5 Tips for First-Time Pickup Buyers

IMG_7167 II

By Jim Travers

Full-size pickup trucks from Ford, GM and Ram continue to lead domestic automotive sales. There's good reason for that. Nothing beats the utility and versatility of a pickup, whether you're a homeowner with a family, a contractor running a small business or someone with an active lifestyle and lots of gear. If you're thinking about purchasing your first pickup, here are five things to consider before you buy.

1. How Will You Use It?

Pickups come in many more varieties than cars, with different bed lengths, two or four doors, a wide choice of interior trims and powertrains, and two-, four- or all-wheel drive. Which configuration you choose depends on your needs, and that will have a big impact on price, fuel economy and handling. The most common pickup configuration is a four-door half ton with 4WD in a mid-trim level. These trucks hit the sweet spot for most buyers, combining room for a family with ample towing and hauling capability, a more carlike ride and better fuel economy than the three-quarter-ton or one-ton trucks. That said, if your plans include work such as plowing or heavy towing, you're going to need a stronger pickup.

RM017_069TF II

2. Pickups Aren't the Same As Cars

It may seem obvious, but driving and living with a pickup isn't the same as using a car. Pickups are bigger, heavier and more top heavy, and that means they're not going to handle like a car. Backup cameras, electronic safety features and interior creature comforts have made trucks a lot more carlike, but there's still no denying the laws of physics. Pickups take longer to stop and won't carve corners like a sports sedan. Parking can be more of a challenge as well, so make a visit to the local grocery store part of your test drive, along with stopping at home for a test fit in your driveway or garage. Keep in mind that some parking garages won't accommodate pickups at all or charge more if they do.

3. Don't Overbuy

Ads often show pickups slogging through mud bogs or pulling backhoes on trailers to the accompaniment of loud rock 'n' roll. That's all well and good, but most buyers may find trucks equipped for that kind of duty not as livable for everyday use. "Most people overbuy'" said Ram spokesman and truck enthusiast Nick Cappa, who pointed out that even a base six-cylinder full-size Ram half ton puts out more than 300 horsepower and can tow in the neighborhood of 7,000 pounds. Those numbers are typical of domestic pickups and are more than enough for most recreational boats and campers.

IMG_7181 II

4. Consider Buying From Dealer Lot

With all the options and configurations available for customizing a truck so it's equipped the way you want, your best bet still may be to purchase one from dealer stock. If you're flexible about colors, trim and equipment, you're likely to find deep discounts on in-stock models that can shave as much as $10,000 or more from the sticker price, allowing you to get more truck for your money. And that doesn't mean you can't still customize your truck. Most dealers offer a wide variety of accessories and spray-in bedliners as well as custom wheels and tires; they can roll those upgrades into your financing.

5. Choose Options Wisely

Another big difference between a pickup and a car is the number of available options. Upgraded trim packages, more powerful engines and add-ons both functional and cosmetic can add up fast, and more than double the price of a pickup. These days, some trim level choices on the most expensive pickups can drive the sticker prices to near six-figure territory, and that's before you add any aftermarket accessories. Start by determining your must-haves, such as a cab with four doors or an engine and towing package appropriate for your needs. Then decide whether there's room in the budget for that leather interior or sunroof. With the average transaction price for a new pickup ringing up at more than $40,000, it doesn't take long for those options to hit the stratosphere.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

 

IMG_7187 II

IMG_7173 II

17chevrolet_silverado-2500-diesel_so_ac_33jpg_33153242075_o



Comments

Papajim's five easy ways to find trucking bliss:

1. buy
2. chevy
3. or
4. GMC
5. products

6. Do not purchase a GM product.

Yeah, a V6 Ram could pull my boat but I am sorry, Hemi all the way. The gas savings is minimal in my opinion.

GMs are great! They come with thousands of dollars on the hood, and your paint cans will be mixed in the bed while you drive. Plus--they're great for landscaping too !! The unique power steering cut-out feature let's you miss the driveway and take out a whole row of shrubs at a time.

If you buy GM just remember they go bankrupt all the time, they didn't fix their ignition problems until they killed several people, they currently are recalling their trucks because they're the only company who can't figure out electric power steering.

Want a truck that lasts, buy Toyota.
Want a truck looks nice but mechanical is junk, buy Ram.
Want a truck that is full of gimmicks and gadgets that lasts a year and resale is in the pits, recalls and recalls, buy Ford.
Want to help with the US budget and the welfare system, buy GM.

One of the few PUTC articles I can agree with whole-heartedly. I would have swapped the places of #s 1 and 2 but otherwise this article makes every point I've tried to make, though it passes off one of them through possibly unintentional omission: While it never fully states "full-sized" pickups, the discussion is clearly centered around full sized and never mentioned the marginally smaller, marginally less capable mid-sized trucks, which should be a factor in any buyer's decision. If you're going to say, "Don't Overbuy," then you should clearly include the mid-sized trucks in the discussion.

Dudes, each brand has its strengths and each brand has its drawbacks; popping off with such commentary as "My brand is the greatest!" or "This brand sucks!" is childish at best and really doesn't show any of you to advantage. We all know you like one brand over another or dislike others... I have my own dislikes of which most of you are already aware. But at least I was able to offer an impartial comment to the benefit of all, not dismissing any brand or model in my statement. Can you do the same?

Don't "over buy" is the best advice I've heard.
Our transport company has a fleet of F-350's, 2500HD's and 3500HD's and even one F-450 but the truck everybody loves to drive and even tow with is a V-6 Silverado LS.
It really is doing over half of our local stuff now!

My advice: don't be brand loyal, find a good dealer.

2016 Toyota Tundra 4x4 Platinum with a 3" lift and 35" tires for my daily driver/boat hauler
2017 GMC 2500HD 4x4 6.6 Duramax for my farm truck

Get the right truck for the job, then if you are lucky you can write off some of your truck on taxes :)

One key point is to check the load ratings on the door post sticker. For example, am F150 may have a toe rating of 5000lbs. To increase tow ratings, you will need additional items, such as max tow package, specific engine, specific transmission, axle ratio, etc. I think PUTC sorta dances around this with the warnings that max capabilities may equal poor livability, so don't overbuy.

Also, test drive as many trucks as you can. $40k is a big chunk of money, especially when you lose $2-$5k as soon as you sign the papers. Get something you will enjoy for that kind of money.

Always look to the number FOrd for a first truck buy. They take no bailouts, have the best innovation, and military grade trucks.

@Nitro

I had to re-read your comment a couple of times because it seemed to be written by a pre school kid or maybe a semi literate adult. But I was able to figure it out after a couple of tries. We're cool!

You Ford guys have talked a lot of smack lately but I notice that GM is still ahead of Ford for year to date sales (without counting vans!). Cannot wait to see the new Ranger if it ever comes out. Ditto the Ford F150 Diesel.

papajim: Smack? Ford has the best selling full-size truck brand in the world. That'd be a fact.
Your tactic of adding GM's mid-size seudo-trucks to the equation is lame. And--I wouldn't talk vans until you're prepared with stats as the Transit's been killing it in sales. But, you do your own research.

Papajim,
You are one pathetic loser.

@papa, nice try, but apparently your old age is getting the best of you. Ford NUmber 1, one truck line, you and GMS/johnny/sierra, try so hard to defend the twins, but you always come up short, so sorry about that....

Stay away from the ford junk, these are common problems,

https://www.edmunds.com/car-news/ford-expands-2014-f-150-recall-advises-owners-to-stop-driving-trucks.html
https://www.autoblog.com/2016/05/25/ford-f150-brake-master-cylinder-recall/
-the-horizon/www.equipmentworld.com/as-ford-announces-one-f-150-recall-a-much-larger-one-could-be-on
http://www.lemonauto.com/complaints/ford/ford_f150.htm

Just a small portion of the recalls ford has put out.

If you enjoy being at the dealership hanging out while your truck is getting fixed......again.....buy Ford.

It you want the most powerful V8 engine diesel and gas, buy one of the full size GM twins. And then go tow anything you want.

If you enjoy being at the dealership hanging out while your truck is getting fixed......

:(


--------------------------------------------------------

GM recalling about 700,000 Chevy and GMC trucks for power steering failures.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/05/news/companies/gm-recall-chevy-trucks/index.html


On February 6, 2014, General Motors (GM) recalled about 800,000 of its small cars due to faulty ignition switches, which could shut off the engine during driving and thereby prevent the airbags from inflating.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_ignition_switch_recalls

papajim: Smack? Ford has the best selling full-size truck brand in the world. That'd be a fact. Posted by: redbloodedxy | Aug 7, 2017

@redbloodedxy

Be sure to get one of those aluminum trucks while they're still available! I don't know why anybody would want one but evidently YOU do.

Ford is in trouble. Get your military grade trucks while they last!!!

@papa, sounds funny, you sound just like GMS.....maybe you are

breaking!

2017 Ford F-250 radiator fan blows up on the way to the Ike Gauntlet HAHAHA!

http://www.tfltruck.com/2017/08/odd-ford-f250-failure-way-ike-gauntlet/

Fords are death traps and trash HAHAHA!

More ford recalls,

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB830451770503204500

you sound just like GMS.....maybe you are Posted by: Nitro | Aug 7, 2017

@Nitro,

that's just not my thing. You don't post under other names do you?

you sound just like GMS.....maybe you are Posted by: Nitro | Aug 7, 2017

@Nitro,

that's just not my thing. You don't post under other names do you?

you sound just like GMS.....maybe you are Posted by: Nitro | Aug 7, 2017

@Nitro,

that's just not my thing. You don't post under other names do you?

more recalls are coming,

Ford may be closer to major Explorer recall amid possible carbon monoxide leaks

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ford-explorer-closer-to-recall-possible-carbon-monoxide-leak-police/

More Ford recalls are coming,

Ford may be closer to major Explorer recall amid possible carbon monoxide leaks

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ford-explorer-closer-to-recall-possible-carbon-monoxide-leak-police/

breaking!

2017 Ford F-250 radiator fan blows up on the way to the Ike Gauntlet HAHAHA!

http://www.tfltruck.com/2017/08/odd-ford-f250-failure-way-ike-gauntlet/

Posted by: Sierra | Aug 7, 2017 11:51:58 AM

HAHAHA!

HAHAHA!
Posted by: GMS | Aug 7, 2017 12:15:49 PM

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

shaky shaky Fords are cracking radiator fans they shake so bad now HAHAHAHAHA! Just one more of many Trash Motor Company problems. JUNK!

"Pickups take longer to stop and won't carve corners like a sports sedan..." So true. I cringe when I see people driving their trucks tailing cars at 70mph and swerving in and out of traffic lanes like they're in a miata. It's obvious they've got little experience in a 1/2 ton. Every time I see that guy with a missing front end or dented in rear, that's usually why.

If you have to buy a GM truck, for safety purpose, make sure you get a Ford electric steering box installed. LOL

If you have to buy a GM truck, for safety purpose, make sure you get a Ford electric steering box installed. LOL


Posted by: Blueman | Aug 7, 2017 1:08:38 PM

PUTC alert: don't pay attention to anything Blueman posts.

http://www.fordproblems.com/trends/electronic-power-steering/

Point #3 is dead wrong.

>>"Most people overbuy'" said Ram spokesman and truck enthusiast Nick Cappa, who pointed out that even a base six-cylinder full-size Ram half ton puts out more than 300 horsepower and can tow in the neighborhood of 7,000 pounds.<<

Only on paper. A 7000 pound trailer behind a V6-powered Ram 1500 is at its theoretical limit... that puts maximum stress on every component of the truck. And that 300 horsepower? That is achieved at a ridiculous 6400 rpm - no one in their right mind drives a gasoline engine at its redline all day.

The old saying still holds true. Calculate the truck that meets your needs, then go one level up. You always want sufficient margin for error. You want brakes that can stop more than your max load. You want springs that won't sag from the cargo you will regularly carry. That's not saying buy a crew-cab dually 4x4 instead of a half-ton extended cab 4x2. But a 3/4-ton extended-cab 4x2 may be safer.

If you want a nice truck Buy FORD but if you want GARBAGE BUY GOVERNMENT TRUCKS. HAHA

I'm tending to agree with RoadTrip on this one. I was a first time buyer six years ago when I bought a ten year old half-ton. Since then, I've realized there are many things I would like to do with a pickup that you can't do with a half ton:
* carry a full load of green firewood
* carry a full bed of manure, black dirt, or gravel
* carry a pallet of landscape blocks or pavers
* pull a Bobcat 4 miles from the rental site (they laughed at me and said no way)
* pull a gooseneck horse trailer (Ironically, even though a half-ton would benefit from the better weight distribution, the 20-25% tongue weight that a gooseneck places over the axle exceeds the capacity of most half-tons.

I'm well within limits to haul two horses or a couple of cows, but even for that a 3/4 ton would probably be more stable on a a windy freeway.

A half-ton is fine for hauling hay -- it's very difficult to stack square bales high enough to become a weight problem and only one round bale fits in the bed

I'm glad I got an extended cab so there's some place for the dog and all my crap besides the front buckets, and I'm very very glad I got 4wd. This truck in 2wd is really helpless in snow. I would be stuck every time I used it over the winter.

My advice would be, don't just think about what you want to do with your truck, research actual weights and capacities rather than listening to advice from questionable sources.

PUTC alert: don't pay attention to anything Blueman posts.

http://www.fordproblems.com/trends/electronic-power-steering/
Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Aug 7, 2017 1:20:59 PM

HAHAHA!

Ima bye the number 1 truck sales and number 5 star all around testing f150 more towing payload and power can beat that

Buy what you like & don't listen to anyone especially when they call names are GMSUCKS, johnny dum dum, aka Sierra & GMS

PUTC alert: don't pay attention to anything Nitro or Lionel posts.

http://www.tfltruck.com/2017/08/odd-ford-f250-failure-way-ike-gauntlet/

**************************WARNING, WARNING*****************************

BUY FORD DO NOT BUY FROM GOVERNMENT MOTORS I REPEAT DO NOT BUY FROM GARBAGE MOTORS (AKA) GM THEY ARE PURE JUNK I SEE LOTS OF THEM AT THE JUNK YARDS. AND THAT'S WHY THEY PROOF ME THEY ARE JUNK.

If you buy GM just remember they go bankrupt all the time, they didn't fix their ignition problems until they killed several people,
Posted by: Robert | Aug 7, 2017 8:16:41 AM

http://www.autosafety.org/ford-ignition-switch-fires/

"On April 25, 1996, Ford Motor Company announced it would conduct one of the largest recalls for a safety-related defect in the history of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The recall covered approximately 7,900,000 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles in the U.S. from model year 1988 through 1993 for a defect in the ignition switch causing the cars to catch ablaze spontaneously (NHTSA recall number 96V-071). The recall occurred after years of concealment by Ford that saw parked Fords go up in flames across the country when the ignition switch developed an internal short circuit, overheated and caused the surrounding material to catch on fire. Some of the vehicles were parked in garages and burned houses when they ignited."

"On at least three separate occasions, the government opened investigations in response to frequent reports of interior electrical fires in various models and years of Ford vehicles."

>>>>"The two times, Ford misled the government and got off without a recall.">>>"The result is that roughly 15 million vehicles prone to ignition switch fires remain on the road without any hint as to the latent defect.">>>>"Even as federal investigators opened and closed five investigations based on Ford's assurances that it knew of no particular defect, the company never provided regulators with more than a dozen documents that would have shed light on the problem.">>>>"Ford continued to deny there were problems for the next nine years, in spite of repeated internal company studies, consumer complaints, numerous reports of deadly and other serious accidents, wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits and warranty claims that topped 40 percent in some years."<<<<<

I'd love to find a truck page that didn't allow comments. This page has the worst comments section of any forum or anything I've ever been too. Pathetic.

My 8 year old Silvy has been perfectly reliable all this time,,
no way in h3ll
Would I even consider looking at any other brand,,well maybe Tesla or
Workhorse hybrid..

Are you sure that truck you saw swerving in and out of traffic was not papa jim? Old age tends to make you do those things.

don't over buy??? 80 percent of americans down this....

True about overbuying but it is hard for many to resist when for just a little more monthly you can add these extra options. Most people don't look at the total cost but at how much monthly payment they can afford.

This Ram guy is an idiot. Don't overbuy so buy a base 3.6 L NA V6. Well the 2 Ram dealers closest to me don't even have one with this engine for sale. Typical marketing idiot that blames the buyer and not the seller.



Post a Comment

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
  • Your email will not be shown.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Home | Buy or Sell a Truck | News | Special Reports

Powered by Cars.com. By using this site, you agree to our terms of service | © 2017 Cars.com | Privacy Statement | Contact Us