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Key mistakes people make when buying a pickup truck

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Buying a pickup truck can be an exciting prospect, especially with the variety of models, sizes, and features available today. However, this process can also be fraught with potential pitfalls.

In this article, you can learn some of the most common mistakes people make when buying a pickup truck so you make a more informed decision and spend your dollars (not to mention time) wisely.

Not defining your needs

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not clearly defining your needs in advance. Pickup trucks come in various sizes, capabilities, and configurations, with different options suitable for different people. Understanding your specific needs will help you choose a truck with the right size, engine, payload capacity, and towing capability.

For example, are you planning to use it for heavy towing and hauling, off-roading, or as a daily driver? Maybe you want to start a small business and need a pickup truck for that, or you’ve purchased a farm and need a better vehicle for completing jobs on it? You might want to use the vehicle for camping or off-roading, too. Your needs are particular to you, so ensure you base your decision on those and no one else’s goals.

Ignoring the total cost of ownership

Many buyers focus on the sticker price of a pickup truck and overlook other expenses that come with owning this type of vehicle. For example, there are costs such as insurance, fuel, maintenance, and repairs. Keep in mind that pickup trucks, especially those with larger engines, tend to consume more fuel. The cost of insuring a truck can also be higher than a regular car.

Considering these costs and any other ones that might apply to your situation can give you a more accurate picture of the total cost of ownership.

Not considering the truck’s size

Another common mistake is underestimating the truck’s size. Full-size pickup trucks can be challenging to maneuver in tight spaces and might not fit in standard-sized garages. Ensure the truck’s size suits your driving conditions and parking situations before you purchase one, and compare options because some might work for you while others may be just a little too big for comfort.

Overestimating towing and payload needs

While having a truck that meets your towing and payload needs is crucial, overestimating these needs can lead you to buy a truck that’s more than you require. Bigger trucks with higher capabilities often come with higher upfront and ongoing costs. A realistic assessment of your towing and payload needs can prevent this mistake and help you save a significant amount of money.

Skimping on safety features

Modern trucks come equipped with advanced safety features like blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist. However, in an attempt to cut costs, some buyers opt for base models that lack these features. Investing in safety features can offer added peace of mind and potential savings on insurance premiums, so it’s worth considering upgraded models in some cases.

Not doing a thorough test drive

Not taking a thorough test drive is another common mistake you don’t want to make. A test drive is your opportunity to check each truck’s handling, braking, acceleration, and comfort before you make your decision. It’s also a chance to test features and see if they meet your expectations.

Choosing the wrong bed and cab size

Pickup trucks offer various combinations of bed and cab sizes. However, a larger cab often means a smaller bed, and vice versa. Prioritize your need for passenger or cargo space, and choose a configuration that best suits your lifestyle and needs now and in the future.

Overlooking the importance of resale value

Some trucks hold their value better than others. High resale value can reduce your total cost of ownership long-term. Researching and choosing a model known for its resale value can be beneficial if you plan to sell or trade-in later, especially if you don’t think you’ll have the vehicle for too many years.

Neglecting repairs and maintenance needs

Lastly, whether you’re buying a new or used truck, understanding the importance of regular maintenance and potential repairs is crucial. For used trucks, get a pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic to uncover any potential issues. For new trucks, understand the warranty coverage and service intervals.

Regular maintenance, including oil changes, tire rotations, brake inspections, and fluid checks, can help your truck perform better and last longer. Remember, neglecting repairs and maintenance can lead to bigger problems down the line and possibly void your warranty.

While it’s best to get complex tasks completed by a specialist, you might be able to set yourself up with some quality mechanics tools and handle simple jobs yourself to save money.

Buying a pickup truck is a significant investment, and making an informed decision is essential. By avoiding all these common mistakes, you can find a truck that suits your needs, offers value for money, and serves you well for many years to come.

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1 Comment

  1. Henry Killingsworth August 25, 2023

    You made a good point when you explained that it is important to make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing a pickup truck. My brother is going to start a new roofing job next week, and he needs a vehicle that can transport his supplies and tools around. I would imagine that it would be a good idea for him to get a truck with some kind of utility body.


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