CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Cheapest to Repair Used Pick Up Truck?

Just what the title says.
I tried to search using the tool on here, but they gave me Hyundai Accents and stuff.
Anyways, I’m looking for a top ten list of choices to search for in a car that have readibly available parts, are easy to maintain, and has capability of towing/hauling up to 1500 lbs or more.
I run a sound rental company, as well as garden in my backyard, and I’m sick of having to rent out 3rd party vehicles to transport things.
I’m not very handy in the mechanical department, but have helped change brakes and do my own tune ups on cars I’ve owned in the past.

When I searched the threads, I found a few people saying Ford Rangers and Ford F-150s are a good choice, would that be the majority?
Again, I’m looking for something that has mid size towing capacity (something I can tow a commonly available 5X8 trailer behind if needed), mid sized cargo capacity (i’m thinking maybe 12 cubic foot minimum?) and has parts that are easily found.

More points if the model is found everywhere.
(like F-150s)

Hope that’s not too much to ask.
Thanks
-KS

I believe the cheapest vehicle to repair is the one that needs no repair. I also believe that a vehicle with a history of lower than average repairs gives you the highest probability of not needing repairs even in a used vehicle.

i’d suggest simply getting a Consumer Reports at the local bookstore, and comparing what you find in your price range with the CR reliability data. Then whatever you chosse, check the rating online to be sure it’ll safely tow your load, and get it thoroughly checked out by a trusted shop.

Sincere best.

You might also look at a Toyota Tacoma, in the same class as the Ranger.

If size is not an issue, the Ford Ranger with manual shift and the fewest possible options will get you both good gas mileage and low repair costs.

From 68 to 2007 I have never had a problem finding parts. Perhaps you have never heard of NAPA, what parts are you looking for and cannot find?

You might look at a used Nissan pickup.

I have a 95 Nissan XE pickup with the 2.3 liter engine. Great fuel mileage without a load. But if you need to haul a load it’s capable. I hauled my mid-rise lift 20 miles from work to home in the bed of this pickup with no problem. And the lift weighed a 1,000 lb’s.

Tester

Any 1/2 ton full size 2 wheel dr V6 or small V8 will do. These trucks will get 18-24 mpg. The Chevy S-10 or Ford Ranger after 2000 get about the same mpg and wont have the room or haul weight like a full size will.
I like the both the F150 and 1500 Chevys/GMC. I would get the ex cab for the inside room.

Thanks for the responses!

I’ve heard good things about the reliability of Nissan trucks, and based on the first response, which was get a car you don’t have to fix, I’ll keep that in mind, Nissans are usually cheap on the resale side too, which is great for me, since I won’t ideally need to sell it for quite a long time.

Barkydog we have a NAPA here, I only asked because I’ve made poor choices in the past with cars, Dodge Intrepid, (where everything is really hard to get to) Saab (Swedish parts, and very few repair shops around here would work on them!), Camaro, <- (ever try a tuneup on that beast?) Volvo 240 DL (same as the Saab, only literally NO repair shops around here would touch it), Mazda 323 <- that was my first car, and it wasn’t bad to work on, honestly, just well, my first car as a teenager.

I’m leaning towards a full sized, they are always available for sale it seems, and reading other threads that seems to be what most recommend, I never considered gas mileage as an important thing in a hauling car, but if I can get both hauling and good gas mileage, why not? or maybe an F350 Cargo Van.<- I usually rent one of these from the rental place, and they are definitely roomy and seem to run forever per the rental mileage

I’ll keep watching this thread for responses, and when I figure it out, I’ll post back.
Keep them coming.

You don’t mention a budget number. In smaller trucks, the Ford Ranger and Chevy C10 are relatively reliable and cheap to maintain and fix. Some F150’s are better than other depending on the motor transmission installed. Any small Toyota PU should prove reliable if it is in decent shape to begin with. The older the vehicle the less you rely on brand and the more dependant you are on who owned it and how they maintained it before you become the owner.

I assume most used cars and trucks are sold because the owner no longer wants to spend money on them, meaning something is wrong. Perhaps they just don’t want to buy new brakes, or tires? Or, perhaps the check engine light comes on all the time? “Reliable” and “used” are not words that often describe the same vehicle.

If you want a full size pick-up, the most reliable ones since 2000 are the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra. Look at the reliability ratings on MSN Autos to see the Chevy, Dodge, and Ford ratings. The issues may not bother you and if you can get them for a lot less than a Titan or Tundra, it could be worth it. MSN Autos tells you the approximate cost to fix the common problems, and that makes price comparison easy.

consider the option of a medium sized car that can pull a trailer if your transport is less than specific number of lbs.