By: Gov Auctions | 8 September 2014

Used Pickup Truck Buyers Guide - Top Things to Know

If you are looking for used pickup truck then you may have noticed there is a little bit of everything available on the secondary truck market. This can make it extremely difficult for used pickup truck buyers to identify the best available truck at the best price. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips you can use to make sure you get a great deal on the perfect used pickup truck for your needs.

Take Time to Determine Exactly What You Need in a Used Pickup Truck

If there is one step in the used pickup truck buying process that most people ignore it is taking the time to determine exactly what they mean. The most common buying mistake is paying for features, power, and capabilities that you simply don’t need and will never use. While most trucks fall into either the compact or full-size category, there are a near limitless number of permutations to choose from. Some of them include a long bed or short bed, regular, extended, or crew cab, two door or four door, standard or automatic transmission, gas or diesel. Considering the vast sales volume of pickup trucks over the past decade, Ford and Chevrolet are usually the most widely available trucks on the secondary market.

Key Functions to Consider

Even with all of the permutations and configurations, there are a few key function to consider when determining exactly what you will need from your used pickup. While many of these factors are interlinked, they should all be considered separately in order to identify the perfect truck for your needs.

1. Towing Ability

One of the biggest mistakes people make is buying a truck with significantly more towing ability than they mean. Compact trucks typically can tell between 3000 and 7000 pounds while full-sized trucks average between 8000 and 12,000 pounds. When you jump up to the heavy-duty full-size trucks you can find towing capabilities of 3000 pounds or more. Keep in mind that the axle ratios will play a significant role in both the towing capacity and fuel economy. In order to determine how much towing ability or pickup truck really needs, make a list of all of the ways you will use it within a six-month period. By creating this arbitrary time limit you will prevent yourself from dreaming up all of the different ways you could use your pickup truck rather than focusing solely on what you actually will use it for.

2. Operating Cost

Another key consideration is the long-term operating cost of the pickup truck. For example, most compact trucks are fairly fuel-efficient and inexpensive to ensure because they boast a lower purchase price. The bigger the truck becomes and the more powerful the engine, the greater the increase in fuel costs and insurance costs. It can also increase the long-term maintenance costs as well. Late-model trucks have added a number of new features which has made the engine more complex. As a result, it is much more difficult for the home mechanic to do all of the necessary maintenance.

3. Interior Versatility/Cab Design

There are two different ways to consider the interior versatility or cab design of your perfect pickup truck. Most trucks can easily fit a three-person front bench or bucket seats. Extended and crew cabs will provide the additional capability of folding the entire rear seat up or at least half of it. Some late-model full-size trucks also give you the ability to fold the front passenger seat flat. Along with the folding capabilities, each cab design has specific functions as well. While there are a lot of different names for them there are only three basic cab styles for trucks – regular, extended, and crew cab. Regular tabs often only have two doors and comfortably seat only two or three people. Extended cabs can add up to three additional passengers, although in compact pickup trucks the extended cab only offers extra storage space.

4. Fuel Economy

Pickup trucks can have everything from a simple four-cylinder engine to powerful V8 and even V10 engines. There are also a variety of different diesel engines as well. In terms of fuel economy, the fewer cylinders there are, the better the fuel economy will be. At the same time this means you’ll be sacrificing towing and hauling power. If you need the additional power than a diesel engine will often offer better mileage than its turbocharged counterpart.

5. Price

Of course price should always be a consideration as well. In general, the older a truck is the less expensive it will be – excluding any built-in add-on features or aftermarket alterations. In most cases, compact trucks tend to depreciate faster than their full-sized counterparts. Pickup trucks with diesel engines depreciate slower than a majority of their gas powered counterparts. For most people, price will be the driving factor that will help them take a hard look at what they actually do and do not need from a used pickup truck. Pickup truck prices can vary greatly ranging from less than $20,000 to more than $50,000. With such a significant range it is easy to see why you need to consider so many different variables before deciding what type of used pickup truck to target.