13th point is very much important.


One of the main reasons a person buys a used shuttle bus is to save money. So, the last thing a person wants after buying a used shuttle bus is to spend or lose money. Spending additional money can take various forms such as- significantly more maintenance than newer buses, more downtime, worse fuel economy, or a major component (engine, transmission…) breaking which often could cost more than the value of the vehicle to replace.

So here are 15 things you ought to know before purchasing a used shuttle bus, for a complete actualization of the money you have put in:

  1. Age is just a number

A used shuttle van for sale, being used for 3-5 years, might cost less than a similar used shuttle van for sale which is on the road for 6+ years. Wonder why? Because of the condition, the state of being in which the van is. There is a hidden assumption in most people’s minds that lesser number of years of usage automatically means that the vehicle is in better condition than one which has been used for comparatively more number of years. The nature of usage matters. The degree of care matters.

Now, of course, newer buses may hold certain advantages like in-built features or certain benefits applicable only on the newer bus. Moreover, the fact that relatively newer used buses are in better condition than their older counterparts, does generally hold true.

Overall, concentrate on the condition of the bus instead of its age.

  1. Concentrate on your particular case scenario

Let’s say your friend has purchased a used 2014 Starcraft Allstar for around $25,000. You intend to purchase the same bus, from the same source. However, bear in mind that no two used buses are the same. You need to carry out your own inspections, verify what needs to be verified, and only then proceed. The difference in the two bus units, the time difference between when your friend purchased it and when you are purchasing, the market conditions – all points need to be factored in for your unique purchase process.

  1. Know your warranties

Check out all the paperwork and confirm from the buyer whether warranties are applicable or not. If applicable, inquire still as to whether it is applicable throughout the country or only at that particular dealership/place.  Many times, extended warranties are available.  But, consider the price of the warranty vs. what it covers and percentage of time of failure.

If you are not going to travel place large distances, then one point-of-repair ought to be enough.

  1. Original Title

Once a bus has been manufactured, it gets its MSO (Manufacturers Statement of Origin)/ MCO (Manufacturers Certificate of Origin).  Once the vehicle is initially registered, This is the title to the bus for sale. However, used buses may have a title later than the chassis year for multiple reasons. It is important to pay attention to the title but also verify the chassis year.  Also, you should always ask for a copy of the title prior to purchase to confirm that it is not salvage and the seller has it on hand prior to sale.

  1. Ask For Maintenance Records

Used shuttle buses are often part of a fleet. Many other types of buses/vans can also be a part of fleets, so detailed maintenance records could be procured relatively easy if the initial operator kept the records. Maintenance records are also a great indicator of the integrity of the party which is making the sale; you know they have cared for the bus, and have proof to show for it.

  1. Ask The Deeper Questions

You know why you are purchasing a used bus. But why is the other party selling what would typically be their new bus? What exactly drove them to it? Is it something related to the bus particularly, or is it regarding the business aspect, or just something personal, like lack of funds?

Identifying any potential problem is the first step towards solving it.

  1. Rust Problems

Rust initiates from the bottom of the bus, due to what it picks off the road in terms of salt and other corrosive elements. Start your inspection from the bottom/underside of the bus/van. Check all steel and metal components. Check the frame rails, wheel base, exhaust, suspension, and on.

Your thorough scanning should include assessing rust indicators, like exterior paint bubbling. You need to be on top of the rust protection game once you have made a purchase.

  1. Don’t Give In To Stereotypes

With specific pointers all around in this article, let us take a moment to reflect on a general rule, in continuation to the previous point about rust. There is a general mindset that west or southern-coast buses are more rust-free. While this may hold true mostly, it may also not. Take an example of a used shuttle bus you want to purchase. This bus may have traveled long distances to places where chances of rusting are high, and may have carried it all the way back home.

Rusting can occur in any bus, so generalized stereotypes might not be the healthiest way of approaching a used bus purchase, in terms of rust and otherwise.

  1. About The Aesthetics

Individuals, companies or dealers putting up used buses for sale often do an ‘outer’ job perfectly, while the inner components deteriorate. Painting jobs are the most common; the aesthetic appeals they provide along with covering the faults are immense. But what really count are the bus frame, engine, seat covers, overall body condition, air conditioning, and so on.

Make sure you start with the essentials, and then proceed on to the aesthetics.

  1. Check Parts Availability

Essential components of the bus should still be in production in the market.  If the manufacturer of the bus or parts is no longer around, it may be difficult or pricey to find replacement parts.  You need to know the future estimations in this respect. If parts are available, then how far from your place of operation? Are all parts available at the same location? What are the budget estimates for that? Make a list of questions and tick each of them satisfactorily.

  1. Test Drive It

A manual test drive can reveal more things about the bus to you than any amount of information on paper. Whether it is about checking the automatic transmission, the engine’s health or the numerous other cues you have learnt to detect over your years of experience in driving, try to have a first-hand test drive of the used bus for sale- either by you or a trusted colleague.

  1. Get a Third-Party Mechanic

Organized sellers will offer you their mechanic for a thorough inspection. While we are not accusing anyone of dishonesty, it is still safer to take the bus to a neutral mechanic for inspection. It will be even better if you have a list of potential pain points you need the mechanic to inspect/address.  Most reputable dealers or customers would not complain about a 3rd party inspection.  It may cost you a little up front but be a good insurance policy.

  1. Finance Calculations

You need to know how you are going to cover the capital needed for purchasing a used shuttle bus, or a fleet of used shuttle buses for that matter. Consider in addition to the capital the necessary coverage and insurance costs, maintenance needed, salaries to be paid, miscellaneous overheads, and reserves kept for untoward happenings. Over and above all these factors is the profit you will make in case of commercial business or the value you will derive in the course of your personal use. Also get a professional to ascertain price value of the bus.

At Nations Bus Sales , we do not want to dive into the financial aspects without knowing your particularities. Contact us through call on +1 800 523 3262 to initiate discussion

  1. Experience Counts

All of the above pointers may seem a mammoth process to go through, and rightly so. It can be difficult to go in the right sequence, and that is why you need veterans by your side. In one of the biggest financial decisions for many, we do not want you to navigate the complexities yourself. And that is where we step in, with the right advice and the right fleet. Dealing in new and used buses, Nations Bus Sales is a market insider since 2000. An established presence and deliveries spanning USA, Canada and Mexico, we provide end-to-end solutions to ensure your satisfaction, both before and after the sale.

  1. Engine And Fuel Type

It’s important to confirm that you choose the correct engine and fuel type.  Some engines and fuel types may cost less to start, but more over the course of ownership.  Consider where the closest station is for the type of fuel you are choosing.  There are many vehicles out there that run on alternative fuels that you may not have access anywhere close to where you will operate the vehicle.   If you have to drive 20 miles each way to fill up your bus, that could equate to as much as and additional $30-40 every fill up since many alternative fuel vehicles have lower fuel economy.  Additionally, there are many types of engine types.  Make sure you know who will be able to work on the specific engine you choose.  Even if it is in good shape initially, you will eventually need to perform preventative maintenance.

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