Used truck values: age and mileage count most

Market volumes don’t have as much impact on depreciation

Throughout my time as the Industry Analyst for Truck Blue Book, I have frequently come across questions regarding depreciation rates of heavy duty commercial trucks. 

While size class is one of the largest factors in depreciation, the truck cab will impact the rate as well.  Sleeper and day cab heavy-duty tractors depreciate at different rates, which should come as no surprise.  The difference between average utilization however is much different.  The age of popularity on the used market for day cabs is older than the sleepers. I spent time investigating the relationship between these two factors that impact used truck values on the market, and here’s what I found.

There is a clear difference in volumes on the market by age between trucks with and without sleeper cabs. Those with sleepers are more common starting at age 2 and those without are highly dispersed over 6 years.  Heavy-duty day cab tractors show a much smoother depreciation rate than those with sleepers with a much less dramatic drop within the first 5 years of usage. 

The largest spikes in average mileage for all heavy-duty trucks is within the first two years, but the day cab trucks show an even higher increase in mileage than the sleepers within the first five years. Mileage for day cabs stabilizes after five years, while sleeper trucks continue to increase mileages beyond 10 years of age.

Overall, depreciation rates of trucks are primarily due to age with average utilization influencing the market, and volume does not have a significant impact on overall market depreciation.  This is why each truck is broken down by type and given a different depreciation rate based on age when we determine the used value within Truck Blue Book.

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