What are the Top Factors Affecting the Value of a Pre-Owned Fire Truck?

Posted by Billy Claunch, on September 5, 2023

Several factors can affect the selling price of a pre-owned or used fire apparatus.  In considering them, one should realize that the combination of all factors weighs into the pricing equation or valuation in the secondary market.  In other words, one singular factor doesn’t dominate but rather the collection of all attributes of a given rig play into the price that prospective fire department customers will accept or ultimately pay.


So what are they?



In no specific order, the first aspect will be the age of the existing used fire truck.  From the time it was put into service until it will be taken out of service, how many years have passed with the original fire department ownership?  Certainly, age is just a number - and only one metric for assessing the worth of a pre-owned fire apparatus.  However, age plays a relevant part in the valuation and some fire trucks will show their age more so than others based on actual duty use, environmental conditions or weather exposure, and proper maintenance to name a few.  


Miles + Hours

Next are the engine hours and mileage of the unit.  Accurate odometer readings and hours are definitely vital statistics relevant to what work the fire truck has been doing during its lifecycle.  Because miles (or kilometers) driven may not always indicate how frequently the chassis engine operated during pumping situations, the engine hours are just as important.  If there is any doubt on the mileage and hours, often a computer analysis on the engine can be executed to provide an accurate rendering of the correct data points.  



Then, important drivers of value are the core specifications or base configuration of the given used fire apparatus.  While these are numerous features to take into account, some fundamental basics include the physical truck dimensions (including wheelbase and overall height); size of the water tank; the rated flow capacity of the pump; compartment space for accessory equipment; custom cab/chassis or commercial cab/chassis; and if applicable, size (i.e. length) and type (rear-mount or mid-mount) of aerial ladder or platform device.  Other options that may drive additional value include whether or not there is a foam system and/or a generator with accessory lighting masts and cord reels.  Also to note, in some product vocations and markets, having four-wheel drive (4x4) capabilities may be important to new clients.



As with any piece of used equipment or a used vehicle, an important determinant to value is the maintenance and service of the fire truck over the lifecycle with the original owner.  Having well documented records in this regard is very helpful for substantiating the quality of care on the mechanical, hydraulic, and electrical systems on a given rig.  Further, a recent pump certification test and when applicable, an aerial certification test are important documents to provide that assist in validating the used fire truck’s integrity.  


Outward Appearance

Finally, the interior cab condition; the exterior paint; and most importantly, the chassis undercarriage corrosion extent are important to deriving the price with a used fire truck.  With the interior, are the seats damaged and potentially need replacing plus are there any other interior upholstery panels in disrepair?  Any used truck can be repainted at the commensurate cost of doing so but are there any notable exterior paint corrosion issues on the cab or body as well as any significant indications of cab or body damage from some sort of incident (even if minor)?  The most important item is the extent (if any) of any undercarriage corrosion to the chassis frame rails or other chassis bracketry as well as electrical connections that may have been exposed to winter road chemicals or even flood waters in coastal areas.


With all the above to ponder, how do you get the best estimated value for a given used fire truck?  Reach out to Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus (www.firetruckmall.com)!  


With over 20 years experience in the used fire apparatus industry, Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus has a dedicated team of professionals that can properly assess and offer a suitable price to procure and resell used fire trucks from their current fire department owners.  With a comprehensive database capturing hundreds of historical transactions across all fire apparatus product categories, Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus is best suited to make an offer that reflects current market conditions.    This allows fire departments to know they are getting a fair offer from a trusted source in the pre-owned fire truck marketplace. 

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