It sounds simple, like a piece of knowledge passed on from father to child, but the best way to start a project is to choose the right tool for the job. The idiom holds true for vocational trucks.  Sure, many modern models of trucks are capable of pulling double, or even triple duty, acting as dumpers in the summer, plows in the winter, and water wagons during dry months, but not all trucks are ideally suited for each task.

Application is Key

Gear ratios will need to be factored and tweaked according to the job, and horsepower- while great in a muscle car- is not the only measuring stick.

Torque is arguably better.

Quarry trucks, for example, need to have their ratios set to haul heavier loads, and will need to come equipped with an equally hefty suspension. On the other hand, these attributes are not that important to a water wagon, that really only needs to focus on operator comfort.

Fuel efficiency, durability, and weight proportion all need to be factored in when choosing a vocational truck, as does transmission type.  Once upon a time, manual transmissions were the only option, but innovations have brought automatics to the table, and they are rapidly gaining a foothold with some in the industry.

Hard Body

With so many nuances, this means that gone are the days when any truck on the lot of the Kenworth dealership could be confidently selected to complete nearly any job. There is also durability to factor into the equation.  Given the many off-road applications served by vocational trucks, toughness is an essential part of the design.  Heavy rear ends, multiple frames, and a minimum of two drive axles are paramount for these machines.  Which means that, before investing large amounts of money into a new machine, owners will want to ensure that the body of their vocational truck is totally customized.  Meaning that, from start to finish, discriminating fleet managers will have to stay in contact with, and on top of, the body builders.

What to Look For

Before heading out and dropping a load of cash on a new machine, prospective buyers should know:

  • On Highway or Off Road Application
  • Haul weight/type
  • Durability Desired
  • Primary Job site

Keeping these factors in mind will make choosing the right vocational truck as easy as choosing the right tool from the tool box.