Wanna Buy a Good Used Car? - Municibid Blog

Wanna Buy a Good Used Car?

The following is posted from an article by Peter Longini on the Cranberry Patch  http://cranberry.patch.com/articles/wanna-buy-a-good-used-car

Cranberry’s got a deal for you.

When you add up the police cars, dump trucks, tractors, fire engines and so on, Cranberry has about 100 vehicles in its municipal fleet. And they’re all well-maintained.

To make sure of that, Cranberry’s public works department uses preventive maintenance software to track the servicing of every vehicle and make sure the township gets full value from them all. But at some point in the life of every municipal vehicle, as with every family car, the rising cost of maintenance and down time needed for repairs signal that it’s time to retire and replace the unit.

The township has a formal process that involves a somewhat complex calculation, taking into account the vehicle’s age, mileage, repair history, maintenance costs, replacement cost and primary use.

The formula works differently for every type of vehicle. For example, a police car may rack up 100,000 miles in just a few years before it’s time to replace it. A dump truck, on the other hand, may be around for decades and still show only 40,000 miles on its odometer.

As a result, the crossover – the point at which the costs of meeting a vehicle’s service needs exceed the long-term costs of replacing it – varies quite a bit. At least according to the township’s calculations, that point is reached well before the vehicle is driven into the ground and its only remaining value is for scrap.

Unlike private individuals who buy their cars from dealers, most municipal governments buy new vehicles through state contracts and sell their used ones outright rather than trading them in.

Until a few years ago, that involved bringing in an auctioneer and advertising the real-time sale of whatever used, surplus, or confiscated items the township wanted to dispose of. In addition to vehicles, this has included computers, mowers, office furniture, traffic lights – just about anything.

Today, it’s done online and anyone can participate from the comfort of home or office. For Cranberry and a growing number of other local governments, that auction site is Municibid.com, which is sort of an industrial-strength version of eBay.

It takes much less staff time than live auctions, and it has the potential to reach a much wider group of bidders. Just set up a password and you’re good to go.

The township vehicles currently on the block include two Ford Explorers, a Crown Victoria police interceptor – absent its strobe lights, sirens, push bars and decals – a 1995 F-150 4×4 with 82,000 miles, and a great 1993 International Do-All 4×4.

When originally purchased, the Do-All, with its built-in conveyor bed, was perfect for maintaining the township’s many tar-and-chip rural roads. Since that time, most of those roads have been rebuilt and paved with asphalt so the truck’s original purpose no longer applies here.

If you know of a rural community looking for a good value on a great truck, just direct them to the website. There’s two weeks left in the auction, and the truck’s still got years of good service life left in it.

Check it out.


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