If you are in the market for a pickup and want to get the most truck for your dollar, you should consider looking into buying a used truck. I know what you are thinking, we’ve all seen the signs at dealerships: “Used Trucks for Sale.” And I bet you’re wondering to yourself, “Is buying a used truck the right thing for me?” Only you can answer that question. If you want to get a great value in a pickup with all the features you like, but without the price tag of a brand-new truck, then you should consider buying a used truck.
Used Pickups Give You More Truck for the Buck
When you buy a used truck, the vehicle has already taken the massive depreciation hit that occurs in the first few years. Furthermore, many more recent used trucks will have most, if not all, of the safety and entertainment features of the same model brand-new trucks. This means that you are getting pretty much the same truck for half the price. In addition, if you do your homework and are patient, the used truck market can put you in the driver’s seat of the deal. Some used truck market observers, like Consumer Reports, have estimated that the used truck market is three times the size of the new car market. With so much inventory, the dealers may be more willing to give you a better deal on a used truck than on a new one. This is why the used truck market may give you the most truck for the buck!
Knowledge is Power!
There is an old saying that knowledge is power, and this is certainly the case when you are in the market for a used truck. Back in the days before the Internet, you had to go to a used car dealer with little or no knowledge about the truck you were considering buying. What was the service record for this particular truck’s model year? Were there any open recalls? How did other drivers feel about this particular truck and what was their experience? What is this used truck really worth? Unless you had gone to the library and read every available magazine article on the particular truck and its model year, you were at a loss.
This is definitely not the case today. There are many valuable resources available on the internet, some for free and others for a nominal price. The venerable Kelley Blue Book has been around since 1926 and is the preeminent resource for used car prices. Kelley Blue Book’s website will give you the market value price ranges and fair purchase price for whichever used truck you are looking to buy based on make, model, year, and mileage. Once you have this ballpark figure, you will be able to make a wiser decision in buying a used truck. In addition, if you see a truck for sale at a price substantially lower than that in the Kelley Blue Book, this should be a sign that the truck may have an undisclosed problem.
Another valuable resource is CARFAX. This company, which has been around since 1984, can provide you with a comprehensive vehicle history report on the specific truck that you are looking to buy. This will tell you such things as whether the truck has been involved in any accidents, whether its airbags have ever deployed, if there are any open recalls, the truck’s service history, if it has had multiple owners, and its registration information. You should request that the seller provide you with a CARFAX Vehicle History Report on the used truck, but if they don’t agree, you can always purchase one online for just $39.99, or about the cost for a trip to the gas station. Many used car dealerships even provide one for you upfront.
The government also provides a number of online resources. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a list of all vehicle recalls and technical service bulletins (TSBs) on its website. The TSBs will provide you with important information about potential problem areas with your used trucks. These are useful since manufacturers are not required to release TSBs to the general public. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System also provides a useful tool for checking on a truck’s ownership history for a nominal fee. All you will need is the truck’s VIN. Probably the most useful tool is online reviews from other drivers of the same truck’s model year. These are free and can be found by just typing in the year and name of the truck.
Pre-Owned and Certified Pre-Owned
There always seems to be some confusion between these terms. Any truck or other vehicle that has had a prior owner is “pre-owned,” or “used.” This just means that it is now in the secondary market from when it was brand-new. Certified Pre-Owned vehicles go through a rigorous inspection, with the manufacturer or other authority certifying the vehicle’s performance and quality. In addition, most Certified Pre-Owned vehicles will come with a limited warranty from the manufacturer, covering most potential problems. Many manufacturers will also issue a powertrain warranty for a Certified Pre-Owned truck covering the engine, driveshaft, and transmission, which are usually the most expensive and difficult repairs. Finally, some Certified Pre-Owned trucks come with other benefits, like a free loaner vehicle, 24-hour roadside assistance, and expense reimbursement. As a result, CPO trucks sell at a slight premium as compared to ones that are simply used.
Choosing the Right Used Truck for You
Now that you have seen the benefits of choosing to purchase a used truck, you need to decide what type of pickup you need and what features you want. The first issue is your intended use for the truck. Is it for business or pleasure? This could affect the size and configuration you need. Second, are you planning to use it for trailering? If so, you will need to know the weight of your intended trailer and the maximum trailering capacity for the truck you are looking to purchase. Some trailers, like mobile homes or vehicle flat beds, require that you purchase a heavy-duty truck. You are not going to be able to tow a large backhoe on a trailer with a compact truck. A third component is cab design. Most trucks come in one of three designs: regular cab (two-door with only front seats), crew cab (four full doors, with equally roomy front and rear seats; Ford calls this a SuperCrew), or quad cab (two or four doors, with a smaller rear seat; Ford calls this a SuperCab, Toyota calls it an Extended Cab, and Chevy calls this a Double Cab). The regular cab will typically give you the highest payload, but you are limited to two passengers. The crew cab will give you the most interior space with room for up to six passengers, but at the expensive of the payload or bed length. The quad cab is a compromise, giving you options for bed length, but less passenger space. In order to choose the right used truck, it is crucial that you consider each of these issues before starting out on your search for used trucks for sale.