Author Topic: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?  (Read 7942 times)

Bbqmustache

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Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« on: February 26, 2014, 05:45:52 AM »
I am starting next week an auto parts delivery job.  Decent pay, but long miles (up to 180-190 per day).  I am starting this job using my personal Honda Oddysey (sometimes parts are too many to fit into a car, they say).

I am putting half my pay into a car repair/replace policy.  In about 6-8 months, this fund will build to over $7K.

Those parameters set, what older used vehicle should I be able to get for that cash (or less) that has decent mileage, good cargo space and reliabilty records.  My mechanic will then look for said vehicle among his customer base.

Thanks for your help!

ketchup

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2014, 06:20:10 AM »
An older (98 or earlier) Volvo wagon should fit the bill.  My '96 850 wagon can fit a twin-sized mattress and box spring with (a little) space to spare.  Pre-Ford Volvos are built like tanks and their engines (at least the redblock and early whiteblock) are indestructible.  Capable of 300k easy.  There are lots of them out there above 500k.  Can get around 32MPG pure highway, but around 25MPG in the city, 22 at the lowest (If you practice normal non-ridiculous driving; I think the EPA rating is like 19/25 or something insane like that).  I got mine for $2k last summer with 155k on the clock.  Solid car with loads of room, super comfortable, great stereo, and handles like a smaller car, not a boat.

Bbqmustache

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2014, 06:33:24 AM »
What are your repair bills like on your tank?

exranger06

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2014, 06:55:17 AM »
I'm shocked that they would make you use your own car. I used to deliver parts for a few years, and still work at an auto parts store part time, but I'm behind the counter now. The store I work at always had the most random, ragtag bunch of vehicles you've ever seen for delivery vehicles. At one time or another, we had several Chevy S10s, a couple Chevy Astro vans, a few Dodge Caravans, a Dodge Neon, a Dodge Dakota, a Ford Ranger, a Ford Taurus wagon, and an Oldsmobile Cutlass coupe. Basically whatever the owner could get his hands on really cheap. They were often given to the store owner as payment by some of the shops we delivered to. They were all beat up, dirty, had close to or over 200k miles, half the accessories didn't work, etc. Just real pieces of crap.

You should use either a minivan, wagon, or small 4 cylinder pickup. If you use a pickup, make sure it doesn't have a slippery drop-in bedliner. Parts will slide all over the place. Not good when your cargo consists of 5 gallon buckets of oil and/or 100+ lb commercial batteries. A rubber bed mat would work well. A truck cap may also be a good idea. Most of the time you'll probably be hauling just a set of brake pads and an air filter, things that any car can easily haul. But sometimes a shop needs to restock their oil, or needs a large steering rack, or you'll be stopping at several shops on the same run, and they all have large orders. So something like a van or truck is required.

MPAVictoria

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2014, 08:11:03 AM »
"You should use either a minivan, wagon, or small 4 cylinder pickup."

Great advice. Look at Ford Rangers, Chevy S10s and GMC Sanomas.

ketchup

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2014, 08:17:53 AM »
What are your repair bills like on your tank?
I've only driven it 10k miles so far, but the only repair I've had to do was the MAF sensor a few weeks back.  It was just over $100 I think (OEM part), and a 5 minute job to swap them out.  Shop would probably charge $200 for parts and labor. 

From what I've gathered from the online community, main points of failure on the 850 are MAF sensors (easy fix), A/C compressors (total pain from the looks of it), and ABS electronics (pretty straightforward if you're handy with a soldering iron), none of which are too debilitating or scary.  Certainly beats '99-'02 Volvos known for bad transmissions and faulty electronic throttles.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 08:22:07 AM by ketchup »

Bbqmustache

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 05:13:52 AM »
I will be working for a parts delivery service company, not tied to any store.  I talked to my mechanic yesterday (Paying cash for a bit of a discount), and he steered me away from Volvo wagons.  He suggested Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai or Subaru.

And it is the Subaru that I am researching now.  Very low maintenance cost, and older wagons are in my price range, but when buying a "high mileage" Subaru you have to make sure that the timing belt has been replaced, or be ready to pay $1200 or so to get it fixed yourself.

ketchup

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 05:40:01 AM »
I will be working for a parts delivery service company, not tied to any store.  I talked to my mechanic yesterday (Paying cash for a bit of a discount), and he steered me away from Volvo wagons.  He suggested Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai or Subaru.
If you look into Hyundai or Kia, stay away from their older stuff.  Anything older than ~2002 from Hyundai, and anything older than ~2007 from Kia.  They've come a long way (my roommate has an '09 Kia he likes), but they used to be trash.  The exception would be 1st gen Accents that are decent cars, but that's not exactly a van, truck, or wagon.  Subaru I'm not too familiar with.  Honda and Toyota are always good.
And it is the Subaru that I am researching now.  Very low maintenance cost, and older wagons are in my price range, but when buying a "high mileage" Subaru you have to make sure that the timing belt has been replaced, or be ready to pay $1200 or so to get it fixed yourself.
That's true for any timing belt driven car, which is most of them out there.  Usually the maintenance interval is somewhere around every 60k-100k miles.  If you don't know when it was last changed, change it right after you buy it.  If you have an "interference" engine, a broken timing belt 99% of the time means a destroyed cylinder head, generally thousands to have fixed.

Bbqmustache

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2014, 06:38:10 AM »
Yeah,  I have a very good mechanic that I've been going to for almost 25 years.  I start the new job after the drug screen comes back clean.  If my own company does not grow quickly, this is decent additional income for us.  If this driving gig lasts, that's when the extra vehicle purchase comes in.  But also in consideration are the carrying costs of a third vehicle (liability insurance and repairs).  If I continue to throw 1/2 of my net pay into a car repair account, these carrying costs won't affect us too much at all, the way I have it figured.

unpolloloco

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2014, 10:25:10 AM »
Consider whether anything at all is going to be any better (gas mileage, reliability, etc.) than the Honda.  Not sure you're going to find that...

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2014, 03:02:18 PM »
Consider whether anything at all is going to be any better (gas mileage, reliability, etc.) than the Honda.  Not sure you're going to find that...

Yes, none of these vehicles will be any better than the Odyssey you're currently using.

Are you in a snow area? Subarus are nice if you need AWD. Expect ~20 in mixed driving, perhaps up to 25 if you nab a manual. My wife has one and likes it, but I have sunk a bunch of money into it, including a engine (replaced myself, imported a JDM block for 1/4 the price of an American one). No brand is perfect.

If you're going to be driving a ton, consider learning car repairs yourself.

ketchup

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2014, 03:33:44 PM »
Consider whether anything at all is going to be any better (gas mileage, reliability, etc.) than the Honda.  Not sure you're going to find that...
Yeah, this.  I must have missed that in your first post.

phred

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2014, 05:45:20 PM »
You do understand that any vehicle you use will probably be worn out in a year?

dragoncar

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Bbqmustache

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2014, 04:02:59 AM »
Simple repairs myself, but I am not and never will be a mechanic.

I plan on buying an older vehicle strictly for this job within 6-7 months.  At that price point (and saving half my pay for this purpose) I can regard these vehicles as 1-2 year cars.

A Prius pickup?  I'm afraid the cost of that mod is well beyond the depths of my pockets.  But neat pictures!

Bbqmustache

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2014, 05:17:26 AM »
I start Monday, barring the snowstorm.  Being that I am traveling 160-180 miles daily through some of the wealthiest areas on the mid Atlantic coast, I wonder if I can lease ad space on the van to work some more income.  Car wrapping had it's heyday, and the internet is full of scams now, but if I were able to contact individual businesses, might I charge them say $150 a month for a magnet ad?

What businesses to target too?

Bbqmustache

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2014, 04:26:44 AM »
Finished my first week of driving job, and boy, do I drive through DC.  Twice a day, and I usually get stuck in get out of DC traffic in the afternoon rush hour.

But I do get to see parts of Rock Creek Park daily, and drive through Georgetown too!  Yesterday, my GPS and a single wrong turn had me driving by both American University and Georgetown!  I feel almost educated now.

Looks like I will be adding 1000 miles a week to the car I drive.  I think extra pay going into new car account might be for a new (to us) family vehicle instead of a new delivery vehicle.

snyder66

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2014, 04:50:49 AM »
Mid-90s Tacoma 4 cylinder.

theSchmett

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2014, 08:11:20 AM »
FWIW, the auto parts delivery vehicles I've seen are often the smallest, cheapest little econoboxes possible.

Those and the compact pickups with the NAPA hats on them.

I always figured they were mostly delivering things straight to mechanics shops, little things like batteries, alternators, engine parts not engines so to speak.

Bbqmustache

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2014, 09:38:14 AM »
Last week, I delivered two entire tail pipe assemblies, including the mufflers.  One of our warehouses has 9 foot long straight pipes, but I can't even carry that in my minivan.  And I am NOT strapping that to my roof.  Manager also showed me some 7 to 7/12 foot long tailpipe assemblies that I will have to haul.  I think I am looking at minivans, but I will take a look at the bed length on the Tacomas.

exranger06

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Re: Good delivery vehicle for auto parts delivery?
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2014, 07:56:00 AM »
FWIW, the auto parts delivery vehicles I've seen are often the smallest, cheapest little econoboxes possible.

Those and the compact pickups with the NAPA hats on them.

I always figured they were mostly delivering things straight to mechanics shops, little things like batteries, alternators, engine parts not engines so to speak.
The store I work for is a Napa and you're right, we deliver from the store right to shops, usually carrying nothing more than a set of brake pads and an air filter. Which is why I said in my last post just about any vehicle would do for most deliveries. However, the OP said he's not working for a store and will need something that can carry a lot of stuff.

OP - I'm not that familiar with Tacomas, but I think the largest bed available on them is 6 feet. They might have a 7 ft bed available; I don't recall ever actually seeing one. I know that Ford Rangers and Chevy S10s are available with 7 ft beds (6 ft being the standard length.)