The call of the wild is an alluring sound that calls to many potential off-roaders each day. There’s nothing quite like the experience of taking your vehicle off the beaten path where the terrain is always unknown. To see what nature truly has to offer, there’s only one way to really experience the world: off-road.
Having a vehicle capable of surviving the abuse mother nature can dish out is important. Not all vehicles are right for off-roading. You need to have the right engine, drivetrain, protection, and general characteristics to excel. Most importantly, it’s helpful to have a vehicle that you can modify and expand whenever you want or need. If you’re relying just on what the manufacturer gives you, you’re going to be limited in your options.
This is what makes used trucks for sale so attractive to many people. Going with a used option gives you a canvas to mold into the perfect off-roader. Whether you have an extensive budget or just enough funds to afford the truck itself, you can save some money and potentially get a head start on having the off-roader of your dreams.
The Benefits of a Truck
There are many vehicles that have the potential to become a true off-road monster. Typically, anything with the ability to hold large power plants, all-wheel drive, beefy suspension, and some good cargo or passenger space will qualify. Still, there’s something about taking a truck off-road that is a truly unique experience.
Compared to SUVs or larger cars, a truck is typically designed with off-roading in mind, to begin with. At the very least, the chassis of many modern trucks are built to withstand the typical abuse experienced in professional settings. Since many people convert trucks into commercial vehicles, manufacturers often cater to this crowd even when they know common drivers will also be interested in the vehicle.
One unique reason to look at a used truck is value and performance. While many cars and SUVs can start to degrade in performance and value over time, most trucks from reputable brands like Ford and Chevy depreciate more slowly. In fact, it can be easy to find an affordable, quality used truck from all the way back to the late 90s.
You may be less concerned about the pristine condition of a used truck as well. Buying any new vehicle can create certain protective instincts in the owner. Like wanting to protect your child from harm, it is normal to experience the desire to coddle the vehicle as much as possible. Taking it off road is one of the most effective ways to do the exact opposite. From small rocks to large trees, the exterior of any new vehicle will quickly lose its “new vehicle” look.
Things to Look For
If you find yourself convinced about the merits of a used truck for off-roading, there will be a few things you will want to keep an eye out for when you start to search for good options. First and foremost, the usual rules of searching for a used vehicle apply: look for something that is in good-to-great condition for an affordable price. Make sure you take a test drive, check out everything under the hood, and take the other usual steps to make sure you’re not buying a lemon.
Beyond the basics, there are a few things to look for in that perfect off-roading truck. Used trucks come in all shapes and sizes which means some of them might already have some off-roading upgrades you can take advantage of immediately. Since other truck owners often like to go off-roading themselves, you may decide to keep your search focused strictly on any truck with the following types of upgrades.
First, keep an eye out for any trucks with upgraded suspension. Lift kits are quite common in the off-roading world to increase ground clearance underneath a truck. To increase the height of the truck, the suspension is usually replaced with a longer, beefier set of shocks and absorbers. This will keep the truck high above the ground well beyond the usual terrain and debris. Other suspension upgrades can include things like better absorbers such as airbags.
Extra protection around the vehicle may also be something to try and find. This includes things like skid plates underneath the vehicle and around the sides, larger bumpers, and all-terrain tires. These accessories are easier to add to a truck after the fact, so it isn’t necessarily a setback if you can’t find an option already tailor-made with extra protection.
Finally, make sure you pay attention to the engine and drivetrain of the truck. Many people make the assumption that any truck will do when it comes to off-roading and driving in challenging conditions, but this is false. Getting traction on loose terrain, for example, requires a combination of the right engine and drivetrain. Typically, engines with more power and torque, often found in upper V6 and V8 motors, will be able to haul the larger mass of a truck more readily. Similarly, all-wheel drivetrains maximize the amount of traction you can get on loose terrain by driving each wheel. When the ground becomes uneven or loose in spots, this type of drivetrain helps to ensure you will have some kind of traction in at least one of the wheels.
The Potential to Grow
If you don’t find that perfect used truck made for off-roading from the start, don’t worry. The beauty of the truck is its customizability. Most manufacturers design these vehicles with the intent for owners to expand later on. Finding the right accessories and upgrades to buy can be an immediate process or one you extend for several years. In other words, once you have bought the truck, the timeline to upgrade it is up to you and your wallet.
If you want to make major upgrades at any point, focus on the suspension, drivetrain, and engine in the vehicle. Small pickup trucks, for example, are more likely to come with a power plant and drivetrain that aren’t particularly suited for off-roading or hauling. Replacing either of these components can be fairly expensive and will require extensive experience or professional help. Therefore, make sure these upgrades are necessary to achieve the type of performance and capability you want from your truck.
Smaller accessories are always a great way to increase the capabilities of your truck without the need for expensive components and installation work. Replacing the tires, adding skid plates, installing a powered winch, and smaller upgrades can be done anytime you have the funds and desire. Sometimes, these accessories are enough to drastically change the handling and performance of your truck without spending thousands of dollars on costly upgrades.
Make Your Off-roading Dreams a Reality
All you need to start finding that perfect truck for the off-road is a computer or local dealership. Finding that perfect used truck is just like searching for any other new or used vehicle. Start researching what is available today to see what options will fit your needs and your budget.
As always, a little help goes a long way as well.Go to a local dealership to speak with one of their qualified, knowledgeable staff members. They can help you check out our used truck inventory, take a test drive, explore your financing options, and much, much more without all the usual hassle of searching for a used truck on your own.