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10 Cheap Used Trucks that Won’t Break Down

Buy a Reliable Truck without Spending a Lot of Cash

Published April 18, 2018

If you are in the market for cheap used trucks, you are going to need to use caution. There’s no sense in investing any amount of money in a pick up truck that’s going to leave you stranded on the side of the road. Instead, keep your eye out to find these trucks for sale that have already been proven to be durable and valuable investments.

In no particular order, here’s our list of the 10 best cheap used trucks you can find to ensure maximum reliability.

Ford F-150 (12th Generation)

The Ford F-150 has consistently had a high-reliability rating and often is priced lower than many other used full-size truck options. In addition, it’s had a low cost of ownership due to a lack of needed repairs and lower maintenance prices.

When searching used car dealerships, you should have no trouble finding an F-150 with a V8 engine. There was a base engine that gave sufficient power, but if you’re lucky, you’ll find options with the 5.4-liter V8 which is more powerful and offers better performance for demanding drivers.

In addition, they’ve regularly had enjoyable off-road performance and decent towing capacity. There is room for up to six passengers, and the spacious cabin leaves ample room for the front seat passengers. While the backseat is slightly smaller than some other full-size trucks, it won’t cause anyone to feel cramped.

Most importantly, the F-150 provides responsive handling, a smooth ride and a long-standing reputation for being dependable. This truck makes for a great daily driver and can be easily found for sale at a reasonable price.

Chevrolet Silverado (2nd Generation)

When you need a used truck for hauling, compact pickups and SUVs just don’t cut it. With that said, you might also want to stick to a budget which is where the full-sized Chevy Silverado comes in. Not only is it known for its smooth ride, but it also gets good fuel economy for a pickup truck.

There’s a selection of V8 engines that could give you as much as 367 horsepower, but clearly, the V6 is going to be your cheaper option. This is fine if you just need it for daily driving. If you need to tow, you would do better to upgrade, as the full-size Silverado is capable of towing 10,700 pounds.

In the 2nd generation Silverado, you’ll find that the rear seat is a tad cramped, but it works great for storing gear. Your used truck might also have an auxiliary port, leather upholstery, Bluetooth, navigation, power windows and door locks, Bose premium audio, and a USB port. The key is searching the used cars for sale until you find the truck that works for you.

Toyota Tundra (2nd Generation)

When pricing is one of your main concerns, you’ll find that the Tundra has a below-average price for its class. On top of that, ownership costs are lower than most of its competitors. If that’s just not enough, how about its superior reliability rating?

All of these factor together to make one of the best cheap used trucks on the market. The V6 engine was standard in the 2nd generation Tundra, but it was also available with two varying V8s. Most drivers felt that the V6 ran fine for the price, but the V8 is clearly more powerful and worth a few extra dollars.

The Toyota Tundra also holds up to six passengers, and the seats are quite comfortable. The CrewMax cab offers some superior rear-seat space, so it’s something to look for if you will have a truck full. You should also be able to find a good number of features in your used Tundra as well as some in-cabin technology.

On top of everything else, it got decent fuel economy and featured a towing capacity of up to 10,800 pounds. The only noticeable downside to the Tundra is that the ride isn’t as smooth as many of its rivals.

Nissan Frontier (2nd Generation)

When looking for cheap used trucks, you are going to regularly find the Nissan Frontier near the tops of the lists. That’s because there are many options for well under $20,000. In addition, the cost of ownership is low and the reliability ratings are superior to some other trucks.

You’ll be able to find a Frontier with the four-cylinder or a V6 engine. When it’s fully equipped, the towing capacity is 6,500 pounds and has a max payload of 1,565 pounds. The Frontier was completely redesigned in 2009 and hasn’t changed much through the years. Because of this, it doesn’t make sense to purchase it new.

Many drivers feel that the Pro-X trim is a must have if you want to go off-roading in your Frontier. It offers a refined ride and stronger capability when heading into rough terrain.

The rear seats are smaller than most other trucks in its class but the front seats are exceptionally comfortable. In addition, cabin storage is plentiful, but the Frontier offers little in the way of tech features. In fact, there isn’t even a navigation system available on many used models. If your goal is to find a used truck with an updated design and many features, this isn’t the best option for you. If you need a solid and reliable work vehicle, this will provide everything you desire for a decent price.

Toyota Tacoma (2nd Generation)

The Tacoma has been a favorite among drivers for quite some time. It could be because of the lower cost compared to rivals or that the ownership costs are low. We think it might have something to do with the standard features that were offered like the 6.1-inch touchscreen, USB port, and Bluetooth.

It came with a four-cylinder or V6 engine. When equipped with the V6, you’ll have a maximum towing capacity of 6,500 pounds. That makes it a better option over the four-cylinder if you plan to haul cargo or tow on a regular basis. In addition, it seems to have a rough ride on pavement but excels in off-road conditions.

Some people aren’t pleased with the low driving position the Tacoma had and it’s important to note that you’ll want the Double Cab option if you plan to have passengers in the backseat. Based on the cost of owning, the low cost of used varieties and the available equipment, this truck is clearly one of the best cheap used trucks out there.

Chevrolet Colorado (1st Generation)

The Colorado was popular mainly because of its styling, which seemed to be very much influenced by the Silverado. This was especially true when it came to the split-bar grille design. There were three engine options: the four-cylinder, V8, and the long-lost five-cylinder. If you are looking for reliability, either the four-cylinder or V8 will suffice. With that said, you’ll want to avoid the five-cylinder altogether.

Considering this is a small pickup truck, the interior doesn’t allow for much comfort. It also doesn’t boast high-quality materials either, and it certainly isn’t overabundant with options. While the towing capacity and even off-road capability lacks slightly, the Colorado has solid scores in crash tests. That makes it a safe and sensible option if you are looking for a commuter truck.

Ford Explorer Sport Trac (2nd Generation)

Some people looking for cheap used trucks are actually hoping to find something with the comfort levels of an SUV. The Ford Explorer Sport Trac works if you don’t need massive amounts of cargo space. It does, however, offer roof-rails, unique tie-downs that are integrated on the outside of the bed, and bed steps. In addition, it has a hard bed cover so you can lock up your cargo for protection.

Many drivers have found that the Sport Trac offers a quiet, smooth ride with a decent amount of towing ability. This is especially true if you opt for the available V8 engine and 292 horsepower. While the fuel economy of this Ford wasn’t the greatest, the versatility of the design makes up for it.

Honda Ridgeline (1st Generation)

With innovative cargo features, a car-like ride, and spacious cabin, the Honda Ridgeline is a clear winner for cheap used trucks. You can find a mighty V6 engine and four-wheel-drive on many used models which also adds performance to the mix.

The Ridgeline is compact but still offers roomy rear seats. They also have a lockable in-bed trunk. Keep your eyes open when you are looking for used trucks for sale to see if you can find models with some of the optional upgrades. You may be able to find an example with a rearview camera, navigation, Bluetooth, heated front seats, leather upholstery, and even a power moonroof.

If you want to tow, the Ridgeline isn’t your best option. It only has a 5,000-pound towing capacity.

Ford Ranger (3rd Generation)

If you are looking for cheap small pickup trucks, the Ford Ranger is going to be one of your best options. This was the first compact truck designed by Ford and has been a favorite during its 29 years of production. The Ranger has actually served as the base for many other vehicles, including the Sport Trac we told you about earlier.

Older versions of the Ford Ranger are found ranging from a four-cylinder engine producing 117 horsepower to a V6 producing 207 horsepower. To get the most bang for your buck, you’ll want to find one of these small trucks with the V6 engine, but definitely be ready to lose the tail end on rainy days if that’s what you opt for.

If you can find a used Ford Ranger with the FX4 Level II trim, you are in for a real treat. It featured Ford’s 8.8 rear axle, skid plates, Bilstein shocks, a limited slip differential plus 31-inch all-terrain tires. Basically, it’s what would happen if the FX F150 lineup had a baby with the Ranger lineup – and it’s awesome.

Dodge Ram 3500 (4th Generation)

When nothing less than a heavy-duty pick up truck will do, look to the Dodge Ram 3500. It has the brute pulling power you need from a 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine as well as some aggressive off-road features.

While these trucks aren’t going to be as low-cost as the other cheap used trucks we’ve featured, they do make up for the cost in both power and performance. Sometimes, you need to invest a little more to get what you need.

With that in mind, one of the main complaints riders express is the lack of thought put into the interior quality. If power and performance are your main concerns, this won’t be an issue for you.

Reasons to Consider Buying Cheap Used Trucks

Sure…you could go and buy a cheap used car for much less than you’ll find cheap trucks. If money is the only consideration you have in purchasing a used vehicle, then a car is your best option. So, what’s the purpose of buying cheap used trucks? We have several for you to consider.

– Sometimes, only a truck will do. Try carrying all that cargo home in your minivan or your crossover SUV!
– You can have a lot of fun taking a decent cheap truck off-roading.
– You can use it to make some money. Consider plowing in the winter or helping people move.
– It’s about time you get to look down on others.

If you are ready to find your next vehicle, you might be wondering how to find cheap used trucks. You might also be wondering where to find cheap used trucks. The best resource available to you is the Internet. With that said, it never hurts to browse your local car dealers as well. You can easily search the used trucks for sale in your area with both of these options available to you. Most dealer chains in major metropolitan areas have their resources consolidated into one site that is searchable by anyone, so don’t be afraid to car shop from your couch – it’s never been easier!

Whether you are looking for cheap used trucks because you have a need or just because you want one, there is an option available to you! Keep searching until you find something that fits your budget and your dreams.

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Brian Jones
About Brian Jones

I am an ASE Certified Master Tech, but spend more time with my awesome family now than I do on cars. In my spare time, you'll still find me playing with tools, cars and many other "manly" gadgets.

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