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To Trade Or Not To Trade

I currently have an 05 Ford Explorer Sport Trac with 41,750 miles on it. Quite a while ago I came to the realization that I really should have purchased a larger truck. The Trac’s bed is just too tiny & light resulting in less than stellar performance in wet weather & with a small child in the back often I want a safe truck.

I have my eye on an 06 F-150 SuperCrew with 53,000 miles on it & some nice options. I have always loved the 150’s & should have done that to begin with. I have seen the CarFax on the truck & it is fine.

My question is; should I go ahead & trade in the Sport Trac, which still has the remainder of a 7/75,000 warranty & get the F-150, or stick with what I have? The F-150 has the 4.6L engine so the spark plug thing is not really an issue.

Thanks for any input.


Sacramento, CA

It’s a question of time vs. money. You will get more selling it outright, but is it worth your time? Do you owe money on it? If you trade it, you will pay sales tax on the difference and save a bit. If it’s an “in demand” vehicle, I say try to sell it yourself (craigslist, autotrader,, etc.). If there is little or no demand in your market, trade it and move on.

Your choice.


Do not make any decisions base don the CarFax. Contrary to the image they’ve created, they only have data that was voluntarily reported to them, and they have no insight into the maintenance and/or condition of the vehicle.

Have the vehicle gone over by a competant shop. If it passes muster, and it test drives well, then you can consider it. If, that is, you can afford to support that monster.

If you think that the F-150 Super Crew will have much better wet weather traction, you are likely to be disappointed again. Pickup trucks of all types have really poor traction in wet/snowy weather unless the bed is weighted down with several hundred lbs of ballast.

I couldn’t agree more.
A longer wheel base will help the “twitcheness”, but as VDC says, adding weight helps tremendously as that’s the way PUs are meant to ride. Add weight and they handle very well. Make sure it’s tube sand that will break and disperse in an accident and NOT a solid projectile that can injure people in the cab and bystanders.
An option that helps, is to find one with stability control. Newer models, higher prices.
A Honda Ridgeline is popular with awd and a front drive bias w/o a load and rear with on demand which helps a lot.

I’d search for one with a 5.4L v8 instead of the 4.6L if you can. 300/365 versus 231/293 hp/tq. With that large a vehicle, you should notice the difference. Though I do have to ask, what do you haul that you need a larger bed?

Another reason to like the 5.4L is that it gets better gas mileage than the 4.6L. It’s not much better, but considering the extra power, the 5.4L seems like a good deal. Unless that’s the engine with the spark plug problems.

BTW, where’s FoDaddy when you need him?

The 5.4 IS the engine with the plug issues. And I need a larger bed for just about anything. The Sport Trac’s bed is only 4ft long, and is not metal, but a composite material that is so light that even moderate acceleration will spin the tires in the wet & will fishtail easily.

Carfax has voluntary data AND registration data. It shouldn’t be the only thing you look at, but it is a good tool for detecting odometer rollbacks (they do still happen), most but not all major accidents, particularly on cars over 5 years old, and the history of where they’ve been registered can also tell you what to look out for (rust in the salt states, leaks from the northern plains and Alaska, sun damage from Arizona).

The car doesn’t meet your needs, and you can afford it…trade it.

That said, trucks are not the safest vehicles. They are designed for carrying things, not people. They handle like crap, their weight distribution is the worst of any category of vehicles, their body-on-frame structure is not optimal for crashes, and some of them aren’t well designed for impacts regardless. Trucks that do well in crash tests do well IN SPITE OF being trucks, not because of it.

The safest category of vehicle is large cars. If you’re doing this because of your kid and your paranoia, remember that. (And hey, you can carry a lot in a wagon with a roof rack.)