What used truck can you buy if you go shopping with £20,000

Picture of fleet of trucks

For a decent, second-hand tractor unit that will give three or four years of good service, you need to budget about £20,000. Spend less than that and you run the risk of throwing away good money further down the line on trucks that have more value as an export or sold for parts.

Charlie Wright, MD of Protruck Auctions, says a 2000-registered Scania 124L might fetch £10,000 for the export market. Buying it for domestic use will only lead to more expenditure as you bring it up to scratch.

These days, running older trucks is a precarious business with more obstacles to consider: Vosa is more vigilant; the rising cost of maintaining older vehicles; London’s Low Emission Zone… the list goes on.

Therefore, a budget of £20,000 upwards is more cost-effective. Chris Hart, MD of Warrington-based Trucks2Go, says this sort of figure will get you a quality truck if you go for a Daf, Iveco or MAN. “You can get an MAN TGX with an XXL cab on a 59-plate; they were undervalued from the start and there isn’t an export market for them,” he says.

He also singles out the Mercedes-Benz Actros as having a stronger residual value, meaning it is likely to be older than a similarly priced Daf, Iveco, Renault or MAN.

Ken Grindrod, sales director for Pelican Engineering in Castleford, agrees. “For £20,000 you would be looking at a 2006-registered Mercedes Actros 6x2 with a MegaSpace cab,” he says, whereas the same money would get you a 2007 Volvo FH480 6x2 or a Daf XF105.460 6x2 unit.

Often, price difference stems from certain manufacturers’ willingness to feed the contract hire and rental sectors that yield bigger volume sales. These sectors prefer standardised vehicles, so that when they are remarketed, more weight is placed on condition than specification.

Jonathan Bownes, used truck executive at the Volvo Trucks dealership Thomas Hardie Commercials in Middlewich, says a key factor for someone with £20,000 to spend will be the vehicle’s history. “If it is something that has been on contract hire and has a visible service history, it is easier for an operator to make a decision,” he says. “They will have a bit more confidence than with something privately owned.

“At the moment, the FM is more expensive because there are not as many about, whereas the FH is a bit cheaper because there are more of them,” says Bownes. “The extras are more likely to be a microwave, TV, or a fridge, which are usually add-ons. If we get one with a fridge, we’ll advertise the fact.”

Operators who have extended their vehicles’ service life because of the recession are starting to realise they need a newer truck, but they still don’t have a free reign to borrow excessive amounts of cash.

Grindrod says: “There is a massive saving with a second-hand truck compared with the cost of a new vehicle. Even customers who would only ever buy new are now looking at good second-hand vehicles at this sort of price.”