Buying a utility truck for your business is a significant investment, and that fact doesn't change whether you're buying your first truck or adding on to an already sizable fleet. You'll need to make numerous decisions during the purchasing process, and most manufacturers offer a high level of customization for work trucks. These decisions include deciding how many drive wheels you need.
While 4x4 (or 4WD) trucks have clear advantages, they aren't the correct choice for every buyer, and 4x2 (or 2WD) trucks may be a better fit for some businesses. If you're unsure which is suitable for your situation, consider these three factors before purchasing your next utility truck.
1. Local Conditions
There's no getting around it: a 4WD truck will perform better on unpaved roads and in harsh, snowy conditions. However, don't let this improved performance be the only thing that guides your decision. You'll need to consider where your truck will operate and how often it will work under those conditions. The extra performance isn't necessarily worth the cost if you don't use it.
If your business typically takes you offroad or you live in an area with heavy snow, a 4x4 vehicle can be valuable. On the other hand, a 4x2 vehicle can still tackle many challenging conditions with the right upgrades. For example, tire chains and snow tires can drastically improve winter performance, and these might be more cost-effective if you only rarely drive on snowy or icy roads.
2. Upfront and Long-Term Operating Costs
Cost should be one of the most significant determining factors when making any business purchase. 4x4 trucks will almost always cost more to buy, and you can expect them to return slightly lower fuel mileage when compared to 2WD models. Lower fuel efficiency may not be an issue if you only run one or two trucks, but improved mileage can add up over a more extensive fleet.
Of course, you also need to consider the safety of your drivers and the capabilities of your vehicles. The cost savings associated with purchasing 2WD trucks will only pay off if the decision doesn't leave your trucks stuck on the side of the road whenever poor weather strikes.
3. Maintenance Costs
4x4 trucks are also more complex and may require more maintenance than their 2WD counterparts. These higher maintenance costs may be especially relevant when dealing with newer vehicles, which sometimes have sophisticated hybrid 4WD/AWD systems. Maintenance costs will be less of a concern if you don't keep your trucks beyond warranty, but they can become an issue for used or older vehicles.
Ultimately, it's important to remember that your utility trucks are rolling toolboxes and offices. They exist to get a job done, so it's crucial to choose the features that allow your crews to work safely and efficiently. Selecting the right drivetrain for your trucks will ensure they can tackle the work ahead of them without costing your business more than necessary.
For more information on utility trucks, contact an auto dealer near you.