If you are considering becoming an owner-operator of your own trucking business and don't have the funds to purchase a new commercial truck, you may be concerned about fuel efficiency. The more fuel efficient your truck is, the better your bottom line will be. Owner-operators can see a difference in their profits based on how fuel efficient their trucks are. When you drove for someone else, you didn't have to worry as much about being fuel efficient as you will as an owner-operator. Fortunately, there are ways to improve the fuel efficiency of used commercial trucks. Here are a few ideas.
Get the Lowest GVWR Possible
GVWR stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. It lists how many pounds of trailer and cargo the truck is able to tow, combined with the weight of the truck with a full tank and all passengers. With more weight, the engine has to work harder and, therefore, use more fuel. Of course, you'll need to get the appropriate weight handling capabilities for the loads you expect to haul.
But, don't go overboard right away with a larger capacity if you don't need to. You can always trade in the truck later for one with a greater GVWR capacity if your loads increase after your business takes off. Speak with the salesperson when you purchase your used truck to see what deals they have, if any, if you want to trade it in later down the road.
Choose the Right Engine Size
The engine uses air each time it goes through a revolution. Engines that use more air tend to use more fuel. Therefore, you'll want an appropriately sized engine in your truck. Again, don't go with something too big at first if you are not pulling large loads.
Keep the Tires Properly Inflated
The air pressure in the tires should be spot on, all the time. Too much air or too little air can make reduce the fuel efficiency of the truck. Make a habit of checking the air in the tires at least once a day. If you notice that a tire always seems to be a bit low on air, replace the tire as soon as possible.
Use the Right Accessories
Some accessories for your truck, such as wind deflectors, can help reduce the amount of wind resistance, which can help improve fuel efficiency. Conversely, don't use accessories that add to the weight of your truck. Avoid having any heavy accessories on your truck, such as chrome pipes, horns and axle covers. Even though you may want to pimp out your ride, doing so could affect your profit margin due to the increased fuel usage your engine will need to pull the additional weight.
Shift Gears with Fuel Efficiency in Mind
The best way to shift gears in a commercial truck is in one that has an automatic or automated manual transmission (AMT). These transmissions allow for greater fuel efficiency, which is difficult to achieve with manual transmission. However, 80% of commercial trucks sold have manual transmissions. It may be challenging to find an affordable used commercial truck with automatic or AMT.
You may not achieve good fuel efficiency with manual transmission until you've fully mastered the particular truck. Keep in mind that each truck drives a bit differently based on the feel of the pedals for the clutch, gas and brakes. Therefore, your profit margin may be a bit lower at first until you get used to the way the transmission in your truck handles the power the engine gives it to rotate your wheels.
Congratulations on your choice to become an owner-operator. Take your time looking at commercial trucks for sale to find the right truck to suit your needs and be fuel efficient.
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