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How to Choose a Good Pre-Owned Pickup

Published on November 28, 2022 in Pre-owned vehicles by The Car Guide

Pickup trucks are increasingly popular in the new vehicle market and this is especially true with compact and midsize models, as shown by the recent addition of the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, not to mention the Jeep Gladiator and the return of the Ford Ranger a few years ago.

Long delivery times are putting you off, or maybe you’re just looking for something more affordable? A pre-owned pickup might be the ideal solution. But not so fast, you’ll have to do some homework first to make a good choice.

What Do You Need?

First, you must decide what your real needs are. For example, what kind of loads are you going to tow or carry in the bed? What bed size will suit you best? Do you need additional storage under the bed, or maybe a bed cover to protect your equipment? Does power matter to you more than fuel economy, or vice versa?

Photo: Honda Canada Inc.

Of course, pickups are not just work tools, and an increasing number of people use them in everyday life. If that’s your case, you must consider the size of the cab and the space behind the front seats, depending on how big your family is. Do you often drive in the city? Be wary of models that have a rough and unpleasant handling on paved roads. It’s also important to think about the equipment and accessories: what do you want to have above all?

Search and Find

Once you’ve determined your needs and budget, you can begin your search. But be careful: online listings don’t tell you everything. Seeing the vehicle in person is inescapable, followed by a test drive. And if that goes well, a mechanical inspection is in order. You buy a pickup mostly for its abilities, so the various components that will be put under stress by the tasks you have in mind must be sound. At least, you should know which ones will need repair or replacement in the short term.

Photo: William Clavey

It's also a good idea to ask for the opinion of a contractor or a friend who has the same type of pickup you're looking for. That person could give you tips and points to consider that you might not have thought about, regarding maintenance, tire selection or useful accessories for example.

Lastly, your pre-owned pickup should be trustworthy and last you a long time, but if you want to keep it only for a few years, choose a model that’s likely to maintain a good resale value.  

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