A blue 2022 Ford F-150 is shown from the side driving on the side of a mountain after leaving a used truck dealership in Albany.

Why Used Trucks Are So Popular

You might have heard by now that there’s been a boom in the used car market recently. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing people to spend more time at home, new car demand dropped, so manufacturers reduced their output of new cars. Then, the demand for cars rose as people returned to regular life; unfortunately, by then manufacturers couldn’t keep up. That’s when we found ourselves in a position where a good used car is king. And the most popular used cars are trucks.

It has been reported that the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, the Ford F-150, and the Ram 1500 were some of the top-selling used vehicles from the past 5 years. This might come as a surprise to some, because used trucks will typically cost a pretty penny more than, say, a sedan or a coupe. When we think of the used car buyer, we think of someone trying to save money. Yet, consumers appear ready and willing to pay a slight premium to get their hands on a pre-loved pickup. There must be something to it, so I investigated just why people love used trucks.

Trucks Last Longer Than Other Cars

Trucks have a reputation for not only going miles and miles longer than other cars, but also for remaining in good condition while they’re at it. A Chevy Silverado 1500, for example, has been known to go over 200,000 miles and well into the 100,000-mile marker before facing mechanical issues. So even though used trucks might cost substantially more than cheap, used sedans, the value they deliver far outweighs the extra dollars they cost. Shoppers who don’t want to be on the hunt for yet another car in just a couple of years due to unforeseen problems are better off getting a truck than most other used vehicles.

The Parts Are Heavy-Duty

Another reason that used trucks are so sought-after is directly tied to their higher purchase price: they boast heavy-duty parts. It’s no secret that people ask a lot of their trucks. Between hauling, towing and off-roading, trucks must do things that the average car does not. For that reason, they’re generally built with extremely durable parts, and those parts cost quite a bit of money.
But it’s those very parts that let the used truck drivers enjoy many issue-free miles in their vehicles. Truck buyers aren’t just buying the frame; they’re purchasing the valuable interior workings of these powerful machines, too.

They Hold Their Value

Research has found that pickup trucks have the lowest depreciation rate of any vehicle category. While many passenger vehicles see a five-year depreciation rate of nearly 52% and SUVs see a five-year depreciation rate of 54.1%, a pickup truck only depreciates an average of 41.3% over five years. That’s an over 13% difference from SUVs, and those figures can mean serious cash for resellers. Anyone shopping for a used truck today knows that one day, they’ll be the one selling that car. It’s worth it to pay a bit more for an investment that promises higher returns in the end.

A blue 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 is shown from the side driving on an open road.

Save Money on Moving and Shipping

Having a pickup truck can save you quite a bit of money in several situations. Let’s take moving, for one thing. If you’re moving from one modestly sized home to another, you might get away with DIY moving if you have a pickup. This can especially be true if you’re moving between homes in the same town; just make a few trips with your pickup.

Moving is an unlikely task for those with smaller or less payload-capable vehicles. Overall, if you need to tow, haul or move large items on any regular basis, having a pickup truck can save you money since you won’t need to hire a professional or rent another car to do it.

Power You Can Feel

Many drivers like the power that they can feel when they get behind the wheel of a pickup. This is more of a je ne sais quoi element of car shopping. Most drivers fear that when they test drive a used car, it may feel underpowered. The “usedness” of it will become apparent.

That’s just not the case with a powerful pickup truck. Even those that have been on the road for years feel robust and ready for work—assuming that it was well-maintained.

Take the Family Camping

In recent years, mostly in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor activities like camping, ATVing, kayaking, mountain biking, and similar rugged hobbies have become more popular. Stay-at-home orders inspired people to look to the great outdoors for more of their fun, and the hesitancy to visit hotels or other rentals sent many to campsites. The popularity of these outings seems to have lasted, leaving many with this dilemma: how do we haul our camper—or transport our ATVs? How about these kayaks?

A pickup truck isn’t just a vehicle that’s great for long road trips or city driving. A great pickup truck means freedom. It opens up those weekend possibilities for a spontaneous night under the stars. Sure, used trucks cost more than other vehicles, but there are a lot of savings to find, too—if you look for them. Should camping call your name, a standard sedan won’t be able to haul your camper, but a truck properly equips you for outdoor fun.

Brands You Can Trust

If you recall the top-selling used cars I listed earlier—the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, the Ford F-150, and the RAM 1500—you’ll notice they’re all historic American brands. Each of these manufacturers has over 100 years of experience producing vehicles that America loves. And, these brands also happen to be synonymous with the truck.

In the hunt for a great used car, shoppers want a name they can trust. When people want the best brands, they also want the models that they do best. Add that all up, and you’re going to find that pickup trucks are incredibly popular on the used car market.

A blue 2022 Ram 1500 is shown parked in the mountains.

Used Trucks Are Well Worth the Cost

Savvy shoppers know to look beyond just the price tag and prioritize more than just the cheapest vehicle. All cars—new, used, or Certified Pre-Owned—depreciate and can face mechanical issues. However, concerns arise when you’re looking at a used car. So when shoppers want the discount associated with buying used with the peace of mind that comes with buying new, that happy middle ground exists in a used pickup truck.

While pickup trucks tend to be more expensive than other body styles like sedans and crossovers, even when shopping used, their parts are far more durable and they’re historically more reliable than other categories of cars. Shoppers who look to the future understand that it’s worth it to pay a bit more now and save money on repairs later—repairs that come up all too often on cheap used cars.

Consumers also know that there’s value in buying a used car that can resell for a decent price down the line. That’s a truck. Plus, who doesn’t love when a truck earns a few battle scars, like dings, scratches, and mud-stained interiors? Trucks age with grace, demonstrating the hard work they’ve done for their owners.