The Right Truck
Vehicle Selection for Snow and Ice Control
Finding the best vehicle for your winter business needs seems fairly straight forward: Go to the dealer, pick a truck, plow snow, make money. Except that like most things, it’s not quite that easy. Let’s take a look at some of the things you may want to consider while shopping for a new truck.
What kind of work will the truck be doing this winter?
The usual answer to this is “plow snow.” The majority of heavy duty trucks on the market today can handle that task without much difficulty. What gets forgotten is what other tasks the truck will have to perform during the winter. If you plan to spread salt and sand along with plowing, you’re going to have to pay close attention to the truck’s payload capacity and gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR. Most manufacturers offer their so-called ¾ – and one – ton trucks with a variety of payloads and GVWRs. Simply taking the one they have on the lot might leave you with a truck not suited to the work you want to perform. Overloading will lead to premature wear of brakes, tires, and suspension, not to mention potentially voiding the warranty. If a truck has a GVWR of 10,000lbs, that is the maximum combined weight of vehicle, driver, fuel, and all accessories. Specifying the correct capacities will be critical to allowing you to select the equipment you will need during the snow season.
Is there such a thing as too much truck?
Definitely. While you want to make sure your truck will comfortably accommodate your equipment needs, going far above your requirements can be costly as well. Reduced fuel economy, higher prices on tires and brakes, increased repair costs and reduced utility in smaller areas can all be the result of having a truck much larger than necessary for your needs. Those concerns don’t take into account the higher initial purchase price, either. Knowing your clients well and the areas where the truck will operate will help you understand the limitations facing the vehicle you are considering. It’s easy to get distracted by the glitz at the dealership, but keep your goals in mind.
Don’t be afraid to seek help. Fellow contractors, a trusted salesperson, vehicle outfitters, and limitless online resources are available to help guide you in the right direction. Don’t be in a rush to grab the first truck on the lot that “looks” right. Take your time, do your research and spend your money smartly.