4 Simple Guidelines When Buying a Used Bus for Your Local Church

by Ernest Perez

A used bus can be an invaluable yet cost-effective acquisition your local church can make. It will meet the transportation needs of the congregation while offering the convenience that hiring or buying cannot provide. However, when buying a used bus for your church, you should consider several factors to avoid getting into a bad deal. You don't want the bus engine to fail after you hit the highway, leaving you with a bitter taste in your mouth. Here are some guidelines when buying a used bus for your church.

Size and Seating Capacity -- The size of the congregation will determine the seating capacity of the bus that will be ideal for your church. You will need to know if you will be making frequent trips for the whole congregation or if just a few members will be using the bus on a regular basis. It would be uneconomical to buy a 50-seater bus when in reality only 30 members of the congregation will need the bus. Alternatively, purchasing a small bus will mean that you will have to make several trips, and thus, your church will incur added fuel costs. If you intend to have overnight travels, a big bus will obviously offer more luggage space for your parishioners.

Maintenance Record -- Usually a used bus will have served a particular school or shuttle bus company for a few years before they decide to sell it. It is prudent that you find out the servicing and general maintenance history of the bus before purchasing. An independent mechanic can help in conducting engine and general diagnostics to determine any possible issues with the vehicle. Some car dealers will be willing to furnish you with the records to show the health of the vehicle. Note that the mileage on the odometer might not tell the whole story about the maintenance history of the vehicle.

Safety and Comfort Features -- Ensure that the bus has added safety features that can also add to the comfort of the passengers. Features like reclining seats can be essential when parishioners travel for long distances. Also, check that all the seat-belts are in excellent working condition. Extra requirements such as wheelchair lifts, air conditioning, and food trays should also be considered for added convenience and comfort. 

Petrol or Diesel Engine -- This factor is one of the top priorities when buying a used bus. Will you prefer a petrol or diesel engine? The former has better performance that the latter, albeit marginally. You should keep in mind that replacing diesel engines will cost you more than doing the same for petrol engines. If you are planning on doing frequent long-distance traveling, you should probably consider a diesel engine bus.