Selling a pickup truck in today's market


I don’t drive it much and my 03 Tundra Limited [42000 miles] gets poor gas mileage. I owe $900 and would like to get a more fuel efficient vehicle.

Should I try to sell it myself or trade it in?


Get out the loufa and soap, because you’re going to take a bath either way.

You need to do the math carefully. The extra expense of the new vehicle vs the fuel savings. You will probably find that it will take 10s of thousands of miles to break even. Depending on the cost of the new car, you may NEVER break even.

Do what you can to maximize the fuel economy of your Tundra.


Sell it yourself. The dealer will nail you on the trade in value under the theory that high gas mileage has affected the truck market, but there may be a better market for that vehicle than the dealer will let on.

Hey, if you can’t get a reasonable offer you can always keep it.


You put so little miles on your truck you’ll be LOOSING money if you traded it in and bought the BEST gas mileage vehicle available…even if gas prices climb to $8/gal. Maybe if they climb to $15/gal.


Always much wiser to sell it yourself and reap the profits then get the small amount any dealer will offer, unless the car is a heap. I’d detail it, put an ad on Craigslist and see what you get. Take the money and buy an excellent and efficient nearly new small car. A 2004 Civic can manage 40 MPG and a Diesel Jetta as much as 50 MPG on the highway. They’re also more fun to drive by a long shot.


I’d keep the Tundra. Just be “religious” on keeping up the maintenance as per your Owner’s Manual. The quick math tells me that you put less than 9,000 miles/year on it. I’d do my regular maintenance by time instead of miles, such as oil/filter changes (engine), and keep a close eye on other filters, brakes, etc. Take it out for a 50 mile highway spin once a month to keep everything well lubed and seals from drying out. You have a “time” vehicle rather than a “miles” vehicle. As stated by others, you’ll lose a lot by getting rid of it now. Depreciation, etc., but you’ll gain in lower insurance costs, NO MONTHLY PAYMENTS, etc. Plus that Tundra is bigger than those little, more (allegedly) fuel-efficient vehicles. Just keep up with the spark plug changes and spark plug wires, etc. Also keep up with the body maintenance such as washing mud off and other rust-prone areas should be kept clean. This truck will last you a long time. If you do eventually sell it, do it via private sale. Dealers always give you “blue book” value only and they tend to pick the vehicle apart with every little nit-picking thing they can find. Besides, anything that they take in over 4 to 5 years old usually goes off to either a used car wholesaler or to the used vehicle auctions.


If you only drive 9000 miles per year, it will take a long time to make up the extra cash outlay (you will save about $800-$900/year at most). If you could sell the truck to someone who actually NEEDS a truck such as a rancher or small business owner, and then bought a 2004 econmy car, as mentioned, you might not be out too far.

The Tundra is a very good truck with a long life expectancy; there will be someone who appreciated and needs it.


which body style?

2 or 4 wheel?


I dunno about that, FWD cars looks silly doing burnouts, and the Tundra, which is probably a V8 since it’s in Limited trim, would sound much more impressive with straight pipes, and the Civic or Jettea :slight_smile: Fun means different things to different people.


If I were you, I’d want to dump this guzzler, take a financial beating and a good lesson in strategic planning and move on. It would pain me every time to start this gas hog up unless, of course, I frequently had something to haul that couldn’t be carried in a lightweight trailer.

Try to sell it yourself for the best value received.

The economics might be there now to keep the Tundra but it will be an albatross around your neck for the next ten years so dump it ASAP. Gas prices could easily go up more as the Chinese and Indians are adding cars daily. That’s my strategic planning advice. I see $5.00 per gallon gasoline and likely higher without even doing any research.

If you want to go rather than stay home, get a compact car with a manual transmission. I get 35 mpg highway with my daily driver.


Actually, you shouldn’t have too much trouble selling the Tundra because, as far as full-size pickups go, it gets okay gas mileage and there’s always a market for used full-size trucks amongst people who need them. If you have the time and energy, definitely sell it yourself-- you will get a much better deal that way.


With only 42k miles you would be far better off to sell the truck yourself. Someone who is looking for a Tundra should jump all over this if the price is right and considering it has what I consider to be very low mileage.

If you put comparatively few miles on the truck (bought new or used?) then I would be inclined to keep the vehicle if it were mine. You know exactly what you own now and buying something else could be a pig in a poke along with more payments; as in “interest”, and that will eat up any fuel savings you may gain.


Just to note the 40MPG is not around town but running pure highway at speed limit for hours on end with little stop/go. The real world mileage if city gets mixed in with the Civic is in the low 30’s.


My suggestion is look at the #'s. At the very best you are only going to double fuel mileage of your Tundra.

With your driving your talking spending $200/month vs $100/month roughly in fuel costs assuming $4/gallon and your mileage. Not sure what you plan on acquiring but if new it means payments so your overall cost of payment +fuel is still higher with a more fuel efficient vehicle.


Selling yourself is worthwhile. I don’t think you’d take a huge bite on a Toyota unless your trying to make a killing. Consider aas I did an aluminum (less daed weight) utility trailor (rated for 2K lbs) that can be pulled by most family cars and you’ve got your “weekend” truck needs partially addressed.


Seems as though history repeats itself. Back in the supposed gasoline shortage in the 1970’s, I had a colleague who had a really nice 1972 Oldsmobile 98. He was so worried about the gasoline situation that he took a real hosing on this car and bought a Honda Accord. Now this was back in the days when the Honda Accord was a small car and had severe rusting problems. I think this colleague had to pay above sticker price to get the Accord. At any rate, I figured that he could have bought a lot of gasoline for the difference he had to pay, and we did not have a gasoline shortage. If you are driving less than 10,000 miles a year, I don’t think you will save money by replacing the Tundra. If you really like the truck, I’d stick with it. You may want to take test drives in the economy cars you are considering. You may find the truck seating position fits you better.


The economics might be there now to keep the Tundra but it will be an albatross around your neck for the next ten years so dump it ASAP.

I suggest you get a calculator out…better yet find someone who can do the calculations for you because there is NO WAY you’ll be able to recover the cost of buying a new car in 10 years.

Buying a new car…even a cheap good USED car is going to cost the OP at least $15k…probably close to $20k. If this car gets DOUBLE the gas mileage as the Tundra and gas prices are $5/gal the savings will be LESS then $2k/yr. That’s IF he buys it cash…Add in a loan and the savings is even less. Now if gas goes up to $10/gal the savings will be greater and it then looks better.


Do you owe $900 or $9000? I ask because $900 is such a small amount that you will easily recover it in any sale. If it’s $9000, you will probably get away even or make a couple thousand, depending on the model and options. As for gas mileage, you will save about $1000 per year at your current rate (miles per year) with $4/gallon gas. Consider the cost including the old and new loans and whether you will go upside down to determine whether it makes sense. Hey, and extra $50 per tankful is a lot of money, but it isn’t that simple.


If you don’t drive it much, high fuel prices affect you less. So why get rid of it at all?

You will be hard pressed to get a decent trade-in deal and with this recession, good luck finding a private buyer. Put a “for sale” sign in the window and see if you get any decent offers in the next six months. It won’t hurt to try.


Um, my post says highway MPG…