Skip to main content

Searching for the cheapest truck out there can certainly take you to some pretty interesting places. Whether it be that “ran when parked” Craigslist ad or a less-than-reputable used car dealership, finding a cheap truck can be an adventure. One spot you might be thinking to look is the local junkyard. Is it possible to get a used truck at a junkyard?

Do junkyards sell used vehicles?

Unfortunately, while a lot of junkyards will have full trucks in the yard, they might not sell whole vehicles. Oftentimes, these businesses just sell parts to folks. But it is entirely possible that one near you might offer cheap trucks. It really comes down to a case-by-case basis. 

If you do find a junkyard that sells full vehicles, you might be able to find a hidden gem. But it will probably require more legwork. For instance, it won’t be surprising if the cheap truck you find comes with a salvage title instead of a clean one. A salvage title means that a vehicle has been damaged and was probably ruled a total loss by an insurance company. 

An old truck is parked at a junkyard.
Junkyard truck | John Greim via Getty Images

Depending on the state you live in, that could make it more difficult to register your pickup truck. It can also mean higher insurance rates, which is something to take into consideration. Especially if you are already on a budget in the first place. 

If you aren’t mechanically inclined, find someone who is

The next big part of getting a cheap truck from a junkyard is inspecting it. If you aren’t that familiar with cars, you should bring someone with you who is. Unlike a dealership, a junkyard’s highest priority is probably not keeping vehicles in driving condition. After all, most folks probably go to the scrap yard to find cheap parts. 

A Chevy Astro van at a junkyard in New York City.
New York City junkyard | Viviane Moos via Getty Images

Find a mechanic to inspect your potential pickup truck before you put money on the table. That way, you can confirm you are getting something that is actually road worthy – Unless you are actively looking for a project car, that can save you some money in the long run. 

What is the cheapest used truck?

According to Kelley Blue Book, the used car market is still more expensive than it used to be, but that does not mean you can’t find a cheap truck. If you are looking for a full-size truck, the Ford F-150 Heritage can be found on a budget. 

The F-150 Heritage is a 2004 model-year F-Series, but it is actually just a rebadged fifth-generation. Because of that, you can get things like the 5.4-liter Triton V8 engine, which is considered to be a workhorse. 

A Ford F-150 Heritage can be a cheap truck for some.
Ford F-150 | Diane Barros via Getty Images

For a smaller option, the 2007 Chevy Colorado can be had for less than $5k. You will be dealing with General Motors’ quality and probably a four-cylinder engine, but on a budget, you have to be ready to make sacrifices. 

At the end of the day, getting a truck from a junkyard will probably come with sacrifices of its own. Junkyards are where vehicles go to die typically, not be reborn. But it is possible if your local yard does allow folks to take home entire vehicles. Just maybe do so with some skepticism.

Related 3 of the Best Used Trucks According to MotorTrend

3 of the Best Used Trucks According to MotorTrend