CHEAP truck shopping

I have $2000 to buy a my first truck. What make/model should I look at?

It doesn’t matter. Find the best truck you can for the money. At this price make/model is irrelevant.

Be prepared to spend that much again within a year for maintenance and repair.

The plainer the truck, the more truck for your buck.
If work style hauling, towing, etc are your priority then forego the fancy toy accessories ( atc, power seats, etc ) when buying for trucking purposes.
More for your money if you can buy from a private person rather than a dealer.

Can’t go wrong with a Ford Ranger, though you might be able to find a nice, older F-150 for that price.
In that price range though, condition and how the previous owner treated the vehicle is more important than make/model. $100 for a mechanic to look it over could save you from spending $5000 for a new engine/transmission a week from your purchase date.

What are you looking for? 4x4? Full-size? Towing? Daily Driver?

Compact, 4x4 best, but beggars can’t be choosers

Thanks. at what point should mileage turn me off a potential buy? (150K? 200K?)

Thank you.

Also, how much mileage is too much?

Assume 12~15k miles per year. However, the condition is more important than the mileage on ANY vehicle.

The above feedback is spot on. Before paying a mechanic, look over the truck as thoroughly as possible, check for smoke upon a cold start if possible, listen for funky noises. if you hear gurgling when you turn it off, or have any doubts of it’s quality, walk away and look ffor another.

Have the mechanic run a compression check, give it a thorough “pre-purchase” inspection - it is money well spent. In some larger cities, they have mobile car docs who only do that - so they have no incentive to be crooked and mention “repairs” that you “need” that they can conveniently do for you.

Stripped down, manual transmission, no bells and whistles models = less to break and often easier to maintain in addition to being cheaper to buy. If the truck has a 4cyl motor but has been built where a v6 was an option, the 4cyl will have lots of room under the hood, making doing your own repairs easier.

Anticipating spending the purchase price on repairs within the first year - wise advice in my experience. Please note, I have never bought a car or truck less than 6 years old, and paid $2000 or less for all 10 cars I have owned since I was 16. I have done some of my own work (water pumps, starters, alternators, oil changes, etc.), though prefer to pay someone else to deal with the barked knuckles and greasy fingernails - not to mention it cuts down on the amount of swearing that the neighbors hear from our garage…

That said, I would avoid chevy/gmc. My GM products (1975 Impala - Solid, 1982 Cavalier, 1986 Skyhawk - Junk, 1985 S-10 - Solid, 1992 Cavalier - Junk) were generally crap-tastic! My Fords (1976 Maverick - Solid, 1979 Fiesta - undecided, 1993 Escort - surprisingly solid and my current car) were generally good cars.

I briefly owned a junker 1984 Honda that was so beat it doesn’t reflect poorly on Honda - you can tell it was nice in its day. The 1992 Corolla I owned was awesome, and I seriously regret selling it to get a pickup (the 1992 S-10 - what a downgrade!).

I am considering a Ranger in a similar price range, but honestly want to do more homework first. Good luck in your purchase!