In the automotive industry, it seems that “used” is the new “new.” While drivers are still incredibly excited to discover new vehicles and features, they are increasingly turning to used vehicles. Many wonder if it’s a good idea to purchase a used truck. After all, trucks tend to see different uses than daily driver sedans or small SUVs. Does it make sense to look for used trucks for sale, or are you just setting yourself up for heartache?
There are many factors that go into determining whether a used truck is “good” or “bad,” such as how its been driven, maintenance records, and your own needs. You might be surprised to learn that more and more experts agree that purchasing a used truck might be a sensible approach towards getting the vehicle you want at a price that fits for your budget. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of buying a used truck to determine if this is the right path for you.
We all want to buy the best we can get for the lowest possible price. However, we’re all equally aware that the saying “you get what you pay for” isn’t just a collection of words.
When it comes to shopping for a truck, your budget is likely at the top of your list of considerations. While we would all love to sit behind the wheel of a brand new Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison model with all the options, the price tag isn’t accessible to many of us. Instead, we must compile our wants and needs into a reasonable list, then find trucks in our price range that meet those requirements.
At the same time, it’s important to keep your guard up. Many drivers prefer to buy their used trucks from dealerships instead of a private party. Not only do they have the opportunity to look at the truck online and in person as much as they want to prior to making their decision, but most dealerships perform a full inspection of any used inventory they’re selling. You might be able to negotiate a lower price from an independent seller, but nothing except human decency is compelling that seller from warning you about that weird thing the truck does when it jumps into third gear, or the way the remote door locks don’t work when the temperature drops below 50 degrees.
When shopping for a used truck, it’s a good idea to thoroughly inspect the vehicle to the best of your ability. If you’re new to trucks, or unsure about diesel engines, for example, you might ask to have the truck professionally inspected at a shop you know and trust. Shopping at a dealership should take care of this step for you–and potentially include a vehicle history report–but it’s still quite reasonable to have another set of eyes look over your potential investment.
What about trucks with rock bottom prices? Typically, these are trucks that have higher mileage, or are models that aren’t as sought after as others. For example, a Chevy Work Truck trim is going to be less expensive than a High Country trim, unless the High Country trim is older and has more miles. Still, age and miles are just numbers todays, with many trucks reporting to duty with 200,000 miles or more.
When you buy a brand new truck from the manufacturer, you have the ability to select and customize all of the details that go into making your beautiful, one-of-a-kind machine. When you buy a used truck, you are buying that vehicle “as-is,” for the most part.
Used trucks can be modified, of course. In many cases, you can upgrade it with aftermarket parts, or find original parts to bring your used truck back to its intended glory. Many dealerships who will help you make these changes. Still, what you see on the lot is what you get unless you’re willing to invest money in upgrades.
That being said, trucks are built in a seemingly infinite array of configurations. From trim levels, to box/cab and axle configurations, to engine options, and add-on packages, new truck drivers have a lot of choices to make.
As a used truck shopper, you don’t have to make those decisions, but that doesn’t mean your options are limited. More and more gently used trucks are being sold to make way for newer, more powerful options. Drivers are leasing trucks more frequently, which means their turn-in could be your new opportunity. While some drivers do hang onto their trucks from the first turn of the key to the day the engine makes its last sputter, more drivers upgrade after a few years to take advantage of newer technology and capabilities.
If the latest and greatest features are some of your absolute needs, then buying a new truck makes sense. If you’re mainly looking for a good, reliable truck that can keep up with you for a few years, though, you can likely find one waiting patiently at a local dealership.
Folks who drive pickup trucks have a lot of opinions about the best trucks, the best trims, the best years, and which options they’d strike from the Earth if given the chance. You probably have at least a few opinions about trucks yourself.
Thankfully, we have the ability to research the vehicles we buy like never before. Drivers can head to the internet and get a general idea of common complaints, real driver reviews and experiences, and even research specific vehicles by their VIN. While that doesn’t mean vehicles can’t hide a few secrets and problems here and there, visibility has improved significantly over the past decades.
It will still be impossible to tell at first glance whether the truck you’d like to buy has ever been overloaded. Unless you have detailed maintenance records, you may never know if it received all of its oil changes on time. You won’t know how hard it has worked, how dutifully it has played, and where it has been driven.
That being said, there are options to help you gain peace of mind. Whether you select a Certified Pre-Owned truck that still has a warranty intact, or purchase from a highly reputable dealership that offers breakdown protection for a certain number of miles, buying a used truck is safer now than it’s been in years. Certain models may have their quirks, but we have the ability to research and decide if those quirks are worth it before we put our money down.
There are certain instances in which buying a new truck makes perfect sense. If you have very specific needs that require you to customize your truck, going brand-new is likely your best bet, particularly if you’re intent on getting the latest trailering technology or largest touchscreen setup.
However, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced vehicle that meets or exceeds many of your expectations, consider checking out the used trucks for sale in your area. This might be an exciting opportunity to drive a higher trim level than you might anticipate, or to find a low mileage, low price truck that has plenty of life left in it.
It’s still important to not go shopping for any vehicle without careful consideration. You’ll want to do plenty of research to determine if you’re really getting a good deal. At the end of the day, though, used trucks are often less expensive, offer greater selection for your budget, and can provide you with miles of driving enjoyment for years to come.