from Iowa buys one online and there is only a Pennsylvania warranty service offered only in that state, then the buyer may want to reconsider his options. Suiter has noted that some cases may include an inconveniently located warrantor who may pay a company in the buyer’s area to provide warranty service.
  4. Next, getting the proper paperwork means getting a clear copy of the title and liens release. It is advised that if the seller cannot provide the proper paperwork, the buyer should consider looking elsewhere. Le it also be noted that sellers should also be able to provide federal certification showing the truck passing its U.S. Department of Transportation inspection. The inspection papers need to be in order so that the buyer doesn’t get pulled over and taken out of service.
  5. So we all know what it means when we say: “you get what you pay for.” Can the buyer understand the dollars and cents that go into manufacturing and making the units be work ready. It has reportedly been a common practice for sellers to put from $30,000 to $90,000 into a vacuum truck, which ultimately means it will sell for a higher price. Sometimes looking for a reseller who offers a variety of units that are within the buyer’s budget.
    Next, beware of customizations and remember that it could be a difficult task to find the parts and service for “one-off” specially built trucks that are highly customized. There have been contractors in the past who get great online deals but then find out that it is virtually impossible to get parts and support for their online purchase.
  6. There are also the tight-lipped sellers. Who if they are not forthcoming with pertinent information like how many hours are on a vacuum truck, who the previous owners were, what the service records show, as well as references or contact information from the previous owner, then it is advised that the buyer look elsewhere.
  7. One thing in particular that the buyer should not forget about is the condition of the tires. Don’t forget about the rubber! The condition of the tires can be missed by buyers and new tires can cost anywhere from $600 t &800 per tier and recaps can run $300 apiece. Also, the buyer should remember to inspect the inside tires as well. They are not to be overlooked.
  8. The buyer should ask for maintenance and service logs in addition to a history of any major repairs. If these items are not available, the buyer should not necessarily rule out buying the truck. But then it is on the buyer to perform a more extensive inspection. If the buyer is not mechanically inclined, a qualified mechanic should be brought along.
    Lastly, the buyer is advised to put major components through their respective paces. By thoroughly testing such things as the power take off, systems of vacuum and water and ask about any required major repairs. A good idea would be to check the blower tolerance, determine the wear on the loads, whether the PTO system leaks or how recently the pumps were rebuilt. It is also a good idea to see if the hydraulic hoses are dry or wet.