What kind of truck should I get?

Since my rear end went out, I’m looking for a new pickup truck. My first truck was a Ram 1500. I got it for $2300. It lasted for 4 years. So I am pretty okay with that. I’d be fine spending $3,000 on a truck and driving it into the ground again.

My wife wants to put about $7,000 into a new truck and get something a little bit newer that will last longer and have fewer problems. You’d think the newer trucks would have fewer miles, but that just doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ve been going through craigslist and it seems like the $7,000 trucks are newer, but they still have over 150k miles.

I dunno. It seems like if I put $7,000 into a truck, I’m really commited to it. It will become a money pit when I have to start replacing all those major power train components. With the cheap truck, I can basically scrap it at any time. Am I thinking about this the right way?

Personally, I wouldn’t be looking at trucks with 150K miles. Depending on usage, they may have their best years behind them

Either you need to set more money aside for the next truck, or you need to shop for a different kind of vehicle . . . SUV, car, wagon, smaller truck, etc.

Does it need to be a full size truck . . . I’m just asking, because you mentioned a Ram 1500

I think the sweet spot for used vehicles is about 3 or 4 years old, when the come off lease. If you are lucky you can find one with more than 12000 miles a year (which seems to be the standard), so if it’s 3 years old with 55,000 miles, it’s kind of high miles and might be a decent deal. It will be more than $7,000.

The other thing is a truck that’s pretty old but has fairly low miles, often owned by a middle aged (or older) driver who used it for dump runs, Saturday projects, etc., maybe towed a fishing boat, but not every day. So it might be 10 or 12 years old, need a few things like a timing belt or a clutch or something equally expensive, and the owner just would rather get a new truck or maybe just give up on the truck all together.

Happy hunting.

If you live somewhere that is rust-free, I’m all behind getting an old beater and driving it till the wheels fall off. If you live in the rust belt, however, a bit more money might be worth it for a newer, less-rusty specimen.

I’m cool with 150K, too. Vehicles these days almost never get scrapped due to the engine running out…and most of the “tired engine” complaints are aesthetic anyways: smoky, oil-burning, modest loss of power and MPG. It’ll still “go” when you need it to, if somewhat obnoxiously.

With a car, it’s not so cut-and-dried…but with a truck (especially a “work truck,”) buy the cheapest rust-free example with a straight frame. Know where the nearest junkyard is, and don’t be afraid to use it. Drive it until something you’d rather not bother replacing fails, and junk it. Rinse, lather, repeat.

From helping my dad search for a used truck a few years ago it somewhat depends on the condition of the individual truck. In our case it needed to be in good enough condition to get the approval of the Driveway appearance minister/Finance Chair (otherweise known as Mom)Any used truck can become a money pit if you buy the wrong one.If you can find a lower mileage truck for the $7,000 (Around here the Dodge’s seem to be available with as low as 100,000 miles on them) then have a mechanic you trust inspect the truck.Some buyers only look at the mileage on the dash and ignore some well maintained trucks.

I usually don’t care for leases, but unless the truck is going to be your daily driver and/or you plan on putting tons of miles on it, maybe a lease would be best for you.

Either way, trucks often have a hard life. If you get another used one, make sure it has never been used for plowing, heavy construction, etc.

For $7k you are still looking at “older” trucks. I’d look at $2k trucks first and you might end spending more in the end. I don’t feel old Chrysler products hold up as well as gm, ford, and Toyota. Maybe you can find a $3 -4k gm or ford truck that makes everyone happy.

I didn’t read anything about needing 4 wd which is working in your favor. Staying with 2wd gets you a better truck for the same money and fewer problems down the road. When you spend that little money, truck make is totally incidental to the conditon of the vehicle.

For that little money, look for rust free first, any make, then let a mechanic look at the mechanical conditon. Even mileage may run secondry to maintenance and how it was driven and used for. Lightly loaded for it’,s previously owned life means less strain on motor and drive train even if it has more miles then a “work” truck. Your intended use is a factor also.

A trash hauler needs less consideration then one you will use for towing. It’s about these factors IMho, and not the make. Generally though, I agree with some who say that olderDodges may need more maintenance. But, that’s as much personal opinion as anything.

+1 for dagosa since most people drive 4WD for the “image” not the actual need. I always buy 2WD trucks because of the fuel economy, cheaper repairs and they are less expensive to purchase.

instock Your logic verses vanity approach to purchasing a pickup truck impresses me! If for some reason I found myself needing a pickup what you are looking for would be just right for me. You have received the usual excellent advice from this forum. I hope you find exactly what you need.

I have a residential maintenance business, but it is still pretty dinky. I want to be profitable. I don’t want to be THAT GUY that blows all his earnings on new toys. That is why I’m being so cheap.

For the types of work I do, I need a truck, but mostly for hauling trash and landscaping stuff. I wish I could drive a little Ranger, but that could barely hold a lawnmower - let alone top soil and mulch.

I think I got my answer. Slit the difference. Spend a little more and get something prettier. Get something to satisfy my “Driveway Appearance Minister” and heck maybe it’ll be good for business if my truck doesn’t look like it has one wheel in the junkyard. Sounds kind of obvious now. :blush:

If you want to do the sensible thing, swap a used drum to drum rear end into your Dodge.

Trucks hold their value so used trucks are not always the lowest cost way to go. Craigslist isn’t always the best place to look either.

Consider a new truck for around $22k if you stay with a basic model.

The construction crews in my area seem to like those Silverados. At least that is mostly what is parked around the neighborhood constructions sites where homes are being built or remodeled.

Is it possible, as many small business local maintenance people do around here, to have a basic truck AND utility trailer. That seems to be the common transport vehicle of them all here. Some even use an old SUV and a trailer. TRucks will generally haul much more then they an carry with less strain on i’s components. They can pull 2 k lbs easily and most old trucks would be hard pressed to carry it. That could give you more options to include a dinky little Ranger for a real cheap price.

$5k in a truck, 2k in a trailer. I like spending your money. :wink: Perhaps, depending on what you own now, you could use it to haul the trailer to a job if the truck broke down. When any thing of mine needs service, from lawn mower to generator to snowblower to picking up mulch to wood etc, I use the utility trailer and never my truck or SUV. They just tow it.

Why as @oldtimer_11 suggests why not replace therear end and go on down the road!

Nah. It has too many other problems. Not even worth fixing.

A trailer is not a horrible idea, but I don’t know much about them. I think it kind of makes things unnecessarily complicated.

Landscapers around me have pickups with trailers, but they put their riding mowers on the trailer. If you don’t need the trailer for business yet, don’t get it. When business picks up and a trailer can help you make more money, reconsider it.

How much of a truck do you need? ford rangers are rather affordable, 2200 lbs towing capacity if I recall correctly. Towed my 18’ boat 5oo miles with manual trans, 2wd.

As you run your business from this truck I’d concern myself a bit with appearance. No bonds and primer specials. Keep a good coat of wax on the paint and keep it clean. I know I would be more inclined to hire the lawn guy with decent-looking equipment. It makes you look established and careful, good things to look. Good luck finding the truck of your dreams.