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Buying a cool used truck right now feels nearly impossible. Inventory is low, and anything you do find is priced higher than Geroge Clinton in a glue factory. It feels like one of the only places left to at least attempt to find a good deal on a used pickup truck is on Facebook Marketplace or whichever online classified ad space you prefer. However, as with any marketplace, you have to know what good stuff is falling through the cracks and how to find it. These five tips for finding cool, cheap trucks on Facebook Marketplace might help as we continue to suffer this topsy-tervy car market. 

Should you buy a car on Facebook Marketplace? 

Anytime you are buying a used car, you should come prepared to scour the car in question. For any online marketplace, you also have to be smart and safe. The Internet is a dangerous place, and anyone going to meet anyone from the Internet should take care to make smart choices that can help keep you safe.

That said, websites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist can be heavy with scams while also offering treasure troves of affordable and even rare vehicles. In this marketplace, sites like this will likely get more traffic because of how pricey dealer lots have gotten. The key to finding a cheap truck on Facebook is to understand what to look for and what to pass on.

Where can you find a cheap used pickup truck?

Facebook Marketplace has a very specific vibe, and certain things sell better than others in certain places. After living in New York City for 10 years and then moving to Alabama, these differences are as clear as a bell. 

If you wanted a boxy, square-body American pickup truck in NYC, the Brooklyn aesthetic drives the prices through the roof. The same is true for markets out west where off-roading and gear-hauling are popular, like Denver, Austin, Los Angeles, and Portland. The takeaway is where you look for used trucks will have an impact on what you pay. 

More rural areas like the southeast and mid-west often have more of these kinds of older trucks because of the agricultural communities they serve. As a result of trucks being work vehicles and less so enthusiast vehicles, there are often more for sale and at more reasonable prices. 

Is an old truck worth buying?

A facebook Marketplace ad for an old ,cheap truck
Ford F-150 | Facebook Marketplace listing

There is no shortage of cool old trucks. From the 1940s-1970s, nearly every pickup truck that rolled out of a factory was cool. The problem with trucks of this vintage is that they have been around long enough to retire from work trucks and morph into collectibles. 

While ‘80s and ‘90s cars and trucks are growing in value quickly, there are still a few models from this period that aren’t quite collectible yet. Any ¾ ton trucks from the big three ( Ford, Chevy, or Dodge) will still have the big boxy look but without the cool tax. A few good examples of cheap truck models to keep an eye out for are an ‘89 Ford F-150, a ‘88 Dodge W250, and a ‘88 Jeep J10. 

How many miles are too many miles for a used truck?

1995 Ford F-150 for sale on Facebook Marketplace
1995 Ford F-150 | Facebook Marketplace listing

Whether you are buying a used truck or a golf cart, mileage is a key part of what makes it worth buying or not. As a general rule, American trucks will last with minimal repairs up to about 200,000 miles. There are some that will last well past that and some that will die much sooner. When shopping for a used pickup truck on Facebook Marketplace, always be mindful of mileage. This means checking the odometer yourself before buying. Since people can easily alter the odometer on older trucks, be sure to pay attention to the context of the mileage. Old analog odometers can also roll over. This means a ragged-out truck that reads 65,000 on the clock might well have 165,000 miles. 

A truck with high miles will be much cheaper than a truck with very few miles. There can be a bit of a sweet spot, depending on your budget. If 200,000 miles are starting to creep into the danger zone, and trucks with fewer than 100,000 miles tend to be more expensive, then shoot for something between 110,000-120,000 miles. A well-maintained late-’80s F-150 showing 125,000 miles on the clock, appearing clean, and priced right could be a great buy. 

Is mileage or condition more important to consider when buying a used car?

Types of drive belts in cars include serpentine belts
A man searches for a used serpentine belt tensioner pulley from a salvage truck | Jon Cherry/Getty Images

This is a tough question because making a car decision requires context in both categories. A low-mileage car is likely to be in good condition by definition, but this isn’t always true. You should always ask, “Why?” Why does this 1991 truck only have 47,000 miles? Was it parked by Grandma after Grandpa died, or was it parked because the transmission died? 

The same is true the other way around, too. It’s not uncommon to see a very nice, well-maintained late-80s Toyota pickup truck with 250,000 miles. For some models, if all the maintenance was done well and routinely, mileage can be slightly less of a concern. Context context context. 

Old trucks are hard to buy

If you are serious about buying an older used pickup truck, you’ll do well to remember that an old truck can be hard to buy. Remember, it’s only recently that trucks became luxurious drive-around-town cars. For nearly 100 years, trucks were mainly used for work, and work is hard on a truck. This means that most of the trucks you’ll find for sale probably aren’t what you want for an everyday driver. 

Routine maintenance and even some repairs can be pretty simple on old trucks, but always be on the lookout for issues with rust, clapped-out engines, and transmissions. These are big, tough problems to solve that are all too common for older trucks. 

Buying old trucks is hard but fun 

Black square body Ford F-150 classic pickup truck parked in a field, blue sky visible in the background.
1988 Ford F-150 | Henry Cesari via MotorBiscuit

Shopping for cars and trucks can be really exciting. Going to see a truck in person that you’ve only seen grainy photos of is a blast of nerves and excitement. This can make us hurry and, in turn, sloppy with our critical eye. When you look at an older truck, always remember to take your time, be objective about what you see, and take a walk before you decide. 

It’s a shame the car market has gotten so crazy that we have to go to Facebook to find something affordable. But there is no shortage of cool old trucks out there with plenty of life left in them. The hard part is finding the right one for the right price. With a little research, some simple skills, and patience, you can find a cool, cheap truck on Facebook Marketplace.