What to look for when buying a pickup truck includes budgeting well, understanding your needs and wants, picking a truck type, and checking reviews.
September 26, 2017 ·
by Nicholas Wilson
A new car purchase requires a lot of forethought and preparation, and this is no less true when it comes to buying a pickup truck. You might know that you want a pickup truck, however, but you could still be in the dark when it comes to knowing what to look for when buying a pickup truck. The good news is that, as with anything, by taking a step back and evaluating both your situation and your overall needs, you can fill in the gaps and get a truck that is right for you.
In this article, Part 1 addresses your budget and financial state, and Part 2 outlines what to look for in a pickup truck.
Step 1: Determine how much you can afford to pay on a monthly car payment. Check your budget and decide how much you can reasonably afford to spend each month.
If you’re coming up a little shorter than you had hoped, you can either wait until you have a little extra money saved up, or you can attempt to rein in your spending if you lack some financial discipline. You’d be surprised at how much you can save by changing your habits even a little.
Step 1: Figure out why you want the pickup truck. If you can step back and ask yourself why you want the pickup truck, then you’ll get a better sense for which one to buy.
Many people want pickup trucks because they offer a lot of towing power, which is necessary because they are routinely hauling a camper or a trailer or some other large accessory. Some people want a pickup truck because they do a lot of outside work, and the truck bed offers easy storage and carrying capacity. And some people just prefer the look and feel of a pickup truck.
Whatever the case may be, determine why you are on the hunt for a pickup truck.
Step 2: Choose a truck type. Now that you know the reasoning behind your desire for a truck, you can begin to settle on a specific type.
The main categories are: compact, full-size, and heavy-duty. Technically speaking, full size and heavy duty are similar in a lot of ways, but for the present purposes they will be treated somewhat differently.
Compact trucks are much smaller than full-size trucks, meaning that they do not have the power or, often, the interior room that full-size trucks have. This means that they may not be ideal for family transportation and they probably won’t do for larger towing tasks. Some common examples of compact trucks are the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and Chevy Colorado.
Full-size trucks tend to have a larger chassis and more power than compacts. This means that they can perform more difficult tasks and often have enough room for families. Common examples of these include the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado 1500.
Finally, heavy duty trucks go above and beyond even the full-size trucks, meaning they have tremendous power. Unless you are regularly dealing with supremely impressive tasks, you likely will not need all this power. The Ford F-350 is an common example of a heavy-duty truck.
Step 3: Check out reviews on various makes and models. Once you know the common truck types, you can begin to narrow your search into specifics.
The best approach here, armed with knowledge of your specific situation, is to seek out consumer data on specific vehicles. If a compact truck is the best fit for your situation, then you should take a look at online reviews for various trucks within that category.
Take a look at safety ratings, comfort levels, repair interval, MPG, and overall satisfaction with the truck to determine which pickup truck is best for you.
Knowing what to look for when buying a pickup truck is essential if you’re going to have any degree of happiness with the truck. There’s a lot to consider, and unless you can forge a trail through all the competing information, you’ll settle for less than you really need. Going through a rational process like this will make you much happier at the end of the day.
by Elan McAfee
by Amber Dowler
(M-F 8am-5pm PT)