The Ultimate Used Truck Buying Guide
There are many factors and options when buying your next vehicle. Many shoppers become overwhelmed by the sheer number of possibilities for buying used trucks. While you might know that you want to buy a used vehicle, you must understand the different types of trucks, conditions, and features you want from your next ride. We’ve got your back if you want to buy a quality used truck with this used truck buying guide.
This article will walk you through finding the perfect used car to ensure you can walk away with your perfect vehicle.
Types of Used Trucks
The first step in choosing a used truck is to decide which truck you’re looking for. You might consider numerous options for pickups and SUVs when shopping for a used truck, and below are some examples of vehicles you might consider.
Full-Size Used Trucks
Full-size used trucks are the most popular and versatile option for used trucks. They typically offer powerful engine options, larger cabins, and plenty of storage capacity. These trucks are built for hauling heavy loads, towing large trailers, and off-roading.
Midsize Used Trucks
Midsize used trucks are smaller and lighter than full-size trucks but still offer plenty of power and features. They are great for everyday use and are usually easier to maneuver than their full-size counterparts.
Compact Used Trucks
Compact trucks are smaller than midsize trucks but offer plenty of power. These trucks are great for those who need a vehicle around town but don’t necessarily need the extra capacity of a full-size or midsize truck.
Diesel Used Trucks
Diesel used trucks are great for those who need extra power and torque for towing and hauling heavy loads. These trucks have a reputation for being more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterparts, and they also have a longer lifespan.
4×4 Used Trucks
4×4 used trucks are great for those who need a truck that can handle some off-road activities. They typically offer more ground clearance and better traction than their two-wheel drive counterparts.
Crew Cab Used Trucks
Crew cab used trucks are an excellent option for those who need extra space for passengers and cargo. These trucks typically have four full doors and offer space for up to six passengers.
Pickup Used Trucks
A used pickup truck is great for those who need a truck to handle regular jobs, such as hauling, towing, and carrying heavy loads. These trucks typically have a bed in the back, offering plenty of interior space for passengers.
Extended Cab Used Trucks
Extended cab used trucks are an excellent option for those who need extra cargo capacity and seating for up to six passengers. These trucks have an extended cab, which gives them more space for passengers and cargo.
Super-Duty Used Trucks
Super-duty used trucks are great for those who need extra power and capability. These trucks typically have powerful diesel engines and can handle the most demanding jobs.
Specialty-used trucks have been modified for a specific purpose. These trucks are typically built for hauling, towing, off-roading, or other specific purposes.
Features to Consider
When shopping for a used truck, there are several features to remember. Here are some essential features to consider before buying your next ride.
A used truck should be reliable. When buying a used truck, you want to look for one that is well-maintained and of good quality. Check the vehicle history report to ensure the truck has not been in any significant accidents or had any major work done. Also, ask the seller if they have any maintenance records that you can look at.
Modern trucks have come a long way in recent years regarding fuel economy, and there are a few features to look for when shopping for a used truck that can help maximize your fuel economy and MPG. An automatic transmission is one of the best features to look for and will offer a smoother and more predictable shift pattern, which can help reduce fuel consumption. Looking for a used truck with an efficient engine is also crucial.
Look for a model with the most modern technology, such as direct injection or turbocharging. These can help increase power while reducing fuel consumption. Heavier trucks tend to consume more fuel, so look for a model that is lighter in weight. Finally, look for a vehicle with active aerodynamics, such as shutters or a tailgate that can be opened or closed depending on the speed and conditions. This can help reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency.
If you plan to use your used truck for towing, ensure it has an excellent towing capacity. This information can often be found in the truck’s manual or online. Bear in mind that the towing capacity of a used truck might not be as high as a new truck due to wear and tear on the vehicle and any modifications that may have been made to it. Inspect the truck thoroughly before making a purchase.
When towing a used truck, you must understand its risks. This includes ensuring the brakes and suspension are in good working order and the truck is not overloaded past its towing capacity. In addition, it is crucial to consider the size of the trailer you plan to tow. It is also essential to check that the truck has the necessary towing equipment, such as a hitch, trailer brakes, and electrical connections.
One safety feature you should look for in used trucks is a rearview camera. This camera is mounted on the back of the truck and allows you to see what’s behind you when backing up. This can help you avoid any potential hazards while you’re reversing. Another essential safety feature in a used truck is an electronic stability control system, which keeps you in control of your vehicle during a skid. It can help you stay on the road and avoid a potential accident.
Additionally, it would be best to look for a truck with anti-lock brakes. This system will help you stop quickly and safely in an emergency and maintain control of your vehicle while braking. Finally, you should ensure the used truck you’re considering has airbags. Airbags can help protect you and your passengers in a collision. Most trucks will have front and side airbags, but you should also look for one with side curtain airbags.
A crucial interior space feature to consider when buying a used truck is the amount of cargo space. Depending on the model, some trucks come with more cargo space than others. Consider the specific needs you have for cargo space when selecting the right used truck for you.
Another vital interior space feature to consider is the seating capacity. Many used trucks can seat up to five people, though this varies from model to model. If you need to transport more people than that, look for a larger model.
The interior design of the used truck is also essential to consider. Some models will have more modern interiors than others, while others may be more dated. Always consider your preferences and needs when choosing a used truck. Additionally, you should consider the technology features inside the used truck. Many used trucks come with audio and navigation systems, which can make for a more enjoyable ride.
One of the most critical comfort features to look for in a used truck is the seating. Many used trucks come with cloth seats, but leather seats may be a better option if you’re looking for a more comfortable ride. Leather seats are often much more durable and provide a softer ride, making them perfect for long drives.
Also, look for adjustable seats, which make finding a comfortable driving position more accessible. Look for a used truck with a functional air conditioning system, as a good air conditioner can make a difference in how comfortable your ride is. If you plan on using your truck for long trips, look for a model with a sunroof or a moonroof to help keep the cabin cool during hot summer days and make your trips more enjoyable.
When it comes to used trucks, the maintenance cost features vary depending on the truck’s make, model, and age. In general, newer trucks tend to have more expensive maintenance costs because of their advanced technology and extra features. Older trucks may require more frequent maintenance, but the cost of parts and labor tends to be lower.
Consider the cost of oil changes, brake repair, tire rotation, and other regular maintenance. Ask the seller for the truck’s maintenance records and any warranty information they may have. This can help you understand what parts need to be replaced or repaired soon. Lastly, look for a used truck serviced by a certified technician. This will help ensure that the truck has been adequately maintained and can help reduce the cost of future repairs.
Before you search for a used truck, determine the amount you can realistically afford to spend. This will help you narrow your choices and ensure you don’t overspend. Consider the total cost of the used truck beyond the initial purchasing price. You must also factor in taxes, registration fees, and necessary repairs or maintenance.
Always research your options before purchasing a used truck. Compare features, prices, and reviews to find the best option for your budget. Don’t just settle for the first truck you find; shop around to compare prices and find the best trucks.
When buying a used truck, it is crucial to be aware of the warranty that may come with the vehicle. Many used truck dealerships will offer a variety of warranties that can help protect your purchase in the event of a mechanical or electrical failure. The most common warranty for a used truck is a powertrain warranty, which covers the main components of the truck, such as the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. A powertrain warranty usually lasts 3 to 5 years and can be transferable to the new owner if the vehicle is sold during the warranty period.
Another type of warranty for a used truck is a limited warranty. The dealership typically offers this type of warranty and covers any repairs necessary due to a manufacturer’s defect. It is important to note that limited warranties are usually only valid for a specific time and may not be transferable to a new owner.
Some used truck dealerships may offer a bumper-to-bumper warranty. This warranty covers almost all the truck’s components, including the interior, exterior, and electrical system. A bumper-to-bumper warranty is usually the most expensive option, but it can be a great way to protect your investment in a used truck.
Learn more: Extended Warranty on Used Cars
A truck’s payload capacity is the maximum weight the truck can handle, including the weight of the cargo, passengers, and any accessories. It’s essential to know the rating of the truck you’re looking at because it can vary significantly from model to model; as a rule of thumb, the more expensive the truck, the higher the payload capacity.
For example, a midsize pickup truck may have a payload capacity of 1,500 pounds, while a full-size pickup truck may handle up to 3,000 pounds. Regarding used trucks, remember that the payload capacity may have been reduced over time because of wear and tear on the truck and any modifications or additions that may have been made. For this reason, it’s crucial to have the truck inspected before you make a purchase. This way, you’ll know the exact payload capacity of the truck.
Additionally, when shopping for a used truck, remember that the payload capacity may be different than what’s listed on the manufacturer’s website. This is because the manufacturer’s rating is based on a brand-new truck, while the used truck may have been modified or added additional weight over time.
Powertrains refer to the components that generate power and deliver it to the wheels, including the engine, transmission, differential, and drivetrain. A vehicle’s powertrain is a significant performance, fuel efficiency, and cost factor.
The engine is an essential powertrain component when shopping for a used truck. Look for an engine with a good service record, which will help ensure reliability. You should also be aware of the engine’s fuel economy. The engine type (gasoline or diesel) will also affect your purchase decision.
The transmission is another crucial component of the powertrain. Automatic transmissions are the most popular choice, but the manual can also be found in used trucks. Check that the transmission is in good working order and without any significant issues before purchasing.
The differential is the third major component of the powertrain and is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels. Differentials come in either limited slip or open designs, and the type you choose will depend on your driving style and budget.
Finally, the drivetrain is the system that connects the engine to the wheels. It is essential to check that the drivetrain is in good condition and that all the components are in good working order.
Accessibility features in your used truck will depend on your personal needs and abilities. For instance, features like steps allow you to enter the truck bed quickly. Many trucks have factory-installed steps, but you can purchase them as an aftermarket accessory.
Also, bed covers are great for those needing extra protection from the elements. A bed cover will keep your cargo safe from rain and sun damage. Many different types of bed covers are available, depending on your needs. Soft bed covers are the most common type, as they’re easy to install and remove. Hard bed covers are more secure and better for keeping out dirt and dust.
Bed slides make it easier to reach items in the truck bed. You can purchase sliding trays that you can roll out or add a few rails to the bed. Bed slides make reaching items in the back more accessible, especially if carrying a lot of cargo.
Tailgate assist is excellent if you frequently need to open and close your tailgate. This feature utilizes a gas-powered spring and helps to open and close the tailgate with less effort. This is especially helpful if you often carry heavy cargo in the truck bed.
Finally, towing mirrors are a must-have if you plan on towing anything with your truck. These mirrors help you see what’s behind you to ensure you’re not in danger of hitting something or someone.
If you use your used truck to haul large items, you should look for a vehicle with a larger bed size. For example, a full-size truck such as a Ford F-150 or a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 typically comes with a 5-foot, 6-inch bed, which is suitable for carrying large items like furniture, tools, and equipment. However, if you plan to use your truck for lighter-duty tasks such as running errands or transporting small items, then you may be better served by a smaller bed size, such as a 4-foot, 6-inch bed.
Another important factor to consider when looking at bed sizes is the weight capacity of the truck. Larger beds have higher weight capacities, so they’re better suited for carrying heavy items.
Diesel engines are typically more potent than gasoline engines, offering greater torque and improved fuel efficiency. Because diesel engines don’t require spark plugs, they don’t need regular tune-ups as gasoline engines do. This makes them an excellent choice for those looking for a truck that won’t require much maintenance.
Diesel engines are also known for their longevity. They are built to last and can often last twice as long as gasoline engines. When looking for a used truck with a diesel engine, it’s crucial to get a vehicle that’s been adequately maintained. Look for a truck that’s been serviced regularly and has a clean record, and check the engine oil and filter to make sure they have been changed recently. Additionally, check for any signs of rust or corrosion.
Finally, it’s essential to look for any upgrades made to the truck. If the truck has been modified or upgraded, it can make a big difference in performance and safety. For instance, a truck upgraded with a new exhaust system or improved suspension will likely perform better than a stock model.
New Vs. Used Trucks: Which is Better?
When choosing a truck, there are two main options: used or new. While both options have pros and cons, buying a used truck is often the better option for truck buyers. Used trucks have many compelling benefits that make them the preferred choice for many truck buyers.
One of the most apparent advantages of used trucks is the cost. Used vehicles are almost always cheaper than new ones, which is true with trucks. By purchasing a pre-owned truck, you can often save thousands of dollars, which can go towards other investments or simply into your pocket. On the other hand, new trucks come with the latest technology, features, and style. A new truck might be the way to go if you’re looking for a vehicle with the latest bells and whistles.
So what types of used trucks are available? The truck market is full of popular models from domestic and international automakers. Popular models include the following:
- Toyota Tundra
- Nissan Titan
- Ram 1500
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- Ford F-150
- GMC Sierra
You can also find used heavy-duty trucks, sedans, and pickups from brands like Hyundai, Jeep Gladiator, Honda Ridgeline, and Ford Ranger. Electric trucks are also becoming increasingly popular, with brands like Tesla, Rivian, and Workhorse leading the way.
What to Look for in a Used Truck
When shopping for used trucks, it’s essential to research and take the vehicle for a test drive. Look for signs of wear and tear, and ask questions about the vehicle’s history. It’s also important to consider the truck’s engine, transmission, and other features. If you’re looking for a powerful truck, you may want to consider a diesel engine. If you’re looking for a more fuel-efficient truck option, then a regular cab or extended cab might be more suitable.
Regarding features, used trucks are often equipped with the same features as their new counterparts. However, many used trucks have more features than their new counterparts, such as a higher horsepower engine or an upgraded trim level. Popular trim levels include the Chevy Denali, Ford F-150 Lightning, and GMC Canyon.
Another significant benefit of buying used trucks is the potential to save on depreciation. New vehicles tend to depreciate quickly, while used vehicles don’t lose value quickly. This can be a significant advantage for truck buyers who want to save money in the long run.
Regardless of your choice, it’s essential to consider your needs, budget, and preferences. Research, compare models, and take a test drive before making your final decision. Schumacher Used has the perfect truck if you’re looking for a used Toyota Tacoma, a Nissan Titan, or a Chevy Silverado 1500. Schumacher Used is the best choice for truck buyers, with a wide selection of used trucks and competitive prices.
Buying a used truck is a great way to save extra money and get a reliable truck. You can find the perfect used truck with proper research and planning. Make sure to consider the type of truck and the critical features, compare new and used trucks, and take the time to test drive the truck before you buy it.
Schumacher Used has an expansive selection of used trucks from all the major automakers. From a classic Chevrolet Colorado to essential, heavy-load work trucks, Schumacher Used can give you everything you’re looking for in a used truck. We also offer a variety of warranties, so you can rest assured that your truck is covered. Contact us today to find your perfect used truck!