Monday Jan 17, 2022

3.5T or 7.5T recovery vehicle

When considering auto transporters and salvage vehicles, 3.5-ton trucks can provide a cost-effective alternative to 7.5-ton trucks, especially with rising fuel costs.

Operating costs and flexibility are the keys to purchasing decisions. It is not necessary to buy a larger truck than necessary. The choice depends on the loads, but for recovery operators with more than one vehicle, it makes sense to have at least one 3.5t truck in the mix.

Illustration of fuel costs

If the cost of fuel is £ 6 per gallon, then this would be roughly £ 40,000 per 100,000 miles for a 7.5t truck. As a 3.5t truck it uses about half of this amount (running at about 30 mpg as opposed to 15 to 17 mpg for a heavier truck).

After 100,000 miles, you will have saved most of the cost of replacing the recovery light vehicle.

3.5 Your truck

  • Capital cost: around £ 20,000
  • Fuel at £ 6 per gallon per 100,000 miles: £ 20,000 (based on 30 mpg)
  • Total cost: £ 40,000
  • excluding other operating costs such as taxes, insurance and maintenance.

7.5 Your truck

  • Capital cost: around £ 48,000
  • Fuel at £ 6 per gallon per 100,000 miles: £ 40,000 (based on 15 mpg)
  • Total cost: £ 88,000
  • excluding other operating costs such as taxes, insurance and maintenance.

Paying for the tonnage

Heavier 7.5 ton trucks are more expensive to drive, and in most car hauling cases a 3.5 ton truck will provide enough payload to do the job just as well.

The KFS designed and built ultracar transporter specifically for the vehicle transport market offers a massive 1,780kg payload in a low-line chassis design. This payload covers about 80% of the cars on the market, which means that a lighter and more efficient vehicle can be used in many races, especially for longer trips, allowing instant fuel savings.


The versatility of the 3.5 ton truck makes it an ideal vehicle for the salvage business. 3.5 ton vehicles can be driven with a standard UK license and, unlike 7.5 ton trucks, they do not require an additional license, or tachograph or tachograph training.

They also tend to be able to reach higher speeds, even under full load, reducing travel times and reducing overtime. As a smaller vehicle, they are easier to maneuver with smaller loads, and since they are based on a standard chassis, the maintenance and testing costs are also very competitive.


The latest generation of 3.5 t trucks is not of inferior quality. They’re rugged and built to last even if they cover 2,500 miles per week, and they should provide similar reliability to heavier vehicles. The entire aluminum deck construction combines comprehensive strength and corrosion resistance while maximizing the vehicle’s carrying capacity.

There are numerous reasons, especially financial, why it makes sense to switch to a 3.5 ton truck, especially with those with a fleet of vehicles. A 3.5 ton truck makes economic sense to include in an operator’s fleet.

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