Trucks & SUVs

Is It a Bad Idea to Buy a Used Diesel Truck with High Mileage?

If you need a truck that offers serious towing power, odds are you’re considering a diesel-powered truck. And why not? In many cases, diesel pickups can tow more than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Now, say you want to buy a used diesel truck. If that’s the case, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Unfortunately, many of those options are likely to have high mileage. But is buying a used diesel truck with high mileage a bad idea?

A red 2020 Chevrolet Silverado Diesel full-size pickup truck travels on a four-lane highway past pine trees and a snow-capped mountain
2020 Chevrolet Silverado Diesel | General Motors

The pros and cons of buying a used diesel truck

There are several benefits to buying a used diesel truck. Not only do diesel pickups offer more towing power than gas-powered trucks, but many diesel trucks tend to be more fuel-efficient than their gasoline counterparts. Of course, those aren’t the only reasons to buy a used diesel truck. According to Diesel Hub, diesel engines are also known for lasting a very long time.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to buying a used diesel truck. First off, it will be used. According to Cars.com, that means you should expect some slight imperfections in terms of the truck’s overall condition. Not all used diesel pickups will come accompanied by a warranty either, which could be problematic if you’re buying a high mileage used diesel truck. 

According to Cars.com, used diesel trucks often mean higher financing rates too. There are several reasons for this, a used diesel pickup’s overall reliability being one of them. “If a used truck breaks down, the owner may be less likely to continue making payments on the vehicle loan. Lenders assume this potential risk, and charge a higher interest rate to compensate themselves in the event the risk becomes reality,” Cars.com explains.

RELATED: 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Diesel: Speed and Energy Land This Truck on an Epic ‘Best’ List

What is considered high mileage for a used diesel truck?

When it comes to mileage, Prosource Diesel reports that diesel trucks often get higher mileage than gas trucks because they come equipped with such durable engines. As a result of this, Prosource Diesel reports, it’s not all that uncommon to come across a used diesel truck with upwards of 200,000-miles on its odometer. Chances are, you might even come across a used diesel truck with 300,000-miles on its odometer.

As for what’s considered high mileage for specific diesel engines? According to Prosource Diesel, anything over 350,000-miles is considered high mileage for a used diesel pickup with a Cummins or Duramax engine under its hood. Anything over 350,000-miles is also regarded as high mileage for a Powerstroke diesel engine.

A red 2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel parked on display
The 2018 Ford F-150 with an available Power Stroke Diesel engine | Ford

RELATED: The Right Way to Test Drive a Used Diesel Truck

Keep in mind that not all high mileage pickups are equal

Here’s the thing, not all used diesel pickups with high mileage are equal. In fact, you’ll find pretty quickly that while some used diesel trucks with high mileage are in good condition, others will have you spinning on your heels and running in the opposite direction.

That’s why, according to Driving Line, you should always ask for maintenance records when shopping for a used diesel truck. As Driving Line explains, “Any time the owner hands over a folder full of service receipts, it’s a good sign that he or she has maintained the truck appropriately.” 

This goes without saying. Before buying a used diesel pickup, regardless of what number is on its odometer, you should have it checked out by a trustworthy mechanic too. According to Edmunds, this kind of pre-purchase inspection can save you both money and a ton of headaches.

RELATED: Which Diesel Pickup Trucks Get the Best Fuel Mileage?

Is buying a used diesel pickup with high mileage a bad idea?

In the end, it all comes down to both the condition of the truck and what you’re comfortable with. If the truck is in good condition and has been serviced regularly, its high mileage numbers might not matter all that much. But if the truck has high mileage and hasn’t been properly maintained? You might want to steer clear of it.