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From the race tracks to construction sites, trucks are swiftly becoming the vehicle of choice in America, and many people are considering buying one. Growing families that used to flock to minivans are now looking at trucks for their transportation needs, as well as many individuals who never would have considered buying one before.

The question is, should everyone buy a brand new truck, especially if they’ve never driven one before? Considering the increasing costs of buying one, it may be best to go with a used truck first, and here’s why.

A row of new trucks lined up for sale.
A lineup of new Ford F-150 pickup trucks | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

What do you need

One of the biggest problems facing consumers who are considering making the switch to a truck from a car is what your specific wants and needs are. If you’re dead set on a specific truck, you probably shouldn’t’ buy new. You need to ask yourself some questions and consider all options.

Do you need a truck that can fit multiple car seats? Are you starting up a business that will require you to tow heavy loads? How far are you going to travel to work each day? Do you plan to go off-roading in your truck, or are you going to stick to city roads? Will the weather have a major impact on your travels? Do you want a truck with a nice interior, or will just anything do?

These are all questions that you need to figure out before you head to the dealership and sign the paperwork. While trucks used to be a more uniform shape with only a few minor differences, there are many new changes happening, from the type of engine under the hood to trick tailgates. Knowing what you want before you ever start seriously shopping around will save you a lot of trouble. 

Costs of new trucks

Years ago, you could get a brand new pickup for relatively cheap, but that’s quickly changing. Kelley Blue Book reports, “Full-size truck sticker prices start in the neighborhood of $28,000, but the average price paid has risen to right around $40,000.”

For some consumers, that may not seem like much money at all, but for others, it may be more than they can afford. 

Buying a new pickup may seem like the way to go, but if it’s pushing your budget, a used truck may be a better bet for you. This will allow you to get used to driving a truck, as well as assessing what you like and what you hate. Then if you decide to trade it in for something new, you’ll have a better idea of what you actually want.

Buying used

Before you rush out and buy a used truck, do your research first. Buying used is a great way to go, especially if you’re saving up for something else, but some used trucks are riddled with issues that will cause you to spend more time getting repairs than actually driving it.

We recently published an article about vehicles that you should never buy used, and several pickups made the list. One of these was the Ram 1500. While many of the 1500s are great, solid trucks, several model years caused consumers more headaches than it was worth.

For example, the 2012, 2014, and 2015 models had brake problems as well as power component issues. Consumer Reports recommends that no one buy the 2014 and 2016 models.

Other trucks that were given the never buy label from Consumer Reports include the 2015 and 2016 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD, as well as the 2008, 2010, and 2014 F-250. 

According to Autotrader, there are several great used trucks that you can purchase for under $5,000. Some of the trucks that made the list include the Ford Ranger, Chevy Silverado 1500, Toyota Tacoma, Ford F-150, and the Dodge Dakota. 

If you buy one used and find you love it, you can always upgrade to a new one. Of course, if you fall in love with your used truck, you can always keep it. Sometimes going with a classic truck is more satisfying than buying a new one which will swiftly lose its value anyways.