Car Life Nation

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

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

A white 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 is shown towing a boat.

Long-Term Use: Making Used Trucks Last

Trucking is fun. It’s driving, but on a whole other level and in a whole different way. There are so many uses for trucks. At worksites, they provide storage and major-league towing capability, on the road they provide premium performance capability, and at home and on vacation, they provide a great play area for the kids or a stargazing observatory. Even better, when the winter winds and snowstorms strike, you know your vehicle has the durability to handle whatever comes. For many people, there’s almost no reason not to get a truck, except for one little thing: money. Ah, the thing we least love to talk about. There is a way, of course, to get a truck without spending top dollar. Buy one used.

It’s unfortunate that so many people think of buying a used vehicle as buying an abused vehicle. I mean, I get it. If you go to a random car resale lot, you’ll probably find some sketchy material. Google “used trucks,” and you’re likely to find some pretty janky, beat-up, straight-up dysfunctional vehicles that are no longer recognizable as trucks. Sure, it may only cost $900, but there’s no steering wheel, or any kind of wheel, for that matter.

Alright, so don’t go that route; try a dealership instead. If you’re buying used through a dealer, you’ll actually be able to find trucks that are only lightly used from very recent model years, sometimes even the current model year! These are the real stars of the used vehicle market because they allow you to have good-as-new quality without the price tag of new. Buying used can also be a more fun process because it significantly widens the breadth of vehicles you are able to consider. Some trucks are just so good that it’s a real treat to do a deep dive into their previous model years and determine which one you like best and then pursue that model year. Let’s look at two leaders in the industry, the Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado.

Survival of the Fittest

Some trucks won’t be of much use, even if they’re only lightly used. They’re all show and lack the capability trucks are known for. We’re not here to focus on those. We’re here to focus on the durable, the long-lasting, and the ones that are begging to be purchased used because they just haven’t had enough yet. In order for that to be the case, you obviously need to make sure that the vehicle doesn’t have too many miles, has the right parts, and all of the practical stuff you take care of with the dealer.

But, we’re here to talk about the fun stuff. Aside from all of the practical information about the truck’s previous usage, you want to make sure that the vehicle has the right engine with the highest possible performance specs or highest efficiency (depending upon the kind of trucking you’re doing). Now, in terms of long-lasting durability, efficient engines will bode better than high-performance engines.

Trucks and efficiency, historically speaking, have not always gone together. The times are changing, though, and there is a big movement to make trucks more efficient vehicles. Just look at all the new electric trucks coming out––it’s exciting stuff. This technology is fairly new, so buying a used, fully-electric truck is likely to be a challenge just based on limited inventory. Fortunately, a truck need not be electric in order to be efficient. Let’s look at some of the leading trucks, why they are great candidates for a used purchase, and how their engines make them efficient enough to justify a used purchase.

A popular used truck, a white 2021 Ram 1500, is shown parked in a field.

The Ram 1500

The Ram 1500 is one of America’s favorite trucks. You can tell just by looking at it. It’s one of those trucks with an appealing style, even to those who aren’t car or truck enthusiasts. The great thing about the Ram is that, as cool as it looks, it’s not just for show. This truck really can deliver. The 2021 Ram 1500 offers four engine options which is a sign you’re in good hands with a Ram. If the truck is offering four engines, its focus is delivering the driver the best, most personalized performance. In terms of performance, the star of the Ram show is the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine. While this engine delivers the least horsepower of them all at 260 (which isn’t bad), it really brings it home with 480 lb-ft of torque. That’s fantastic truck performance, exceeding even the Silverado.

More importantly, this engine is efficient. You know you’re looking at an efficient engine when the words “Eco” or “Diesel” are in there and especially so when they’re both included in the title. Diesel gets you far more bang for your buck because every unit of fuel gets you more mileage than standard gasoline. Taking it even further is the 2021 Ram 1500 Tradesman HFE EcoDiesel, which offers an EPA-estimated fuel economy of up to 23 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway. Those kinds of numbers are unheard of for a direct-injection truck, and they’re found in the Ram 1500. Trucks are great vehicles for hauling cargo, but one of the biggest objections drivers have is that they tend to be fuel-inefficient. With the Ram 1500, compromise isn’t necessary.

The Chevy Silverado 1500

The Silverado is a go-to truck for those who know the industry. It’s tried and true, high performing, and offers leading innovative technology. There’s no bad place to turn with the Silverado. It’s a great truck to buy used because Chevy is constantly renewing its commitment to excellence and progress. The Silverado is one of the most direct beneficiaries of this mission. If you’re looking for a durable, efficient Silverado, you’ll want to take a look at the 2019 model year, which rang in a major-league makeover for the Silverado. This included a larger, bolder stance and a lightweight body that shed 450 pounds from the year prior. This kind of architectural efficiency provides a better space for the Silverado’s engine to bring it to life.

The Silverado’s big performance engine is the 6.2-liter V8 engine, offering 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Those are incredibly exciting performance specs, and it’s not terribly inefficient at 16 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway. If efficiency is the most important thing to you, then the 3.0-liter I-6 turbo-diesel engine is, of course, the way to go. Like I said before, diesel means more miles for less fuel.

The Silverado has always been known as one of the most heavy-duty trucks on the market. Silverados are extremely durable, meaning that buying one used should not cause anxiety as to whether or not it’s fit for continued use. It’s a durable truck, a fun truck, and a big performer. You can’t go wrong.

A black 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 Midnight Edition is shown parked on a salt flat.

The Long Haul

A used truck may be purchased pre-owned, but that doesn’t mean drivers shouldn’t expect it to stay around for a long time. Nobody wants to buy a truck they’ll have to replace a year or two down the road. Knowing the right brands, models, and features that provide durability is key for any trucker looking to buy a pre-owned vehicle. Ram and Chevy are both leaders in the trucking game, but even a Ram or Silverado body is no good if it doesn’t have the right engine. Finding a strong engine that can deliver the performance needed while offering premium efficiency is the key to setting a used truck on the path to durability. Let’s hear it for good brands, good engines, and long-term trucking.

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