While the automotive landscape is global in nature, there are certain vehicles whose perceived identities are symbiotic with certain countries. High-end supercars, for example, are often linked to Italy – while refined performance sedans are more commonly connected to Bavarian automakers. For decades, Asian automakers have led the charge in the creation of practical, affordable offerings while UK-sourced vehicles speak to a sense of quiet elegance. But (setting aside my personal love of aggressively-styled muscle cars) it’s the classic pickup truck that’s most commonly associated with our very American brand of driving. And the wide selection of offerings, from both domestic and upstart automakers, that encourage so many truck-buyers to consider the purchase of used trucks (versus new).
Of course, each new model year brings another onslaught of polished, impeccably-equipped trucks boasting impressive powertrains, capable payload, and tow ratings, while sporting luxury amenities and the latest in infotainment technologies. But with it being so easy for a truck’s price tag to fall in around the $50K mark (and $100K trucks becoming more normalized with each passing day) it becomes easy to find the value in a pre-owned pickup.
Because it’s Still a Truck
While some might aim to acquire a pristine ‘trophy truck’, safe from the rigors and potential damage of actual labor, more understand that a bed is likely to earn some dents and scratches (if you’re doing it right). Thus, more people than ever are willing to look past the minor wear & tear, focusing solely on structural integrity and overall capability. Why? Because a few minor concessions in this regard positions them for significant savings, without any major compromises in terms of a truck’s performance. And it’s with that in mind, that we take the next few minutes to explore some of the benefits of shopping for a pre-owned truck.
Depreciation in a Nutshell
As an owner, we tend to view depreciation as a negative, reminding us that most everything we own loses value over time. But, when purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, depreciation works in our favor – empowering us to spend less or to get more for our money.
As most every one of us knows, vehicles begin to lose value the moment they’re driven off of the dealer’s lot. In fact, that immediate depreciation falls in somewhere around 20%, meaning that the valuation of a $35,000 truck comes closer to $31,000 within minutes of being purchased. And the majority of depreciation occurs within the first five years. After a year of ownership, that truck will come around the $26,000 mark. After three years: less than $19,000. And after five years of ownership, that truck will have lost over 60% of its value, falling below $13,000.
The rate of depreciation slows somewhat from that point on but, with the original owner shouldering the bulk of depreciation in most cases, it allows the secondary owner to get a far better deal than if they’d attempted to purchase that vehicle brand-new. And with trucks receiving more luxury-inspired and tech-centric amenities every day, it stands to reason that lightly-worn trucks still have plenty of bells and whistles (for those who appreciate that sort of thing).
But the savings to be enjoyed in the purchase of a pre-owned truck come in more places than just the initial price tag. There are also a number of up-front and incremental costs which are lessened when a buyer opts to buy used.
First, is the lower overall cost of sales tax associated with the purchase. There are also likely to be appreciable differences in the cost of registering the vehicle. But throughout the life of the vehicle, the incremental cost of insurance is significantly lower on a pre-owned truck than it would be for a brand new model. Thus, the savings keep rolling in.
Since we presume to have sold you on the iconographic, practical and financial rationale used to justify a used truck purchased, let’s expand on it with some real-world application, intended specifically for those looking to buy within a set budget.
A Kelley Blue Book report identified some of the Best Used Trucks available in today’s market for $10,000 or less. Here are a few of their Top 10 Picks…
- 2009 Ford F-250 Super Duty. Recommended with the 5.4-liter V8 engine, the F-250 is widely-celebrated for its reliability (especially up to the 100,000-mile mark). Find a low-mileage model and enjoy it, just be on the lookout for potential fuel pump issues down the road.
- 2010 Ford F-150. Echoing many of the same sentiments seen above, the F-150 is ideal if you can find a lower mileage offering. You might encounter some issues with timing chains and shifting, but let each truck speak for itself.
- 2008 Chevy Silverado 1500. Configured with a 6.0-liter V8, the 1500 delivers confident power and a well-mannered, comfortable ride. Fuel injection issues might arise over time, but it’s really par for the course if you’re considering a ten-year-old truck.
- 2008 Dodge Ram 1500. With a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 mated to a smooth five-speed automatic, the 1500 serves up 345 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque making it a confident performer. It’s also ideal for those who go for a unique aesthetic, and more accommodating cabin experience.
- And for those interested in a reliable midsize offering, the 2010 Dodge Dakota ranks surprisingly high with 210 hp delivered by its 3.7-liter V6. Trim, easily maneuvered and dependable, the Dakota remains a strong performer against more modest demands.
- Other picks include the 2007 Honda Ridgeline (yeah, we laughed too), 2010 Ford Ranger, 2011 GMC Canyon, 2007 Toyota Tacoma, and 2008 Toyota Tundra. Most of these are great picks for any prospective buyer with a budget, you just need to find the right fit for you — and be aware of any problems associated with a particular model or year.
Of course, there are those of you eager to point out that any savings are a trade-off for the increased cost of maintenance and repair expected of an older vehicle, and we’d be hard-pressed to argue with you. Of course, it’s more likely that an aging truck would require more work to keep it running at an optimal rate, but that only serves to reiterate the importance of performing your due diligence prior to finalizing the purchase.
A proper vehicle inspection (including test drive) is crucial; and if you’re not confident in your own ability to troubleshoot a vehicle in terms of state and reliability, then request the help of someone more qualified.
It’s also important (and more convenient than ever) to familiarize yourself with that particular vehicle’s backstory, courtesy of its Vehicle History Report. And while such reports are still bound to include some gray areas, it helps to gain an understanding of reported accidents, insured repairs or structural issues.
Bottom-line, don’t take any chances.
Deciding on a Pre-Owned Truck
If you’re one out of many people interested in a buying a used truck (or any used vehicle) you should be commended for making a decision that is both fiscally prudent, and more likely to prove satisfying in the long run. These, along with the widest possible selection of trucks to choose from, are just some of the reasons so many people decide to buy pre-owned.
What are some of the reasons you’re considering a pre-owned truck (or have already purchased one, or more)? Let us know. We’d love to get your thoughts on the benefits (and even the perils and pitfalls) of doing so.