Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A black 2022 Ford F-150 is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a dealer that has a Ford F-150 for sale.

Answering All of Your Ford F-150 Questions

The Ford F-150 is not a new truck. In fact, Ford has been producing top-quality pickup trucks for the American driver since the 1917 Model TT. Therefore, every Ford F-150 for sale today is the product of over a century of engineering, design, and technical accomplishment.

More and more drivers are starting to appreciate the capability and reliability of pickup trucks, which means a greater number of drivers are shopping for their very first Ford F-150. Of course, shopping for a pickup truck is rarely a different experience than shopping for any other vehicle. You start by determining your wants, needs, and budget, then research which vehicles make the most sense for your life and drive style.

But a full-size truck is more than just a vehicle. It can be your work partner, your adventure buddy, and transportation for your family and loved ones. Therefore, many new pickup truck drivers are significantly interested in selecting a truck that is the best possible fit for their lifestyle and driving needs.

Here are some important questions drivers often ask when checking out a new or pre-owned Ford F-150, with honest answers to help you make solid decisions when buying your next truck.

A grey 2022 Ford F-150 Limited is shown from the front while towing a boat.

How Do I Know Which Ford F-150 Model Is Right for Me?

This is a common question since Ford offers their drivers a lot of unique trims, configurations, and options to choose from. If you’ve been driving a vehicle that comes in trims along the lines of the “Good, Better, Best” formula, it may be hard to understand which F-150 has all of the features and capabilities you need.

Your approach to shopping for a Ford F-150 may depend on how you plan to use your truck. For example, if you’re primarily concerned with navigating unusual terrain, you might want to focus on F-150 models that are designed for off-road duty; then, you’ll want to consider the type and amount of off-roading you do. If you’re on the trail more often than the road, you may prefer the Tremor and Raptor models, which are specifically designed with engines, terrain modes, and mechanical features like electronic-locking differentials and skid plates. However, if you have other priorities and consider off-roading more a hobby or an incidental event, you might instead choose to add the FX4 Off-Road Package, which adds off-road-tuned shocks, skid plates, and terrain-specific driving modes to the XL High, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum all-wheel drive trims.

On the other hand, perhaps towing and stowing are the two major areas where you could use a hand. In this case, you’ll want to check out the towing and payload maximums for each prospective model you try. While a properly-equipped 2023 F-150 can tow up to 14,000 lbs, bear in mind that this figure is associated with SuperCrew cab vehicles, which include a 3.5L EcoBoost engine and the optional Max Trailer Tow Package. Similarly, drivers of regular cab models with the 5.0L V8 engine, likewise equipped with both the Max Trailer Tow and Heavy-Duty Payload Packages, can enjoy a payload maximum of 3,235 lbs. While other models in the line-up aren’t too far behind in capability, it’s a good idea to double-check these figures if you need your truck to perform big tasks.

For drivers who don’t have a specific carry maximum in mind, or who treasure the flexibility of a truck’s open bed, your choice of F-150 might boil down to budget and personal preference. With eight trim levels, six engine options, configurations that allow for two to six passengers, and seemingly endless options and available packages, the sheer number of choices may be overwhelming. Stick with your pre-decided budget, and decide which features you simply can’t live without, and chances are good you’ll find exactly the truck you’re looking for.

How Safe Are Ford F-150 Pickups?

Pickup drivers tend to be passionate about their trucks. As a result, you’ve probably heard one-sided horror stories about someone who dared to drive the competition’s full-size truck and paid the price.

The truth is that Ford has designed the F-150 with daily driving in mind. That means providing trucks with standard safety engineering, driver assistance, and optional features that can improve a driver’s experience even more.

For example, each 2023 F-150 comes equipped with standard driver assistance technology, including Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Post-Collision Braking, and a Reverse Sensing System, along with a Rear View Camera with Dynamic Hitch Assist. Drivers can also opt for features like Lane-Keeping and BLIS blindspot technology, which come standard in higher trims.

All Ford F-150 models include impressive engineering, as well. Ford’s AdvanceTrac With Roll Stability Control and Curve Control is aboard every model, slowing and providing you with balance and stability through sharp curves and corners, even when towing a trailer. Airbags are also provided throughout the cabin to protect the driver, front passenger, and rear passengers as applicable.

Each wheel is equipped with power anti-lock brakes, and drivers can opt for four-wheel drive at every trim level. The corresponding drive and terrain modes can help drivers navigate through all kinds of hazardous conditions, like slippery roads, snow, sand, and mud, depending on the options they select.

A silver 2023 Ford F-150 Tremor is shown from the side.

Is Buying a Used F-150 a Sound Investment?

While few drivers would turn down the opportunity to take home a brand-new Ford F-150, there are times when our budgets ask us to make more economical decisions. When this happens, the most common action is to turn to a preowned version of our preferred vehicle.

But pickup trucks are designed to be workhorses, right? How does the F-150 hold up to all the hauling, crawling, and other heavy-duty jobs pickup trucks are often asked to perform? You’ll be impressed to learn that Ford trucks can stay on the road for over 200,000 miles if properly maintained. The Ford F-150 has been specifically engineered to be both lightweight and tough, pairing a military-grade aluminum body with a high-strength steel hydroformed, fully-boxed frame since 2017. That means it’s designed to stand up to as much hard work as hard play.

Furthermore, Ford has included a few extra features along the way to help drivers preserve the structural integrity of their pickup truck, including bed-side steps to allow easier access to cargo, power open/close tailgate with remote access, and trailering technology that takes the guesswork out of trying to find your hitch.

Ultimately, a quality preowned Ford F-150 should have minimal to no rust, a solid body, responsive brake and acceleration, and a price tag that makes sense.

Shopping for a Ford F-150

The best way to decide if a truck is for you is to hop behind the wheel and take it for a spin. However, you don’t have to buy the first truck you try out. Used trucks often have their own driving nuances, born through their travels, and new trucks can offer a lot more performance than you might be accustomed to. It would be wise to try out several different trucks to ensure you’re bringing home the best possible vehicle.

The Ford F-150 is a truck that wears many hats. It can be an off-roading beast, a “haul anything and go anywhere” adventure vehicle, a family favorite, or a steady hard work companion. When starting the shopping process, it’s best to keep your budget in focus, then consider what you absolutely can’t live without. While having class-leading towing capacity can be really helpful, you might want to consider if you would regularly tow large enough loads to warrant that feature, or whether another trim might be better suited for your daily activities.

Though the options may seem overwhelming at first, remember that Ford does their best to provide the ideal truck for nearly every driver. Choose options that make the most sense to you, and don’t rule out the possibility of a used truck. You might just discover why the Ford F-150 has been a fan favorite for over 40 years.