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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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One of the most popular pre-owned Chevy trucks, a silver 2021 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Z71, is shown driving down a tree-lined road.

7 Things to Consider Before Buying a Pre-Owned Silverado

Trucks seem to be America’s favorite market segment when it comes to buying vehicles these days. Drivers are always looking for a good deal on a great truck, and when it comes to used trucks, there are a ton of options. It’s not so much that there aren’t enough good trucks out there, but there might be too many. For shoppers who may have at least settled on looking at pre-owned Chevy trucks, like a used Silverado, there are some things to consider to help narrow down your search.

Whether you’re a veteran or a newbie when it comes to truck shopping, there are some key factors to consider when searching for the right used truck for you. Here are 7 things to consider when looking for a used truck that will help you narrow down your options and drive away with the perfect vehicle.

#7 – Purpose Of The Truck: Work Or Play?

Before settling on a particular model year, trim, or drivetrain, you need to sit down and think about whether you’re buying this truck for work or play. And by that, I mean, are you planning on using this for common day errands, leisure travel, vacationing, and getting school? Or are you planning on using the truck mostly for work, including job-related tasks such as towing and hauling cargo?

Depending on what you’re planning on using the truck for will determine the next set of parameters you need to narrow down during your truck-shopping ventures. Some shoppers get lost in trying to find the right truck at the right price because they don’t explicitly know what role they plan to use the truck for. So before you hammer out the details on your budget and before you even put together a feature list, you need to iron out exactly what you plan to use the truck for and how long you plan on keeping it. This makes things a heck of a lot easier when it comes time to find the right kind of truck at the right price.

A white 2020 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD is shown towing in huge anvil on pavement.

#6 – Consider If You Need Light-Duty or Heavy-Duty

Once you iron out what you plan to use the truck for, next comes whether or not you need a light-duty or heavy-duty variant. Let’s say you work on a farm, or you just landed a job at a construction site, or maybe you do some part-time towing. Well, right off the bat, you’ll probably want to consider looking into buying a pre-owned Silverado HD. The heavy-duty models come in two variants, the three-quarter-ton 2500 HD and the one-ton 3500 HD. Don’t be confused by the three-quarter-ton and one-ton names, though – the latest versions of these trucks can actually handle payloads of nearly two tons and four tons, respectively.

If you don’t plan on using the truck for heavy-duty lifting, hauling, towing, or trailering, then you’ll probably want to consider pre-owned Chevy trucks of the light-duty variety. Specifically, the Chevy Silverado 1500. The light-duty trucks are still more than capable of towing, trailering, and hauling cargo, but just not at the capacity of the HD trucks. Because of this, you’ll also be paying a lot less for a 1500 as opposed to one of the HD trucks. Even used, a Silverado HD can get pretty pricey, so if you only need a simple pickup for basic work and travel, then the 1500 is going to be the better bet.

#5 – Rear-Wheel or Four-Wheel Drive

Another important component to buying a pre-owned truck is the drivetrain. This determines whether the truck is powered by rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, which makes a pretty big difference on what you can expect from the truck both in terms of performance and fuel economy. For the Silverado, you’ll find plenty of pre-owned trucks available in either configuration.

Rear-wheel drive configurations offer you better gas mileage. They also usually have better towing and payload ratings. So if you were considering getting a truck either to save on fuel or for towing purposes, rear-wheel drive would be a good way to go. Alternatively, if you live in an area with a lot of hilly pathways, dirt trails, or uneven roads, then four-wheel drive will be the better option by far. With four-wheel drive, you have better control over the truck, higher stability and traction, as well as more reliability when climbing and descending hills.

#4 – To Diesel or Not to Diesel

The Silverado HD has long offered a diesel engine option, and the Silverado 1500 recently introduced a Duramax turbo-diesel as well. Now some people might scoff at the idea of buying a diesel, but in reality, it could save you money in the long term. This rings especially true if you’re working on a tight budget and you want something with a great fuel economy. The Silverado diesel options offer better fuel economy and impressive towing capabilities.

Alternatively, if you just don’t want to bother with the upkeep of diesel, or you would prefer a larger V8 with higher tow-ratings, then you might want to skip on the diesel powerplant and go with the traditional gas option. This works either way if you go with the Silverado 1500 or a Silverado HD series. Both offer diesel options with better fuel economy ratings, but at the expense of higher upfront costs. It’s the give-and-take situation you have to deal with when thinking about buying a truck.

#3 – To Luxury or Not to Luxury

If you’re working on a budget and you only need a work truck or something to get you from point A to point B, leave luxury out. There’s no reason to seek out a pre-owned Silverado of the luxury variety. You have to consider that trims like the LTZ and High Country or special edition models hike the price up considerably, and you have to ask yourself do you really need those features if you’re working with strict finances or you’re a first-time buyer?

Alternatively, if you have the budget to splurge a bit on the more luxurious aspects of a pre-owned Silverado, go for it. But for most people relying on practicality out of a pre-owned Chevy truck, it’s probably best to go with a used Silverado that comes with the basic features that don’t stretch your finances. Avoiding the luxury trims will absolutely help you save quite a bit in the long run.

#2 – Picking the Right Pre-Owned Trim

When it comes to pre-owned vehicles, the trim is already set in place. That means the features are already set in stone, too. So when it comes time to buy a pre-owned Silverado, depending on the trim you get will determine what sort of standard features are equipped on the truck. Some of the base trims are bereft of a lot of basic features, especially for the older model years, so that’s something to consider.

If you want newer features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, or driving-assist technologies, you may have to consider finding a trim above the base level. This isn’t too difficult because there are a lot of different trim variations out there in the used market. Just be careful about certain trims that are designed for off-road purposes, such as the RST or Trail Boss trims. If you don’t have plans on going off-road, then you probably won’t need the packages that those trims come with. If you do plan on using it for off-road purposes, then you might consider going with a pre-owned Silverado of the Trail Boss variety.

A burgundy pre-owned 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ is shown splashing through water.

#1 – Model Years

One of the most important things to consider when buying pre-owned is the model year. Different model years can denote different generations. If you buy something before 2019, you’re going with a third-generation Silverado. If you buy something before 2014, then you’re going with a second-generation Silverado. Every so many years, a new generation is introduced with new base features, powertrains, stylings, and more.

The benefit of older generations is that the price is lower, which is something to consider if your budget doesn’t allow you to go over a certain limit. The downside to older generations is that you’re sacrificing fuel economy and many now-standard features in the process, such as infotainment, driving assists, and some comfort amenities. Again, it’s a give-and-take scenario based on what you can afford and what sort of features you want available as standard on the truck. If you want newer infotainment and safety assists, then definitely consider a newer generation of pre-owned Chevy trucks. If you don’t mind skipping out on some driving aids and Wi-Fi or smart-device integration, then you can opt for an older generation and save yourself thousands of dollars in the process.

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