A black 2021 Toyota Tundra is shown driving on a city street after viewing used trucks for sale.

High New Truck Prices: Are They Making Used Trucks a Better Deal?

In the past few years, rising costs have made new vehicles harder for some people to afford. Unfortunately, prices are still rising each year, prompting many buyers to seek comfort in the used car market. This trend is particularly evident in pickup trucks, where there remains a high demand for rugged and versatile models—and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, it seems that consumer demand will remain vital for the foreseeable future, given the economic and market trends currently going on.

Whether for work or play, a truck can be a significant part of your life. However, with new models being so expensive, many find that used trucks for sale better fit their budgets. If you’re wondering whether high truck prices make used models a better deal, buckle up because we’re about to go in-depth on why there’s an increasing demand for used trucks and whether they offer more value in today’s market.

Rising Truck Prices: The Sticker Shock Effect

In the last decade, new truck costs have steadily climbed to the height they’re now at, leaving prospective buyers in a state of ‘sticker shock,’ balking at the ludicrous price of a single vehicle. The price surge is attributed to multiple factors: the introduction of new technologies and features, increased material costs, and inflation. This results in the average price of a new pickup seeing a substantial uptick, making it harder for many buyers to justify the expense.

You can easily pay well over $40,000 for these new trucks with fully loaded models surpassing the $50k threshold. For many folks, this intense financial commitment is simply not doable, especially considering ongoing maintenance costs, financing, and insurance. Sure, owning a new truck can be fun, but at such an extraordinary cost, it might deter some folks from making the investment. Seeing that sticker price might just be too shocking.

A black 2021 Toyota Tacoma is shown parked on a bridge.

The Appeal of Used Trucks

In lieu of these elevated prices, used trucks have become an appealing alternative for budget-conscious shoppers. Buyers can avoid the steep depreciation in the first few years of a new vehicle’s life by buying used. New trucks can lose a significant percentage of their value in the first year alone, while used trucks have more stable values.

What’s more, the used truck market gives you a wide variety of affordable models to choose from, from older models with proven dependability to newer models still in great shape. This variety lets you find a used truck to fit your unique budget.

Insurance costs tend to be more affordable for used vehicles than for new ones. This can seriously reduce your overall ownership expenses. On top of that, you get an in-depth vehicle history report with a pre-owned vehicle, not to mention owner reviews, known model issues, and reliability ratings, which can help you avoid possible pitfalls—no one wants to end up with a dreaded “lemon.” After all, many used trucks have demonstrated their durability and dependability over the years, proving smart choices for those on a budget.

The Age Factor: How Old Is Too Old?

Used truck buyers often ask, “How old is too old?” The answer can vary based on factors like the truck’s mileage, maintenance history, and your intended use. A used pickup that has been well-kept over the years can have a lot of life left in it. However, you should review maintenance records and have a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle before you buy it.

How many miles are on the truck you’re hoping to buy? Lower mileage is often desirable, but remember that trucks primarily driven on the highway can have higher mileage while in excellent shape. How you use your truck should factor into your decision. If you need a truck for short daily commutes, an older model with higher mileage might do fine. Yet, if you need something for heavy-duty work, a newer, lower-mileage model is ideal.

Understanding the Market and Demand

Over the last few years, there has been a high consumer demand for used trucks thanks to the rising prices and the abundance of solid, dependable used models becoming available as newer models get released. This has created a robust secondary market for trucks, fueled by limited new truck inventories and production delays, contributing to increased resale value. Consumers are turning to the used market out of necessity as they find it more challenging to secure a new truck in a reasonable timeframe.

A brown 2020 Toyota Tundra s shown towing a boat near water.

Certified Pre-Owned Trucks: A Compelling Option

For buyers who crave peace of mind with a manufacturer-backed warranty and a rigorously inspected vehicle, Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) trucks make for a strong choice. These trucks undergo stringent inspections and refurbishments, ensuring they meet high-quality standards set by manufacturers. CPO trucks can be costlier than other used trucks, but the warranty coverage can be worth it if you want to feel like you’re driving a new vehicle.

Market Conditions and Economic Factors

When evaluating the value of used trucks, it’s important to understand market conditions and economic factors. Economic conditions—including fluctuating fuel prices—impact the desirability of trucks. When fuel costs rise, consumers might prefer smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. When fuel costs are lower or stabler, the demand might increase.

Market fluctuations can influence used truck pricing and availability. For example, when there is economic instability, used truck prices can rise, diminishing some of the cost averages of buying used.

Tips for Buying a Used Truck

When considering buying a used truck, always do your research and be thorough! Investigate the particular make and model of the truck that piques your interest. Search for consumer reviews, common issues, recalls, and reliability ratings to help you make an informed decision.

Once you find a model you like, request a vehicle history report to check for title issues, accidents, or any other potential red flags that could affect the truck’s reliability and value. You’ll want to brace yourself to negotiate the price with the seller, especially if you discover issues during inspection or find comparable vehicles at lower costs.

Consider getting an extended warranty or buying a CPO vehicle if you’re concerned about potential repairs to protect your investment. Make sure you account for ongoing costs of ownership— fuel, insurance, and possible repairs. You’ll need to prepare yourself for those added costs each month and should factor them into your overall budget.

Used Trucks for Sale – Are They Truly a Better Deal?

Let’s face it: new truck prices will probably continue to rise for a while. In this era, used trucks have become an attractive alternative for budget-savvy buyers. The advantages of lower insurance costs, rapid depreciation, and access to a large variety of options make used trucks a viable option. Of course, you should always carefully consider a used truck’s condition and age, as well as economic factors and market dynamics.

Whether a used truck is a better deal for you depends on your unique needs and requirements. If you’re searching for a versatile and reliable vehicle that will not drain your bank account, a carefully chosen used pickup truck may offer the reliability and value you crave. As the automotive market shifts, the allure of used pickup trucks will likely persist, making them appealing options for many buyers shopping on stricter budgets.