20-Point Checklist for Proper Truck Selection
September 2008, Work Truck - Feature
In today’s economic environment, fleet managers are under increasing pressure by senior management to thoroughly justify any new-vehicle purchase.
Why do we absolutely need this truck right now? What is the business case for it? If we need a new truck, do we really need diesel as we’ve always spec’ed or will gasoline do the job? Is a full-size pickup really needed or would a mid-sized, more fuel-efficient truck suffice? Do we use four-wheel drive enough to justify the added expense compared to two-wheel drive?
The operative word here is "need." The challenge is to balance sufficient truck capability with a price-point that fits within an ever-tightening budget. Therefore, what you’ve always done to spec trucks may not work as well today.
How do you achieve a balance? The key is to focus on what is absolutely needed in a truck to perform a specific job — nothing more, nothing less. Whether you’re writing specs for light-duty trucks, medium-duties, or both types, here’s a 20-point checklist to help guide your decision-making.
1. The Right Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum amount of total vehicle weight, including the weight of the truck and its entire payload (equipment, fuel, drivers, and cargo) a truck is able to carry, start, and stop safely as determined by manufacturers.
What GVWR should you focus on? Suppose you plan to haul six pallets of stone on a flat bed. Each pallet weighs 1,800 lbs. The net payload requirement, therefore, is 10,800 lbs., plus the weight of body. If the flatbed weighs 2,000 lbs., the gross payload is 12,800 lbs. If the weight of the truck, driver, and fuel is estimated at 9,000 lbs., your total chassis and payload is approximately 21,800-lb. gross vehicle weight (GVW). In this case, you’ll look at a minimum of 22,000 lb. GVWR.
2. Trailer Requirements
Will your truck tow a trailer? What is the total weight of the trailer and its payload? This addresses gross combination weight rating (GCWR) requirements — the maximum allowable weight of truck and payload combined with the trailer and its contents.
Does the truck’s GCWR fit your requirements? Sometimes, adjusting the engine, transmission, or even rear-axle ratio selection will gain the needed GCWR.