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Used trucks aren’t the deal they were pre-pandemic

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Once upon a time, conventional wisdom told savvy shoppers to buy used trucks so that the depreciation fell to the original owners. But a new study from iSeeCars.com shows you might be better off buying new after all.

Used vehicle prices generally have increased by an average of 47.7%, and used truck prices specifically are at a 12-month high. Furthermore, those used trucks with increased prices have 30% to 55% more miles.

Used trucks are double trouble

The iSeeCars report calls attention to five popular trucks, the Detroit Three full-size trucks and the midsize Toyota Tacoma. And the tale the numbers tell is grim.

“Among the pandemic’s many casualties is the affordable used car, which has nearly vanished from the used car marketplace,” said iSeeCars’ Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “In 2019, used car shoppers with a budget of $15,000 could afford over 20% of the late-model used car market. Today that budget only gets them access to 1.6% of the market.”

As this pertains to trucks, pre-pandemic, you could get a one of the popular trucks for around $30k, now you’re likely going to spend more than $40k – and that’s for a truck with more than 120k miles on it.

ModelAvg. Price 2019Avg. Price 2023% Change in Avg. Price 2019-2023Avg. Mileage Used Cars < $20K, 2019Avg. Mileage Used Cars < $20K, 2023% Change in Avg. Mileage
Ram 1500$27,324 $42,881 56.90%81,322126,27055.30%
GMC Sierra 1500$32,862 $47,364 44.10%80,181122,84553.20%
Chevrolet Silverado 1500$29,629 $40,359 36.20%94,255140,31148.90%
Ford F-150$31,520 $42,104 33.60%96,262143,27148.80%
Toyota Tacoma$28,443 $36,675 28.90%75,02697,84730.40%

New vs. used trucks

Whenever you buy a new-to-you vehicle, you have to do a cost analysis to decide if new or used trucks are your best bet. While depreciation might still be on the list of considerations, with higher mileage used trucks, you also have to consider warranties – because things will break after you cross the 100k-mile threshold.

While the average price of a new truck now hovers around $59k, wrapped into that price tag is new technology – like bed weights, zone lights and hands-free trailer hitching – new parts and full warranties.

So, you’ve got to decide: Would you rather have an older, out-of-warranty truck with extra features and leather seats that costs a little less, or would you rather have a bare-bones new truck that still has all its warranties intact?

Keep in mind that the new look of a used truck often tells that the owner cared for and cleaned his car before selling it to get the most money out of it.

The bottom line

Only you can answer the question. But the hard truth is used trucks aren’t the deal they used to be, and regardless of whether you buy new or used, you’re going to be paying more than you did pre-pandemic. A lot more.

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is the Managing Editor for Pickup Truck + SUV Talk as well as a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Jill is also currently a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY).

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1 Comment

  1. bob August 9, 2023

    thats great news, hopefully when I sell mine at auction next year, it brings more than msrp was in 2000.


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