Our Top 7 Tips to Consider When Buying a Truck
Trucks are some of the top-selling vehicles in the United States. The Ford F-150 has been the number one selling truck for 46 years, and in 2020, Car and Driver said that more people bought pickup trucks in April than passenger cars. So what's with the truck mania that dominated the roadways? There is no straight answer to this, so here are some thoughts on why everyone loves a truck.
When it comes to versatility, there is no other vehicle on the road that can perform like a truck. While some SUVs are built to tow, the load weights can be less than you'll find with a full-sized pickup truck. In addition to taking your boat to the lake and your side-by-side to the woods, you can put things in the back of a truck that you can't in an SUV. You can't put your motorcycle in the back of your SUV, but you can in the bed of a truck. These are just a few of the benefits of owning a truck.
Maybe the biggest reason so many trucks are sold is that many people use trucks in their daily jobs or have a fleet of trucks for their company. It's not practical to carry your toolbox around in the trunk of your car when you can bolt a toolbox to the bed of your truck. Likewise, many trucks have so many comforts and high-tech accessories that they make good offices on wheels for ranchers, tradespeople, and municipalities.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Truck
If you're on the fence about buying a truck, here are some pros and cons that will help you decide why trucks are better than cars:
Pros of owning a truck:
- Versatility: Capable of handling both everyday commuting and heavy-duty tasks.
- Cargo Space: Provides ample room for transporting goods or equipment.
- Towing Capacity: Ideal for pulling trailers, boats, or campers.
- Off-Road Capabilities: Perfect for adventures away from standard roads.
Cons of owning a truck:
- Fuel Consumption: Generally, trucks consume more fuel than smaller vehicles.
- Size: Their larger size can challenge parking and maneuvering in tight spaces.
- Initial Cost: Trucks can be more expensive upfront than other vehicle types.
- Maintenance: Larger parts can sometimes mean pricier repairs.
There can be pros and cons to being a truck driver.
- Always have a way to haul your toys
- Always have a place to put cargo
- Always have a vehicle that you can get dirty
- People ask you to help them move
- People ask you to tow their cars
- People want to borrow your truck
Our Top 7 Tips to Consider When Buying a Truck
As you can see from the cons, there are some significant disadvantages of buying a truck, including the price. This is why we put together this list of tips to help you save money on your purchase. So, if you're asking yourself, "Should I buy a truck?" we can help you answer that question.
Tip 1: Understand Your Needs
Before jumping in and buying a truck, you might ask yourself why a truck is a better purchase than a passenger car. If you know that you would use a truck to haul things or want it for recreation purposes, you know what truck will work for you.
Since there are many styles and models on the market, it helps to know if you need a 4x4, an extended cab, or an 8-foot bed. The price can increase tremendously with each upgrade and model trim level, so knowing what you can live with will help you set your budget.
Tip 2: Set a Budget
Put together a realistic budget for your truck purchase. You will need to factor in more than the initial purchase. You will have ongoing expenses like insurance, fuel, and maintenance to calculate. Fuel price fluctuations can make it tough to pin down a price, but if you can find a truck with a high MPG, you may find a price that makes you comfortable.
Tip 3: Research all of the Options that Meet Your Needs
You can expand on those features by understanding your wishes and determining what trim package fits your budget and needs. There are usually a lot of high-tech packages on the higher-end models, so maybe you don't need all of the gadgets, which can bring your price down.
If you need more help on towing capacity or have unanswered questions, check out this video from Ford. Ford Truck Towing Capacities.
Tip 4: Learn About the Truck's History
Before buying any new or used truck, find out the truck's history. With the new trucks, you can research owner's groups and other online message boards where people talk about recalls, warranty issues, nagging problems, and other common issues with the truck you're considering.
With a used truck, pull a Carfax report on the VIN and find out if it's been in any accidents. If the truck's at a dealership, you may find the report online or ask a sales rep to see it. You should be able to find out the warranty history this way, too.
Tip 5: Test Drive Your Top Picks
You can have any truck you like, so test drive them all. You'll find many differences between a Ford F-150 and a RAM and a Tacoma. Whatever brand you choose, drive the truck and get a feel for it before buying it.
Tip 6: Pay Attention to the Features (i.e., Fuel Efficiency & Safety)
Like researching the options, you'll find differences in safety packages, too. Some high-end models have more safety features like lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and drowsiness detection than lower trim levels. While these options may be more expensive, even the base models have advanced safety features, including blind spot warnings, backup cameras, automatic braking, and other accident avoidance systems.
Fuel efficiency options will directly result from the truck's powertrain, so shop with that in mind. Even a truck with a smaller engine can still be capable of towing and hauling.
Tip 7: Negotiate the Price
There may not be one best way to buy a truck, but you do have options. With those options comes the ability to negotiate the price. It might be easier to do that with a dealership than an individual, but asking for a better price never hurts.
There might not be a best time to buy a truck, but if you're buying at a dealership, they like to make deals at the end of the month when they're trying to meet their quotas, so it might be the best time to make a deal.
If you're asking yourself, "Which truck should I buy?" before you shop, do your homework. Use Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds online to estimate what the truck is worth on the market. With that information, you can decide when to stop negotiating and walk away. There will always be another truck to buy.
Trucks are the backbone of the country, and many reasons to buy a truck. From hauling brush to taking tools to work, the truck is made to work and play hard. A truck is an investment that enriches your lifestyle, and when you follow our 7 tips, you can be sure that you'll make an informed purchase that meets your needs.