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A new car or truck isn’t in the cards for everyone. That’s why buying a used Ford truck is a good idea. With more than 12 generations to choose from with the Ford F-150 alone, countless trim levels, and a variety of other options, which reliable Ford truck is right for you?

What is the best used Ford truck to buy?

The benefits of buying a used Ford truck like the Ford F-150
A red 1991 Ford F 150 pickup truck | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The benefits of buying a used Ford truck definitely outweigh the drawbacks. With the Ford F-150 pickup truck so popular, it gives people a wide variety of options to choose from. First things first, the Ford F-Series lineup has few options to select from. The F-150 is the most versatile of the reliable Ford trucks, but not be the right fit for everyone.

The Ford F-150 truck comes in a variety of trim levels already. These include Platinum, XLT, Raptor, Lariat, XL, and the list goes on and on. Before deciding which one is right for you, you must consider your lifestyle. Do you need to tow a lot regularly? That would make a higher-trim level with a higher tow capacity a good idea.

If you have a family and need more than one front seat, buying a used Ford truck with a comfortable back seat makes sense. It would also be wise to check on safety ratings for the particular years you are looking at to see which one performed better.

Before buying a used Ford truck, check out the safety ratings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) formed the five-star safety rating system to help consumers make more informed decisions when buying a car was created back in 1993. These days, the NHTSA tests each new car, truck, and SUV for crashworthiness.

For instance, the 2019 Ford F-150 has fairly good crash test ratings. The 2019 F-150 received a five-star rating in the NHTSA overall crash test. Similarly, the used Ford truck received five-star scores for all but two tests. The overall frontal crash, side crash, side pole crash, and other crashworthiness tests proved the 2019 Ford truck was safe.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also rates cars, trucks, and SUVs in similar crash tests. The IIHS is dedicated to reducing injuries and deaths due to vehicle crashes. Looking at the 2020 Ford F-150, the IIHS gave it “good” ratings. That is the highest rating the organization gives. It is a good idea to peruse these ratings if you find a specific year or model that suits the rest of your needs.

Consider your personal needs before deciding

A low-mileage used Ford truck might be a good buy if you have a little extra cash. If you plan on keeping it for a while, this will give you plenty of time before any significant repairs need to be done. If you have recently retired and are looking for a project or restoration, high mileage won’t matter. That might offer a little more cash for the post-purchase plans.

If you find a used Ford truck that suits your needs, take it for a test drive. Depending on the circumstances, you can ask for service records. Someone with extensive service records and paperwork probably took good care of the truck. Don’t forget the Certified Pre-Owned options, which might come with a bit of warranty.

It is also a good idea to get an inspection. If you have a trustworthy repair shop already, take the truck in for an inspection. If you don’t have a trustworthy repair shop, this might be a good time to find one. You want your new, used Ford truck to last forever, right?