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how long to keep a truck

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by snoluvr, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. snoluvr

    snoluvr Senior Member
    from RI
    Messages: 266

    I am wondering what you all are running for trucks. I have an '03 F-250 superduty. I just had to replace the whole front end after only 2 years of working this truck.Dealer says I am using it too much!!!! How do you all make your money with the truck?? replace every few years?? Extanded warranty and keep it for 10?? An old beater??? thanks.just triying to figure out what to do.Not sure if I want such a new electronic controlled truck with no warranty..
  2. szippijr

    szippijr Member
    from S.E Pa
    Messages: 50

    Don't buy a ford. Start with that.
  3. capital

    capital Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    I am wondering if you can provide a little more info. IE on front end what are u replacing? ball joints, brakes? axel? Also what type of maintaince are you doing on your truck? IE how often do u have the truck lifted and everything checked underneath?
    As a general rule of thumb, and we run chevy 3500 4x4's with boss 9.2 v plows we flush trannies every 7 push's. We changed and lube everything every 5000 miles or less. Tires are twice a year, spring and fall. Once a truck hits 60,000 miles it goes back to dealership for a couple of days to see what they find. At that point we determine wether to hold it or trade in. My trucks on average last 5 years and top out at just under 100,000 miles. After that we have found we begin to pay for front ends as you say, electrical problems, fuel pumps and sensors begin to wear out.
    I have not had a tranny go in over 8 years since we started doing the service this way. All of the trucks are used for landscaping in the summer and prob average alittle over 2 tons every morning in product when they leave the shop in the mornings for job sites. On the plowing side each truck is loaded with alittle over 1500 pounds of salt for sidewalk crews so they can steal from my trucks and not worry about having to re load during the event.
  4. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    How many miles does your truck have on it?

    I plow residential so my trucks don't take as much of a beating as others. My F-150, this is its 3rd season plowing and it has 95K miles on it now. I have never had to do anything but routine maintainance and replacements while i have had it. I flush the tranny once before snow season and once after. Front end gets serviced once a year (axle fluids, etc.), change transfer case and differential fluids once a year as well. Regular service every 3K miles. I expect my truck to atleast get me through next winter.

    The 1998 Jeep Cherokee, we got it in august, got it redy to plow, then got the plow for it. We maintian that the same way as the F-150, I am very picky about maintaining the plow vehicles well. It has 86K on it now, going strong. I plan on new, heavier duty front springs at the end of this year in place of the timbrens which make the Jeep ride much rougher without the plow.

    I have been very lucky so far, hopefully it stays that way.
  5. snoluvr

    snoluvr Senior Member
    from RI
    Messages: 266

    I have done rotors, pads, and shocks...expected wear items..The dealer has replaced the sway bar end link, mounting brackets/bushing, tie rod ends, tie rods, ball joints. I lube all fittings after every plowing...just a pump or so..tranny is flushed at 20k, and again at 34k...I jus tworry about running out of warranty this week and spending thousands to keep this truck running..Wish i bought the extened warranty when I bought it new.
  6. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,317

    That doesn't seem to bad to tell you the truth. How many hours a year plowing does it get?
  7. avalancheplow

    avalancheplow Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    You have up till the day that your warranty runs out to buy the extended warranty.

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,228


    Listen to the guys above and what they say.Maintenance! It all depends on how much or how little. Also way it is treated,washed,waxed floors kept dry. I have had GMC 2500HD last me 10 years and see them working after I have sold them for years after. 2 in past and still see one working/plowing that I sold in 2000. That truck ,1989 GMC 2500HD Meyer 8' conventional style with toggles mounted on dash. It had 270,000 on it when I sold it. I did replace the TH400 trans in 1999 at 265,000 miles,and I got $7,000 for it when I sold it. So if you maintain it well and do more than what the book says ,as far as how often, don't wait for small things to turn into big things then most trucks will last as long as you want them to.
  9. ultimate plow

    ultimate plow PlowSite.com Addict
    from N. IL
    Messages: 1,761

    Its not because its a ford! I own a ford, chevy and a dodge! They are all better in one way or another.
  10. BJH Snow

    BJH Snow Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    I own a 96 F250 and this past year I replaced all tie rods, ball joints, and U Joints on the truck. When looking back on the records they were all replaced in 1999. I do, like the rest of us on this site, flush the tranny 2x per year, grease all points at 3000 miles. Keep up with the maintenance, it will insure the life of the parts within
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2005
  11. jbjw@netins.net

    jbjw@netins.net Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    Hi i have a 1997 dodge 3/4 ton cummins turbo deisel with 221,500 miles on it i have had it for 3 years and plowed with it since i bought it with 125,000 miles and with regular maint. i have only replaced 1 u-joint and 1 balljoint.
  12. JRSlawn

    JRSlawn Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    You have a huge problem you own a ford. My dad and I both own fords and whenever anything is wrong they allways try to get out of it by making an axcuss. My dad dosent even plow with his and he has had about everything replaced on it. Its an 03 ford f250 4 door v 10. Next trucks we get will be GM :bluebounc

    Just my thought I know I am going to take some heat for this thread :)
  13. saleen49

    saleen49 Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    Wow, a good freind of mine has a 01 Chevy HD and it developed bad piston slap the first six months he had it, then his power steering pump snapped a shaft while plowing one night, his uncle owns a towing service and he had three different 90's 3500HD's and snapped the frame in half just behind the cab on all three trucks and had to install a frame sadle kit to hold the frame back together,

    I have been driving the same F-250 for 13 years and did replace U-joints, ball joints, starters and alternators but never had to touch the engine or trans, (knock on wood) and i plow with this truck just not as much as most people here do and plan to order an 06 F-250 diesel next month,

    1992 F-250HD, Western Pro-plow 7,6" 134,000 miles and counting
  14. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    Hey stuff wears out, rusts out and just breaks. My old Ford will run down the road and do work when it has multiple component failures. You just have to stay on top of repairs and maintenance. Keep it lubed,change oil and filter regularly,keep the tranny cooled and happy and the truck will live on. Mine has plowed snow for 16 years. I spend way less then new truck payments on it each year.
  15. jeffwoehrle

    jeffwoehrle Member
    Messages: 56

    Ooooooh! I'm singed!

  16. wstwind

    wstwind Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    my 97 ford has had everything replaced, has a bunch of miles, and is paid for. i will sell this truck, never. all it does is make money. have an 04 and spent a fortune, still makes money. get rid of the trucks when they are costing more than your making with it. " why buy new, when slightly used will do!"
  17. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    Pick on Ford, hummm, I see alot of Ford plow trucks around!
    We plowed Wed morning and afterward we all went to lunch. Out of 7 Trucks 4 of us had Fords, The others said I AM GOING BACK TO FORD when we started talking about repairs and performance of our trucks.
    I guess the Dodge / Chevy / Import experience is over for those guys!
  18. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    To answer the question" How long do I keep my trucks".
    Till they wont run anymore then I use them for parts.
    There are 2 ways to look at this.
    1. some want to keep there trucks forever and maintain them as the investment for repairs seem smaller the the payments over a year. Not including a shop, and the education and tools involved. If you know which end of a wrench to use then this sometimes pays off.
    2. Buy new and sell before warranty goes out that way you should never have to come up with nothing but the expense of a payment for the truck. Providing you have a good dealer that will back you when needed.

    I still run a 78 f-250 that has had 2 motors and a paint job several u-joints, an axle, several brake jobs etc. I bought this truck used in 1982 (4 years old) for $5000 and have put an average of less then $1000 a year maintenance in it a year less labor. now that is 23 years on a $29,000 investment. and the return is better then $10,000 a year ($230,000) on that truck alone.
    Now My new 2004 F350 was $32,000 with a Boss blade installed and it will take at least 3 years to recoup that investment before it starts making money and if I was to sell it at the end of the 5 year warranty that would be at the same profit about $20,000 plus what ever I could get out of the truck. say the used sale price of $15,000 for a total profit over 5 years of $35K for that truck alone.

    As you can see by this example the first method makes more profit. But in reality that profit was spent on a shop ($150,000), lift $5,000, tools $100,000, property$250,000, and long long hours to support the truck. Now the cost for the shop, property, tools etc. was divided up over 4 trucks and summer construction work so it was not that high just for that truck but you get the idea.
    The answer to the question is something that you should have looked at before starting in this business and should have been part of your business plan. To look at it now is still better then not looking at it at all.
    Understanding plowing is easy it is the understanding of how to run the business that is the hard part. Taking a course on small business is the best advice that anyone can give to answer this question. It is a question that everyone needs to answer before he/she knows ware there business is going and a real good one for this forum. We all need to think about it.

    Thanks for asking.
  19. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    I'm going to be selling my Chevy probabily this summer after 8 years. The Dodge will be mine till she gos to the parking lot in the sky. If the body frame rust out I'll pull the drivetrain and put it in something else.
    Maintenance Maintenance maintenance- oh, and ride with your drivers every so often- make sure they know how to plow without abusing your equipment.

    I have 122K miles on my Dodge that has plowed every winter since new- with me this is the 6th season. I replaced 1 set of balljoints (one side only) 2 years ago, tie rod ende all last year. No major front end issues- steering box is starting to weep- but look how old it is and the milage on it.
  20. jhook

    jhook Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    The last time I bought a used truck (about 5 years ago) pretty much made it clear to me which way to go. I spent almost as much (not quite, but close) in the past 5 years between firt buying it then fixing it as I do now on my new ones. Once I start to look at the downtime and the fact they only seem to break during the big storms when you need to be out, I now go with new. I got a 2001 GMC HD 2500 brand new, ran it for 3 years of hard plowing, dropped it off at the dealer and drove out with another new one.

    My used one crapped out around Christmas this year and I went straight to dealer and ordered another brand new one. I personally would much rather just make monthly payments and know what they are. Might come out to be a bit more expensive in the long run but as soon as I factor in the reliability, it wins hands down.

    So right now, I just take 3 years leases and give them back at the end of it. If I have to fix something on my truck, I kept it too long.

    Besides, they give them too me with nothing down, I write them a check for 1 payment and drive off with a $45,000 truck. That works for me. :cool: