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Old F150 vs newer SUV?

I’m trying to determine how long I can safely drive my 1997 Ford F150, with 6 cylinder engine. The mileage is now 187K. It has been a good, reliable truck and I have done what it needed regularly, but during the past 6 mos, I have had to shell out $450 for new ball joints and $1600 for differential and new bearings.

I can’t afford a new car, but given that when I do drive distances, I often wind up on Forest Service roads in the back of beyond, I really don’t want to break down out there, either.

So my question is…how long do you think I can safely drive this truck?

Second question: if I have to replace it (I’m guessing in the next year at most?), what used vehicle do you recommend? I really no longer need a truck, but I do want something that will get me back on potholed Forest Service roads and do well in snow, as I live in Washington State and I like to get out to hike/XC ski.

So here’s what I’m looking for:

--decent gas mileage (my F150 gets 18 mpg on the road, at best)

--room for bike/skis and 2-4 passengers

--ability to take potholes and rough roads

--good handling in snow and ice

--good seat for a 5’8" driver with troublesome lower back (this rules out the Subaru Forester for me)

I’m a 50ish year old woman who, when not doing the aforementioned outdoor rec, just drives a couple miles around my small town, going to work and back (I’m a teacher).

The F150’s engine could easily last another 100K. The transmission is the weakest high dollar link. Has it been serviced regularly? If so, and heavy trailers have never been pulled it might last the life of the truck. It’s a tough and reliable truck, all things considered. As for SUVs, the 6 cylinder Cherokees are a great buy but they are fast fading into oblivion. The Isuzu Rodeos likewise. The smaller 4 door pickups look good, especially the Nissan but none have accumulated enough history for me to have an opinion yet. You sound like a very practical person taking a systematic approach to the situation and the F150 will likely hold together for quite some time as you search for a replacement. Or you might choose my method. I keep the good ones, use them as a spare and for hauling junk and fill dirt until they become yard art and then I get forced to haul them away. I just hate to let a good one go.