5 Tips for Buying Used Step Vans

5 Tips for Buying Used Step Vans

National step van dealers differ in the level of customization they are able to handle in-house. From ISP contractors to food truck operators, step vans are the perfect fit for many service-oriented industries, consequently they are in high demand. There are several factors that should be considered when comparing new vs. used step vans. Aside from the obvious reason of price, let’s explore 5 tips for buying used step vans.

Step vans have gained popularity over the years within the food truck and delivery/ISP contractor sectors. Dealers like MAG Trucks offer the largest selection of retrofit step vans in stock, on the lot, including a variety of options, including gas and diesel, financing options, size/models, and mileage/years.

Let’s explore 5 tips for buying used step vans in greater depth.

Tip 1: Create a Checklist of Must-Haves

Outline exactly what you’re looking for… gas vs. diesel, price range, year, mileage, engine size, etc. For example, when choosing a step van for a food truck build, it’s important to have a shell capable of building out a fully functional kitchen. For ISP contractors, it's important to have approved shelving, a jump seat and safety features.

For the budget-conscious food truck operator or ISP contractor, MAG Trucks has the largest fleet of used step vans on our lot in Kansas City, MO, ready to go. From Freightliners and Fords made in the early 2000s to low-mileage 2017 diesels, MAG Trucks updates our online inventory daily and has over 50 used / reconditioned trucks on the website ready to be delivered to you nationwide within 7-14 days. A tip.... ask for pictures of the specific unit! MAG Trucks posts pictures and videos of units on our website and our YouTube page, which helps the customer visually enter the step van and anticipate the updates needed to bring the unit to food truck or ISO delivery standards.

Tip 2: Ask for the inspection history

Ask the step van dealer about the step van’s history, specifically:

  • Does each step van receive a mechanical inspection?
  • Can you get a copy of the inspection?
  • What does the specific dealers warranty cover?
  • What does the dealer’s warranty not cover?

Dealers like MAG Trucks have an in-house team that inspects every step van upon arrival to the MAG lot.  These are all important questions to ask the step van dealer, to have the right information to make a decision.

RELATED: Tips for Converting Step Vans into Food Trucks

5 Tips for Buying Used Step VansTip 3: Upfitting Capabilities

MAG Trucks is one of the only step van dealers in the nation that staffs an in-house design and engineering team to perform custom modifications.

Step vans are extremely versatile vehicles. They can be transformed into mobile restaurants, ISP contractors, mobile retail stores, utility trucks, and much more.

Tip 4: Warranty Options

One of the most important questions to consider when purchasing a step van is the warranty. If the step van is being sold by an individual or private seller, it probably doesn't have a warranty. However, if the step van is being sold by a dealer, like MAG Trucks, it can carry a warranty. Be sure to ask the details on that warranty! Let's explore MAG's warranty as a reference.

MAG Trucks prides itself on its workmanship but knows things can happen unexpectedly. Every MAG used or reconditioned truck leaves the Kansas City facility equipped with a six-month or 6,000-mile nationwide limited engine and drivetrain warranty.

The MAG Trucks warranty encompasses 8 major components, including the engine, transmission, drive axle, water pump, turbo/supercharge, seals and gaskets, fuel tank, and radiator. Let’s take a closer look at What’s in an ISP Contractor Truck Warranty specific to MAG Trucks…

1. Engine

MAG covers all internally lubricated parts of an engine in our 6-month, 6,000 mile warranty.  Internally lubricated parts include: pistons, piston rings, piston pins, crankshaft and main bearings, connecting rods and bearings, camshaft and bearings, timing chain or belt, timing gears, intake and exhaust valves, valve springs, valve guides, oil pump, push rods, rocker arms, rocker arm shafts, hydraulic and solid lifters. The engine block and heads are also covered if the damage is caused by a failure of any of the above-covered components.

2. Transmission

Internal transmission parts include a torque converter, vacuum modulator, and mounts. The transmission housing is also covered if the damage is caused by a failure of any of the above-covered items. If applicable, this warranty does not include clutch assembly, pressure plate, flywheel, throw out bearing, worn synchronizers, cables or electrical items. All internal parts of the transmission are covered under a MAG Trucks warranty.

3. Drive Axle

The drive axle is split into two parts which connect to the wheel and allows your truck to move freely.  Axles also allow the wheels to turn when driving creating a smooth ride. All internally lubricated parts covered by our warranty are contained within the housings and include the axle shafts, differential housing, transaxle housing and final drive housing.

4. Water Pump

Water pumps allow the coolant to flow through the engine straight to the radiator.  Impeller shafts, bearings, bushings, and housing are all under MAG’s warranty.

5. Turbo/Supercharger

A turbocharger works to fuel the trucks and increase its efficiency.  It is under the hood of the truck, compressing air to the combustion chamber. All internal parts of a turbocharger such as vanes, shafts, and bearings are covered by our warranty.  The Turbo/Supercharger housing is also covered if the damage is caused by a failure of any covered component.

6. Seals and Gaskets

Seals and gaskets work to prevent leakage within the vehicle. They work to fill the in-between spaces. These are primary parts of trucks that work tirelessly to keep it in shape. Seals and gaskets are replaced as part of repair or replacement of the above-covered components.

7. Fuel Tank

The fuel tank is designed to hold and disperse fuel throughout the truck. The fuel tank is covered under warranty for leaks to ensure you don’t have any costly fuel leaks no matter where you’re driving.

8. Radiator

The radiator is your engine’s cooling system – which is critical to your continued operation. The radiator is covered for failures due to leaks.

Download the full warranty here

Tip 5; Pricing Discounts – Section 179

What is Section 179?
According to Section179.org, Section 179 of the IRS Tax Code allows a business to deduct, for the current tax year, the full purchase price of equipment and off-the-shelf software that qualifies for the deduction. This equates to up to $1 million dollars in eligible equipment to be deducted, and the ‘total equipment purchased’ by a business cannot exceed 2.5 million in the current year (2019). Once the equipment purchased exceeds that number, the deduction reduces on a dollar for dollar basis.

When does the purchase need to be made to qualify?
The equipment must be purchased (or financed / leased) and placed into service between January 1 and December 31 of that year.

How Much Can An ISP contractor Save on Taxes in 2019?
This depends on the amount of qualifying equipment and software that the ISP contractor purchases and puts into use. Section 179 suggests a helpful calculator that will easily calculate your potential savings: https://www.crestcapital.com/tax_deduction_calculator?_ga=2.137708656.1168323662.1568993625-600756634.1512153110

What type of Equipment Qualifies?
Most tangible business equipment qualifies, as long as it was purchased between January 1 and December 31 of the tax year you are claiming. Examples of qualifying purchases includes:

  • Equipment (machines, etc.) purchased for business use
  • Tangible personal property used in business
  • Business Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight in excess of 6,000 lbs
  • Computers
  • Computer “Off-the-Shelf” Software
  • Office Furniture
  • Office Equipment
  • Property attached to your building that isnot a structural component of the building (i.e.: a printing press, large manufacturing tools and equipment)
  • Partial Business Use (equipment that is purchased for business use and personal use: generally, your deduction will be based on the percentage of time you use the equipment for business purposes).
  • Certain improvements to existing non-residential buildings: fire suppression, alarms and security systems, HVAC, and roofing.

Related: The IRS issued a Fact Sheet issued for Section 179

New Rules and limitations for depreciation and expensing under the tax cuts and job act

As you spend some time comparing new and used step vans, make sure you have a list of what you value as the most important factors. Does price rank? Is reduction of down time critical? Is maintenance hub proximity critical? Is turnaround time? The MAG Trucks website has all of our new and used step vans available to browse. Give us a call and speak with our team – 888.503.7481.


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