Top Tips for Buying a Used Pickup

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By Bruce W. Smith

Automakers sold almost 17.5 million new vehicles in the U.S. in 2015, and more than half of those were light-duty pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers. New pickups continue to be a hot commodity in 2016, with more than 600,000 sold in the first quarter.

At the same time, there's a big demand for used pickups, both gas and diesel. The used pickup truck market is estimated by some experts to be three times bigger than the new-truck market. Those who can't afford to buy a new pickup, or who like to take advantage of depreciation, are always searching for a good deal on a used pickup.

If you're hunting for a used pickup, there are literally millions across the nation from which to choose (do a search at Cars.com or here on PickupTrucks.com to see what's available). We guess that most of us shop within 100 miles of our home — and probably less than that — so the number of used pickups available in your area will drop considerably. Still, you should be able to find at least a dozen potential candidates close to where you live.

When shopping for a used pickup, don't be blinded by the bells and whistles, nice paint and attractive price. Be smart and thorough in your decision making, and be sure to see the truck in person and do your own inspection.

To compile our top recommendations for buying a used pickup, we talked with used-car dealers, wholesale vehicle buyers, auto repair mechanics and other dealership experts to find out what they look for when buying a used pickup (with a special thank you for advice going out to Guaranty Chevrolet of Junction City, Oregon). Then we added a couple of our own tips garnered from first-hand experience. In no particular order, here's what you need to keep in mind when buying a used pickup:

 

1. Diesel Matters 

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Diesel pickups are far more expensive to maintain and repair than gas models, so it pays to look them over closely before buying, especially if they have more than 60,000 miles. Check a diesel pickup's coolant overflow reservoir for any signs of fuel or oil in the coolant or under the coolant cap. Contaminated coolant is a sure sign of oil cooler, exhaust gas recirculation cooler or head gasket issues, which can cost a load of dough to repair. Also, check for leaks around injectors or from injector lines, or around the turbocharger; if you see problems or previous repairs, be cautious. Finally, if engine repair work has been done, get the specifics on when and who did the work. Follow up with the shop that did the work to find out more details.

 

2. Warranty

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Are the drivetrain and smog system components still under warranty? Check the mileage against the truck's drivetrain and the federal emission warranty, which covers some pickups for as long as eight years or 80,000 miles, whichever comes first. This is of particular concern for higher-mileage (125,000 miles or more) diesel pickups, where out-of-warranty engine, computer and transmission repairs can be more likely and costlier. That's where a used truck from a dealer has benefits as some offer a limited warranty after their mechanics have given the truck a detailed inspection and pre-sale service.

 

3. DPF Deletes Are No Good 

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Some diesel owners are notorious for removing the diesel particulate filter, muffler, EGR cooler, and blocking or removing the EGR valve for more power. Yes, these "deletes" add power, but removing them is against federal smog laws. Many states/counties require those parts to be replaced before a pickup can be sold or licensed. Replacing deleted exhaust/smog components can cost thousands of dollars. If the diesel truck you are eyeing is missing any of these components, make sure the owner includes the deleted smog-related parts in the deal.

 

4. The Test Drive

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As with any vehicle, you want to take the truck on a test drive. Accelerate hard, give the brakes a workout, and get the engine and transmission up to operating temperatures. A 20-minute drive should be enough time to reveal any readily apparent drivetrain, steering and/or suspension issues. Does the truck wander? Is there play in the steering wheel? Does it brake straight and strong? Are there any quirks in acceleration? Does the transmission shift smoothly through the gears? Try manually shifting the automatic. Do you see exhaust smoke during hard accelerations or when you lift off the throttle and the truck slows? Pay close attention to your gut feelings.

 

5. Transmission Checks 

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Always pull the dipstick on an automatic transmission before buying a used pickup. The fluid should be reddish with little smell. If the fluid is brownish or smells like burned brake pads, the transmission has internal issues. If it's a manual transmission, short-shift it into high gear during the test drive and accelerate fairly hard to check to condition of the clutch. There should be no slippage or chatter. Also get to a speed where you can cruise in 3rd, 4th and 5th gear without the need for throttle — listen for gear whine or driveshaft vibrations when the truck is in this "limbo" driving mode. Lastly, when feeling for driveline vibration, be sure you know what kind of tires you're driving on to make sure you don't mistake mud-tire issues for a driveline issue.

 

6. Shifting Gears 

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While test-driving a 4x4 pickup, take the time to put it in four-wheel drive. Get off the pavement if you can. Drive it in both high range and low range. Listen for any odd sounds or grinding related to the transfer case operation. Make sure the front hubs are locking or the front tires are driving. Slip it back into two-wheel drive and spin the rear tires to see if the limited-slip or locking differential (if so equipped) is operating correctly. You are not abusing the truck — you are making sure you are buying a 4x4 that works as it should.

 

7. Crawl Under, Look Up 

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After the test drive, check underneath for signs of fluid leaks. Leaks under the engine may indicate a serious issue in a front main seal, water pump or failing gasket. Also check the rear of the transmission, transfer case (if a four-wheel drive) and axle housings for oil leaks. Pay close attention to the backside of the wheels for signs of oil coming from bad brake lines and axle bearings. The seller may have pressure washed underneath prior to you seeing the truck, but leaks of concern will usually show up after the test drive when fluids and lubricants are up to operating temps.

 

8. Service Records 

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One of the best indicators that a used pickup is everything the seller claims is if it has a detailed logbook or service record and receipts of performed work. Oil and filter changes at regular intervals in accordance with the owner's manual, receipts showing any/all work done, and any other dated records can be a good indication the seller isn't trying to hide anything. It also indicates the engine and transmission should have a longer life than a pickup whose owner let routine maintenance lapse for long periods of time.

 

9. Background Check 

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It's always good to do a background check on any used vehicle you are interested in buying. Carfax.com and VincheckPro.com are two sources that offer such services. Keep in mind that these services are only as good as the sources feeding them the information. If a pickup has been in an accident, for example, and the owner or the shop doing the repair work didn't report it to an insurance company, that repair work will not show up. It's also advisable on a later-model used truck to check the vehicle identification number to see if there are any outstanding recalls that need addressing. Go to safercar.gov to find out.

 

10. Flood-Damaged Vehicles 

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Vehicles that have been flooded can make it into the open market when they should have been scrapped. If a pickup was refurbished because it was flooded, our advice is to avoid it. If the truck has bubbles under the paint, new carpet and seats, mold or water marks on seat belts, seats or headliner, or has rust or mud anywhere in the cab, beware. Do a thorough inspection; lift the carpet and look for signs of corrosion in the cab or under the hood. Check for moisture inside the instrument panel. The biggest issue with flood-damaged pickups is that water submersion wreaks a slow, cancerous death on mechanical, electronic and fuel systems. Flood-related problems are difficult to detect unless you check the less obvious parts of the truck.

 

Bonus: Salvage Titles 

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If a truck has a "salvage title," it's been considered a total loss for some reason and it's been refurbished. Ask a lot of questions as to why it has such a title and exactly what type of work has been done. We'd recommend you have a trustworthy mechanic give it a thorough inspection before making a decision. There's a possibility the truck was flood-damaged, cleaned up and found its way into the used-vehicle market, possibly thousands of miles from where it originated. If the title has a stamp on it that says "flood," know there will be issues no matter what the price.

Cars.com photos by Bruce W. Smith

 

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Comments

#1 tip on buying a used truck: Don't. Unless you are extremely lucky and find one that was babied by its first owner, the odds are that truck has been through the mill, even if it still looks good. All the author's tips are valid if you just have to buy used, but expect to put out a few thousand in repairs within the first 12 months of ownership. I have never bought a used vehicle of any type that didn't cost me $5000 (inflation equivalent) within the first year of ownership.

Been looking for a used truck for a while now and your post has a lot of great info!

It doesn't make any $$$ sense to buy a used truck in this market, unless it's 7-10+ years old. Go price out those 2-3 year old trucks that the depreciation is "supposed to be out of", the dealer has them marked back up to new prices and won't budge. Combine that with 0% and thousands of cash on the hood of new trucks and plus you get a warranty, so why wouldn't you buy new?

As for relying on a title history report from one of the "autofax" services; it works if the seller is honest. There are examples of flood/salvage vehicles titles being scrubbed by reregistering the truck/car in a state that is lax on details.

My BIL used to be a used car salesman. The stories he tells are horrendous.
Most sellers don't go to the expense of replacing seats and it's a red flag if seats are new. The quickest way to find flood evidence is checking up under the seats with a mirror and flashlight. You cant get water evidence removed up in there.

Most of the trucks out there were not used as trucks, just grocery getters n taking a truck load of kids to soccer practice. I bought a 5 year old truck and in 3 years all I hav done is replace one wheel bearing, cost me less the a hundred bucks...still looks like brand new as all I do is hunt and fish and haul my bike to triathlons....

Oh on checking the previous owners repair records, that is fine is you are buying it from them, but dealers just throw them away...

most things that typically go out 150,000 miles or more are things like batteries, alternators, water pumps, brake pads, ac refreigerent, etc. if there is no bed liner and they have worked the truck you can expect some bed rust. always change all fluids after 150,000 miles. remember to use limited slip additive to the rear end. and if it is new enough, take it to the dealership and give them the vin to get the option sheet when it was new. its best to do that so you can find out what rear end you got and to see where it was first sold and what all packages it has/had.

yes, used trucks tend to have ridiculous prices unless 10 years old or older seems like. In 2010, I financed a 2003 ram 1500 for $9,500 and I still see 2003-2008 trucks around that price. if you want something semi modern and it is purely for work, check out regular cabs. they tend to be cheaper as most people are flocking to crew cabs now days. crew cabs have become the "Tahoe's for guys" so to speak (USUALLY, women drive suvs to carry their children around, but I realize guys drive suvs too.).

#1 Only go with used pickups 2 years older or less
#2 If you live in the U.S. DO NOT buy a used truck that was shipped in from Canada, that's a nightmare!
#3 Call your insurance co with the VIN # they can check if there is a problem.

The right used truck less than 2 years old with less than 25K miles is a smart buy.
Right now I can get a higher end model 2015 Ram 1500 4x4 for $25K or a 2015 F-150 for $28K
www.blueknobauto.com

http://www.blueknobauto.com/used-inventory/index.htm?bodyStyle=Truck Crew Cab&sortBy=internetPrice asc&

Tip 1: Don't buy trucks that have problems with the output speed sensor on the transmission’s lead frame could force a temporary downshift into first gear, which at high speeds could cause the rear tires to slide or lock up.

Tip 2: Don't buy trucks with tires (Super Doooty) might have been damaged by a conveyor during assembly and could consequently rupture.

Tip 3: Don't buy Trucks with automatic braking system that incorrectly senses that there's another vehicle in its lane.

It's easy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbPiUefJlL8

Don't lose sleep over buying used trucks--there are better and more profitable ways to use your time and attention.

You will save a minimum of 10k buying a late model used truck and within five years the difference in the resale value of your "used" truck will disappear. I bought my reg cab Silverado LS with 22k miles and one year "on the clock" and saved 10k on the retail price--and the dealer gave me a great deal on my trade. Today, you can't tell my truck from an 09 that was bought new.

If you can afford to buy new, don't lose any sleep over that either. Just do it.

Get what you want, and enjoy it. Don't analyze to much. Have fun. Life is too short to sweat small sh*t. Go fishing more, take a little boy or girl to the beach. Stop worrying.

@Robert

Your comment cracks me up. Did you read it before you hit the button?

According to your awful advice, EVERY truck less than 7 years old is a POS unworthy of anyone's attention.

Really?

Don't buy a pickup that has a recall for a flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the vehicle can fatigue and separate over time as a result of the driver repeatedly bending the cable when entering and exiting the seat. Seat belt failure increases the risk of injury during a crash.

Don't buy a truck that fails IIHS crash tests and the company says from a spokesman for Ram told PickupTrucks.com: "Our vehicles are designed for real-world performance and no single test determines overall, real-world vehicle safety. Every FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] U.S. vehicle meets or exceeds all applicable motor-vehicle safety standards."

Don't buy a pickup with defective airbags. The Toyota Tundra pickup truck from model year 2003 to 2006 is part of the 1.4-million vehicle expansion of the Takata airbag recall announced June 16. Toyota effectively took regional recalls in areas of high absolute humidity on five vehicles, including the Tundra, and expanded them to nationwide campaigns.

Don't buy a truck with even more air bag recalls. Additions to the Takata airbag recalls continue to roll into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The latest GM expansion includes 330,198 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500/3500 heavy-duty pickup trucks.

Don't buy a pickup that has a rear drive shaft that can come off the truck and cause a crash. Affected pickups were assembled in such a way that the rear axle pinion nut can loosen and possibly detach from the driveshaft, potentially causing axle lock up and increasing the risk of a crash.

Don't buy a truck that has an insufficient weld, the rear shocks may detach from the vehicle at one end and possibly damage other chassis components or the tire, or result in reduced braking ability, increasing the risk of a crash. Chrysler will begin notifying owners this month

Yeah go buy a Tundra. Nobody else does. Should be plenty on hand.

Solution: Buy a used Toyota if you can find one!

If you can't buy from a friend and know how it was treated, don't buy used at all. Read the forums and see what the people are doing to them before you buy them. Jumping sand dunes, pulling stumps and never changing the tranny fluid. 20,000 mile oil changes. Cutting the hell out of the wiring looms and splicing all kinds of crap in to them. Melting wires down because too high amp draw accessories were installed. Hooking all kinds of wires together so all the lights will come on at once and then looking for help trying to get it fixed because the manufacturer voids their warranty.
If you read the forums for 1 week you will see why so many people say that's why they won't buy used trucks.

I was in the market for a used truck...what do you guys think of this one?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czyaZmYz9FQ

The guy says low millage and never been in an accident!

Don't buy my truck when it's used, it's been through the ringer.

If it's been recently undercoated, what is it hiding? Mud on top of the frame rails/crossmembers is hard to get at, but easy to spot.

Trucks that have been worked usually have a stained headliner (dirty hardhats).

Look for antenna magnet swirls on the roof (lazy detailers won't bother buffing the roof of a pickup truck).

Again, don't buy my truck when it's used...

Tips on buying used trucks.

Step 1 : Don't buy a Ford.

Step 2: see step one above.

Funny to see someone posting (I forget who) about not buying used trucks. Really? 97% are commuter vehicles. Seriously, most trucks are NOT beat or used hard. Most have been used the same as a sedan. Especially if they are a FIAT truck, that is all they are good for.
I bought a 2004 Heritage Ford with 43k miles, still using it today, but only use it to tow or haul. 60K on it now.
I commute to work in a car.

If the idea of a massaging seat appeals to you, don't pay extra for it as an accessory, buy a GM as that feature comes standard on most of them, and it can't be shut off..

Don't buy a truck that doesn't work well. When I joined the Air Force, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (DADT) remained in effect, if only for a little while. I was jubilant when I heard that Congress had lifted the policy as I waited in line to receive my rifle one morning.

Fearful of being labeled “the gay kid” rather than being known for the caliber of Airman I was becoming, I made decision to keep my head down and focus on being the best.

Although I heard stories from peers about Airmen attacking me for being gay, others were quick to defend my character and the personal attacks were eventually abated. For the first time, I enjoyed an environment in which I was comfortable and at home in my squadron, no longer distanced by hatred and fear.

Don't buy a used Ford, actually avoid Ford's in general. Chances are a used Ford was once a fleet truck that was a victim of the tried and true breakdown maintenance program. Second, ford fleet trucks are abused by the operators that don't give a s&!t because it's not theirs and it's just a Ford attitude.
Buy a GM because their owners are higher class, have more money and ultimately take better care of them. Plus there is a good chance there is warranty remaining on a GM. GM has better coverage and take better care of their customers.

My used Ford was a fleet vehicle and I have had no problems, so your argument is invalid

I've bought or helped friends and family buy many used vehicles over the years cars and trucks. Never bought one I regretted later. Never.

My advice is figure out exactly what you want and then go find that exact vehicle for sale. I always know exactly what I want. The year. The miles. The engine. The transmission. The options. It usually takes months for me to find the vehicle i want at the price i want. Also very important to read online forums to know what specific issues that model is known for. Diesels that are used are extremely risky because repairs can be ridiculously expensive. I would never buy a used diesel unless I knew the previous owner or had very low miles. My buddy bought a used high mileage duramax and then spent thousands keeping it running. Injectors transmission and lots of worn out parts. Would have been cheaper to finance a newer more reliable truck than keep that thing running. He eventually dumped it and did just that. I always ask myself "what if this lost the transmission a week after i bought it". I make sure the price is low enough that I can afford a major repair shortly or that the miles are low enough that a major repair is unlikely. And high mileage newer cars are often more reliable than low mileage older cars. I bought a ford fusion with 150000 miles for really cheap four years ago and have less than 100 dollars in repairs after 20,000 miles. A newer vehicle with high miles probably spent a lot of time on the highway which isn't as hard on a vehicle as city driving. I love buying two or three year old vehicles with high mileage for really cheap. They are more reliable than people think.

#1, don't buy anything GM. Your just setting yourself up for trouble. I will never own another one because I learned the hard way that they are pure junk. I'm in no way a Ram fan but that would be my choice over Government Motors on any given day. Buyer beware of GM.

Most importantly, don't buy a powerstroke 6.0 or 6.4 liter. It's not a matter of if, but when.

I totally agree with the don't but GM comments. These trucks are terrible. Sad excuse for a truck.

Look who's at the top of the list and how far down the list the Ford is. Coincidence, I think not.

http://www.autotrader.com/best-cars/6-best-used-pickup-trucks-under-15000-232861

Notice the only pick-up worthy enough to make the list. Pay attention to the comments.

http://www.autotrader.com/best-cars/10-good-used-cars-under-10000-216226

Just make sure you use the brain god gave ya and don't spend your hard earned money on a chebby

Agree with papa jim, don't lose any sleep over buying a truck. If you can afford it buy new and get the 0 percent interest. Some people do not take care of things including their trucks.

"Agree with papa jim, don't lose any sleep over buying a truck. If you can afford it buy new and get the 0 percent interest."
Posted by: Trucker | May 1, 2016 4:30:06 PM

There is no such think as "0 percent interest". If you finance a vehicle, they will offer 0 percent interest from time to time. That means you'll play more for the principal cost of the truck and are essentially paying the interest up front.

It's easy walk in a dealership and tell them that you will be paying cash for the truck with no trade in. Get that price. Then tell them you now want to take advantage of the "0 percent interest", well suddenly they'll up the price. So really you are paying to finance (otherwise known as INTEREST!).

It is very common. Mexican manufactures like Ford even advertise a "For cash purchase". Here's an example....

http://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/pricing/

If Dealerships were truly honest, they would tell you that the cash price has nothing to do with "0 percent interest".

0 percent interest is just a marketing ploy.


Thanks pickuptucks.com for posting my comment. All these other guys post pure crap and post things no one needs to hear. I make a decent comment and you wont post it. I guess we really know who's in charge now don't we.


There is no such think as "0 percent interest". If you finance a vehicle, they will offer 0 percent interest from time to time. That means you'll play more for the principal cost of the truck and are essentially paying the interest up front.

It's easy walk in a dealership and tell them that you will be paying cash for the truck with no trade in. Get that price. Then tell them you now want to take advantage of the "0 percent interest", well suddenly they'll up the price. So really you are paying to finance (otherwise known as INTEREST!).

It is very common. Mexican manufactures like Ford even advertise a "For cash purchase". Here's an example....

http://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/pricing/

If Dealerships were truly honest, they would tell you that the cash price has nothing to do with "0 percent interest".

0 percent interest is just a marketing ploy.

Posted by: Ford orgullosa de ser mexicana | May 1, 2016 5:22:47 PM

Vales verga vato que traes cotra FORD si es la que vende mas que tu GOVERMENT MOTOR Y TIENE MAS PROBLEMAS. I NEVER GONNA BUY ANYTHING WITH THIS TWO LETTER ( GM) PURE JUNK.

11. (should have been part of #1), no matter how much internet forums say so, a diesel with 300k miles on it ISNT a good deal at all just because it is the same price as a gasser that has closer to 100k. Even the good ones (LB7 LBZ, 7.3 5.9 cummins etc) are going to need fuel system work and other not cheap maintenance around that mark. The engine may be ok at 300k, but the rest of the truck is exactly the same as what is behind the gas motor and isnt miraculously more reliable because of the fuel type. Don't get blinded by your desire to have a diesel and the misconception that they are instantly Corvette killers with a $100 tune, straight pipe, and air intake. The diesels that are actually fast (not just loud and smokey) usually have thousands in aftermarket mods to build that kind of power reliably.

11b. diesels (even used ones that havent been modded and had the sh** beat out of them) are really expensive to own. You are talking 3-4 GALLON oil changes, and generally any service or maintenance item is going to be 2-3x as much as an equivalent gasser. The new ones barely get better fuel economy and even that goes away when you count hte added costs of ownership and purchase price.

By all means, if you want a diesel, get one, there is no justification required, just be honest with yourself and know what you are getting into, oh and bring your checkbook.

"Funny to see someone posting (I forget who) about not buying used trucks. Really? 97% are commuter vehicles. Seriously, most trucks are NOT beat or used hard. Most have been used the same as a sedan. Especially if they are a FIAT truck, that is all they are good for.
I bought a 2004 Heritage Ford with 43k miles, still using it today, but only use it to tow or haul. 60K on it now.
I commute to work in a car.


Posted by: gomjabber | Apr 30, 2016 5:34:47 PM"

Right, its way worse, most trucks havent been used to do any work at all, they have had some 17 year old who downloaded a bootlegged copy of EFI Live onto his dad's laptop turned every setting up to 11 without any downstream mods to handle the power with and has been rolling coal all over the highschool parking lot and racing anyone who pulls up next to him at a stoplight for the last 50k miles.

I would much rather a used work/ranch truck, its a lot more obvious when they have been abused.

Generally though, used trucks are a great way to get good discounts on dealer added items like lift kits, lights, and bumpers as the previous owner paid for that stuff and it wasnt calculated in the residual value when he traded it in (because those items add zero value in the eyes of the finance people), so you get it for essentially free.

If you are using a truck as your primary use of transportation and you have a garage to keep it in then buy a NEW truck.

If you are using a truck as a secondary vehicle just using it for hauling and towing planning on rough roads or off-road, getting it dirty and keeping it outside then get a used truck.

I have a car and a truck, I prefer to drive my car cause its more comfortable, easy to drive, fun to drive and gets 32 mpg, tires and brake rotors are cheap to replace and it's faster than my truck.
My truck may sit for weeks before I use it for a 5 mile trip but when I do drive it it's either hauling or towing something, and I also drive it for the 4x4 after we get a heavy snow.
My truck is a newer 2013 with only 12K miles
My car is a 2002 Saturn SL1 with 180K miles

I admit I made a mistake buying a new truck cause I don't drive it much, but I need it, if I had to do it over again I would have bought a used truck for around $7500

The best used truck I would recommend is the 1997-2003 F-150
That's the BEST F-150 ever made!

All the used Tundra's are in the junkyard, parts aren't any good and are crushed for the cheap steel. I think those that buy a new pick up and then trade it in are some of the dumbest chits walking the earth. A pick up, any of them, (except Toyota's), will last for years if taken care of. My 1999 GMC Sierra is better at 17 years old than a brand new 2017 ram, ford, tundra or GM truck. Better steel and heavier gage in 99, now half the gage in doors, roofs, fender or doors. than in 99.

Don't buy FCA products.

http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/news/video-fiat-crashes-volvo-fiat-destroyed-article-1.2617955

@TJ you are swimming upstream here dude!

Today's trucks--every brand--are using better GRADES of steel today than ever before. That's why a thinner piece (and lighter too) does the same work as heavier components in the past.

Steel is not just one kind of metal.

Don't be afraid to learn something. I spend a lot of my free time learning about steel because it fascinates me. My stepfather was in the tool & die business and I could spend all day at his shop soaking it up.

People have been hammering iron and carbon together for more than 500 years, but it's only been during the last 150 years that the chemistry of making steel became a big deal.

Today you can use many different types of steel alloys to do your work more efficiently.

Might do the same work, but that doesn't make thinner better. When falling acorns and fingers leaning on hoods dent the metal, how is that better? The reason GM trucks have cartoonish looking fenders is because the ultra thin metal needs bends and creases to add strength. I was a machinist for over 25 years so I know a little about metals as well.

PUTC, can you please comment on what you mean by Diesel costs far more to maintain? I own a diesel and am not seeing what you mean by that statement.

@Tom

Fingers and acorns? B*llshit!

There are LOTS of very nice very lightly used trucks out there for sale who had owners that never left the payment, never towed a thing, and didn't even scratch the bed.

Many of these owners have the money to burn to lease to buy new every 4 or 5ish years like their daddy taught them. The AVERAGE age of a vehicle in the US is 11... Trucks often go even longer and because of their HUGE price, good maintenance and infrequent repairs are often far more cost effective than large payments over long periods of time.

For the very timid some even still have factory warranty and additional warranty can be purchased (and that price is very negotiable).

For one who knows that they want, selects a quality product (avoid known problem issues and the makes, models years associated with them) and looks the vehicle over very well (doing all the checks on this list and then some) the risk of buying used is highly mitigated as a vehicle that has been "through the mill" will not pass a through inspection without finding evidence of its state.

The only other advice I would give that this article missed is Don't fall in love with a truck and Don't be a hurry. Practice walking away from a deal that's not just right or a truck you are crazy about. It will build your strength/resolve/willpower and keep you out of questionable decisions. The power to walk away is HUGE. They build these things by the millions what you want might not be common but more than 1 is out there and if you can be patient you will get a better truck at a better price.

Also something that is too good to be true almost certainly is...

@Clint, what you say is largely applicable but really only to a gas truck where tuning and hotrodding isnt nearly as much of a thing and physical wear is the only real concern and easy to spot.

Diesel is another issue entirely. They are over built enough that some kid can tune the everloving sh** out of it and drive it like it was stolen for 30-40k miles, and as long as he reflashes the CPU to put all the stock values back in place, and drops the factory exhaust back in no one will ever know. The dealership will likely have the transmission flushed and send it for a good steam bath so you will never know until it is puking its guts out on the side of the highway 5k miles later.

@deviladvocate...

You are right in that theres a way around/exception to everything and being the devilsadvocate Im sure you enjoy finding them and while that's not a bad thing its also far from the norm that most things operate in most of the time.



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