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A silver 2002 Chevy Silverado is parked in front of a construction site.

A Guide to Used Trucks: Good and the Bad

Buying a new-to-you used truck can be really exciting. But there are so many makes, models, and years to wade through that it can become a stressful process. A good starting point, though, is deciding what the purpose of the truck is. Are you planning to use it primarily for work or for towing? Do you need a second row of seats for children, or will one be enough? No matter what you need and the budget you have, you will be able to find a used truck that is suited to you. However, there are some used trucks to avoid, so you have to be careful.

To help you navigate the ocean of information on all of the makes and models, we have put together a guide on the used trucks that you should be avoiding in your search. Likewise, we have made a list of some used trucks that you should keep your eye out to find. So without further ado, let’s look at some used trucks.

Five Used Trucks You Should Avoid

Let’s start with the trucks you should be avoiding. Some of these trucks were decent when they were released and are from popular and reliable manufacturers. However, whether it be due to age or just a poor performing vehicle, the following five trucks should not be purchased used; time to find out why.

1) 2000-2005 Chevrolet Silverado

When this iteration of the Silverado was released, it came with a decent set of specs and wasn’t a half-bad option for new truck buyers. It came in a variety of configurations, seating anywhere from two to six passengers and had four different engine offerings.

However, the 2000-2005 Silverado hasn’t aged well at all. Over the years, reports of brake lines prone to rusting, a host of engine problems, and even steering issues, began to surface. Later models, too, have been plagued with A/C problems and transmissions that give out long before they should. If you’re looking for a used truck, you should probably look somewhere else.

2) 2005-2008 Nissan Frontier

The Nissan Frontier was blazing trails when it first arrived in the U.S. in the early aughts. It was the first pickup to boast four doors and came with all the standard bells and whistles for similar trucks in its class. However, since then, drivers have reported questionable transmissions and radiators that can lead to significant damage to the gearbox and eventually, engine failure. When you find a 2005-2008 Nissan Frontier for a reasonable price, do yourself a favor and keep searching.

3) Ram 1500 (2000s and 2010s)

There isn’t much good to report for the Ram 1500 from the early 2000s and 2010s. From the very beginning, this truck was riddled with problems related to the interior electronic systems. Everything from cruise control to the radio have come under scrutiny, and while that doesn’t seem like a life or death issue, the Ram 1500 also has its fair share of transmission and engine critics, making the Ram 1500 one used truck you should avoid.

4) Suzuki Equator (All Years)

A long forgotten used truck, a black 2009 Suzuki Equator is parked on a grassy hill.

That’s right; there are still some Suzuki cars and trucks out there on the market. However, Suzuki did leave U.S. production in 2012. And while you can always find replacement parts for the Equator since it is basically a Nissan Frontier, you have to ask yourself why you would buy a truck whose maker decided to pull out of the U.S. market. Such a scenario poses a host of headaches that are best avoided, just like the Suzuki Equator.

5) Honda Ridgeline (2009-2014)

New versions of the Honda Ridgeline are still being driven without too many complaints, but the early Ridgelines are known for a litany of problems that make them an absolute do not buy. Some of the issues were merely cosmetic, like paint that peeled off and early rusting. From there, the problems only get more serious. The A/C is known to go on the fritz, and the fourth cylinder has gone kaput on many a Ridgeline. If you can, stay away.

Three Used Trucks You Should Consider

Not every used truck on the market is a lemon, though. While there are undoubtedly many used trucks you should avoid, there are still plenty of great options on the market. Sifting through all of the models can be tricky though, so below we have given you three of the best bets when it comes to buying a used truck.

1) Ford F-250 Super Duty (All Years)

The Ford F-250 from just about any year you can find is a reliable machine that keeps its value like a champ. You can get everything you would want from the F-250, including a V8 biodiesel engine with a four-wheel drive drivetrain. The interior comes in a variety of configurations, including the beloved crew cab. The performance and towing capacity, too, have held up well on most F-250’s and will most likely do the same for you.

Of course, as with all cars and trucks, the lower the mileage, the better, and the same is true for the F-250. Some drivers have reported fuel pump problems once the truck passes 100,000 miles, so make sure to inquire about that if you find an F-250 for sale. Otherwise, though, this truck is one of the best on the used market.

A red 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty is parked in front of mountains.

2) Toyota Tacoma (2012)

The Toyota Tacoma is certainly a good find when perusing used trucks. What else would you expect from the car company that offers some of the most reliable cars and trucks on the road? The Toyota Tacoma is ultra-reliable, boasts otherworldly off-road dominance, and is a stalwart in the used truck game. It has engines and cab configurations to suit every type of buyer, so you are sure to be happy with your Tacoma no matter what you are buying it for.

The 2012 Tacoma, for example, can come with a powerful V6 236 hp engine and a decent 3,500 lbs maximum towing capacity (not bad for its size). That is on top of an impressive 1,280 lbs payload capacity, and of course, the Tacoma has four-wheel drive so you won’t get stuck spinning your wheels.

3) Toyota Tundra (All Years)

Toyota’s other truck is just as good as the Tacoma, if not better. The Tundra has heavy-duty power, and the V8 has a towing capacity of up to 10,000 lbs. It is the perfect truck if you need to bring some of your big toys or tools with you wherever you go. The Tundra also comes with plenty of torque and a stellar fuel economy rating for a truck of its size and power.

Buying a Used Truck

Like any search for used cars, you’ll need to do your homework and ask plenty of questions before you commit to a single truck. The five models that we listed to avoid should help to keep you from a poor truck-buying experience, though. And if you really keep an eye out, you will be able to find one of the three great trucks we mentioned you should watch for. But overall, there are so many details and factors that go into the process of buying a used truck that it can become stressful, so remember to enjoy it.

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