Everything You Need To Know on How To Buy a Truck
Buying a new truck is a big deal. For many, it’s even a right of passage — there’s nothing like getting your first pickup truck. Unlike many other vehicles, pickup trucks serve equally well as commuting vehicles, passenger vehicles, and work trucks thanks to their beds and powerful engines.
But while buying a truck can be fun, it can also be risky. You need to know what to look for and how to buy a truck the right way so you don’t get scammed. Today, let’s break down some things to consider as you buy a truck.
Choose Your Truck Type
Firstly, be sure to buy the right type of truck. There are many different types of trucks you can purchase, including:
- Full-size trucks, including the Ford F-150, Toyota Tacoma, Dodge Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. These popular trucks can usually carry at least 1000 pounds and have enough space for between four and five people. Most new cars and trucks come from these companies
- Midsize trucks, which aren’t as popular but are still very good choices as beginner trucks. These weigh a little less than full-size trucks, but still have powerful engines and can tow and haul similar loads to their full-sized counterparts
- Compact trucks, which are perfect for navigating through crowded parking lots. These are great family trucks since they can carry camping gear and have plenty of room in the back
- Heavy-duty trucks, which are ideal for drivers looking for work vehicles. They feature extra payload and towing capabilities
- High-performance trucks, which are powerful and perfect for offroad camping trips
- Luxury trucks, which are intended for folks with plenty of cash to spend and those who love trucks with great aesthetics and extra comfort features
As you can see, different trucks are ideal for different drivers and preferences. Be sure to consider the type of truck you want to purchase carefully before going shopping.
Consider the Truck’s Frame
When you find a truck you like, take a close look at its frame. The frame is what the truck chassis sits on and what allows trucks to have better off-road performance compared to lower cars.
Specifically, examine the frame and see whether it prioritizes:
- Loose or tight handling
- Rough off-road riding or comfortable riding
- More or less towing power
Generally, you want a truck’s frame to be in good condition regardless of its features or performance metrics. The frame configuration will affect the towing capacity, cab size, fuel economy, and several other attributes of your new vehicle.
Truck Cab Types
Also, consider the type of cab a truck comes with before buying one. The cab capacity can vary heavily from truck to truck. Many trucks, for example, have two doors but also have two seats in the back behind the driver and passenger seats. These are ideal for small families, but kids have to push one of the front seats forward to get to the back.
Other trucks have four doors and their cabs are more spacious or similar to the cabins of classic cars. Basically, decide whether you want a lot of legroom and passenger capacity in your truck or if you want to prioritize other elements of this vehicle type, such as bed space, etc.
No matter what, remember a truck won’t have as many seats as a minivan!
Many appreciate trucks for their off-roading capabilities. The best trucks will have 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive systems, meaning that the engine powers all of the wheels at once instead of just the front two wheels.
However, some cheaper trucks (those designed for driving on roads exclusively) may only be two-wheel drive vehicles. These can work if you primarily need a truck for commuting. But they’re not the best choice for off-road excursions.
Truck Features and Bed Lengths
Naturally, the best truck for you will have the right bed lengths for your needs. Generally, full-sized trucks have beds ranging between 5.5 and 8 feet long. The longer the bed, the more unwieldy the truck is that the more stuff you can store in the back.
If you are primarily buying a truck for work or storage, a bigger, longer bed is best. But if your truck just needs to be able to carry a little bit of gear, a shorter bed is ideal. Check to see whether the truck comes with a toolbox or storage bench in the back, too — these can be great extra features to make a truck really worth your time and money.
Don’t forget to investigate any other features a truck has before buying one. For example, some trucks come with heated steering wheels, heated seats, built-in radio, and more. All of these extra features might not be super important, but they can sweeten a deal or make one truck seem like a better option than another if they are similar in price.
Check for specs and features like:
- Warranty and rebates
- Extended cab seats
- Fuel efficiency or MPG
- Engine options
- Trim levels (if you care about these, anyway)
- How much the estimated monthly payments will be
Where To Buy a Truck
Deciding on the right truck for your needs is one thing. Finding the truck and buying it from the right person is another. When you buy a truck, you have three choices of sellers.
Online listing sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace allow you to connect with private sellers trying to get rid of their trucks. If you decide to buy a truck from a private seller, be sure to meet up in a public place and do a detailed inspection/test drive of the vehicle before purchasing it.
Car dealerships are often full of trucks of varying sizes. You can also find used vehicles at used truck dealerships, allowing you to get the truck you need for a budget-friendly price.
Lastly, you can buy a truck directly from its manufacturer’s dealership. These trucks are usually sold in new condition and are, therefore, the most expensive. But on the plus side, you can usually get insurance, special deals, or other bonuses by shopping straight from the manufacturer.
Inspections and Test Drives
Inspections and test drives are vital no matter where you buy your truck from. If you don’t have the mechanical knowledge to do a detailed inspection, make sure to get a certified mechanic’s inspection report or take the vehicle to a mechanic shop yourself.
Test drives and inspections allow you to see whether the vehicle meets your expectations and is really worth the asking price. They’re doubly important if you buy from a used car dealership or a private seller. Inspections and test drives are the best ways to make sure that you aren’t being scammed during a sale.
Lastly, be sure to budget appropriately for your upcoming truck purchase. Depending on your finances, you may be able to pay for your truck purchase with a loan. The ideal loans will have low-interest rates and allow you to pay off the truck over a good term. The better credit you have, the better loans you will have access to.
As you can see, anyone can buy a truck — you just have to do your research and be prepared to take it for a good test drive to avoid getting a lemon! On the other hand, you can easily rent the perfect truck for your camping trip or other needs from Advantage Rent-a-Car. Our fleet includes plenty of quality truck makes and models, so check out our rental options today!