Best Tips for Buying a Used Pickup Truck

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Trucks are cool. V8 engines, dual exhaust systems, LED headlights, and all-terrain tires all give the impression that the driver means business. As people figure out their dream car, finding one that’s worth their time, money, and attention is important. Here are some of the best tips for buying a used pickup truck so that you know what you’re looking for.

Do Some Research

Not every pickup truck is the same. Like any vehicle, there are many different makes and models to consider. Firstly, which size are you looking for? Currently, there are a few sizing options to know: mid-sized, full-sized, heavy-duty, and off-road. Mid-sized trucks, like the Toyota Tacoma, have roughly similar dimensions to an SUV. They are more compact than full-sized trucks but offer better mileage. Their towing and payloads are generally less than full-sized trucks, so don’t expect to use them for serious heavy-duty work. Full-sized trucks, like the Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado 1500, are standard trucks great for work or fun. They’re efficient driving vehicles that have a sizeable bed with good towing and payload capacity. Their heavy-duty counterparts, like the F-250 or Silverado 2500, have even greater payloads and towing but have worse mileage given their larger frames and weightier engines and parts. Lastly, off-road trucks, like the Ford F-150 Raptor or Dodge Ram TRX, have the same dimensions as full-sized but have different suspension, tires, wheels, and other functionalities that make them suitable for off-road driving.

Set a Budget

With that in mind, set a budget. When buying a used vehicle instead of a new one, you’re going to see vastly different prices. Like-new trucks with low miles on the odometer are going to cost more than an older truck with more miles on it. There’s nothing wrong with buying an older model either. The main characteristic to be mindful of is condition. Check the auto history to see if the truck you’re interested in has been through any accidents or needed many vehicle repairs in its lifespan. Even if the truck seems to be in good condition, there may be issues under the hood that the dealer hasn’t disclosed to you.

Consider Customizations

One of the best tips for buying a used pickup truck is to consider customizing your truck. Anyone can easily turn their mid-sized or full-sized truck into an off-road vehicle with the right aftermarket parts. Consider light bars, fender flares, mud flaps, all-terrain tires, running boards, tonneau covers, Beadlock wheels, grille guards, or a suspension lift as possible pickup truck customizations. Alternatively, if you want to keep customizations simple, consider getting a new paint job. There are plenty of paint options for the Ford Raptor, for example, that you can choose from. Since dealerships offer a limited selection of paint choices—with black, white, blue, or red as the most common—choosing a new paint color offers a nice personal touch to your ride.

Written by Kevin O'Neill

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