What are the Best Used Trucks?

Where would we be without our trucks? Trucks allow us to transport the necessary equipment and materials for work, ensuring that we can carry everything and everyone we need to the job site.   

A good work truck can help carpenters to deliver lumber; landscapers transport lawnmowers and hedge trimmers; and other tradesmen and small business owners move equipment, tools, materials, and workers from one place to another.   

Trucks help power the economy, especially the local economy, and many jobs would be considered impossible or impractical without them. A solid, reliable work truck is arguably the most important tool of any trade because without a truck, the other tools wouldn’t make it to the job site. 

a man in a blue jacket and jeans sits in the bed of his pickup truck in the desert

Although trucks are critical for work, they are also great personal vehicles. Trucks provide access to the great outdoors and allow us to pursue numerous hobbies that would otherwise be out of reach, like off-roading, dirt-biking, fishing, camping and boating. A truck isn’t strictly necessary to go fishing or camping, but having the high clearance for dirt roads and extra storage space in the truck bed enables you to go further into the wilderness and store more gear than you could with a car. If you need a vehicle to tow a boat to the lake or the 30 ft. travel trailer to the ocean, a half-ton or three-quarter-ton truck is often the best vehicle to safely transport your load. 

Whether you are in the market for a work or personal vehicle, a truck can open a lot of doors in your life. Trucks are popular and they aren’t cheap. Fully loaded, 4x4 trucks can have a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of $60,000 or more and that sticker price can make those trucks out of reach for many Americans.  

Used trucks however can often be found closer to $10,000 or $20,000, a price that allows many more people into the truck market.   

With so many used truck models out there, how do you find the best used truck for you? Start by figuring out what truck features are most important for your needs and go from there. Do you need a truck with a large enough cabin to fit five adults comfortably? Is fuel efficiency more important than towing or payload capacity? Are you someone that values newer technology like backup cameras or navigation? The good news is that if you’re looking for a reliable used truck, there is one out there for you! 

Before you begin your search, keep in mind that finding the best used pickup truck can take time. Be patient, there’s a perfect used truck for you out there. When you start your search, whether it’s through a dealer, an individual seller, or a used truck you saw online, don’t make the mistake of being dazzled by any single truck. Instead, focus on the features you care about most. 

Be sure to get great commercial auto insurance or personal auto insurance coverage for the used truck you chose! Call 1-800-INFINITY today! 

What to consider when buying a used pickup truck

 a row of five used pickup trucks of a variety of colors for sale

Before you dash out the door to look at trucks, take the time to think about what you need in a truck. Doing this can save a lot of time by eliminating trucks that don’t have all the features you want or need, and also help you focus only on trucks that meet all your requirements. After all, buying a truck isn’t something you do every day. Now is the time to get the right used truck for you or your business needs. 

Cabin Space:  
How much cabin space do you need? If you work with a crew or drive with a few family members, you will probably want to consider a used pickup truck with a crew cab.  

A truck with a crew cab allows you to transport five or potentially six people in relative comfort.  Although extended cabs provide small seats in the back, these seats are not usually spacious enough for adults, especially on longer drives.  

Beyond additional seating capacity, the crew cab also provides extra storage room for groceries, tools, hobby equipment, and other things that you probably wouldn’t want to store in the truck bed while driving. 

interior of pickup truck in black with three seats and red buckles

Payload & Towing: 

 If you plan on towing a trailer or routinely carry heavy payloads like building materials, gravel or large tools, you’ll want to consider used pickup trucks in the three-quarter-ton or full-ton class.   

Many of these trucks can be found with diesel engines capable of handling heavy payloads and towing loads well over 10,000 pounds. If towing extra-large loads is important to you, look for a used F-350 or GM/Dodge 3500HD model with a gooseneck or fifth-wheel towing hitch already installed. 


You could buy a truck with every feature imaginable but if that truck isn’t reliable, none of those features will do you any good. Sticking to models that have a proven track record of reliability is key when looking for the best used truck.   

Certain engines like Toyota’s 4.7L V8 and Ford’s 7.3L Power Stroke have a reputation for their dependability, often having the ability to reach the 300,000- and 500,000-mile marks, respectively.

Fuel efficiency:  

Everyone wants fuel efficiency, but if your job sites are especially far away, or you drive your truck every day as opposed to just weekend use, you’ll want to pay more attention to MPG ratings.  Some of the larger trucks featured in this article may average around 12 or 15 mpg, and those models probably wouldn’t be a good choice for someone who needs a fuel-efficient truck.  Smaller trucks, like the Ford Ranger or Toyota Tacoma, are about twice as efficient on fuel and would be better choices for the fuel-conscious buyer who doesn’t have large towing or payload needs. 


Some drivers want the latest and greatest technology such as backup cameras, blind spot indicators and GPS maps. If you don’t mind having the latest technology, an older truck in great condition can save you money.  

Keep in mind, some of these features have only been available in the last several years, so if new technology is important to you, be prepared to spend more.   

Off-Road Capability: 

Trucks are great workhorses, but they are also fun vehicles to drive. If you love to explore rugged terrain or any off-road terrain, you’ll likely want a truck that has superior suspension that is resistant to those types of terrain. 

If that’s you, consider buying a used truck with 4x4 (four-wheel drive) Like the Toyota Tundra or the Chevrolet Colorado.   


Cost is considered the most important factor. Used trucks are going to be cheaper than new trucks but certain models are more expensive than others.  

Like classic cars, certain older trucks can still be very cost-prohibitive, despite their age.  Before you set out to find the best used truck, be realistic about your budget and remember that it’s okay to walk away from a truck that’s too expensive. 


Looking for an affordable used pickup truck? Check out these popular used pickup truck models! 

a man in a blue shirt tests his trucks battery with a yellow device

Best Used Trucks 
When buying a used truck, be sure to check your area for the trucks listed below. According to our research, these older truck models were considered the most reliable and can be purchased on the market for a fair price, often between $10,000 and $15,000. These trucks are large enough to handle most jobs and are built to last for years.

Toyota Tundra (First generation, 2000-2006) 

The first-generation Toyota Tundra was offered in three different cab styles with an option for short or long beds. Considered as having one of the most reliable engines of its time, this 4.7 L V8 engine offers 245 hp, and a robust 315 lb.-ft of torque.   

If the former owner has changed the timing belt and water pump at recommended intervals, this truck could have good value and the possibility of driving further than 300,000 miles.

Ford F-150 (Seventh generation, 2009-2014) 

The seventh generation Ford F-150, in model years 2009-2014 is another great workhorse classic pickup truck.  

The Ford F-150 is one the most, if not the most, popular trucks in the United States for good reason and chances are, the F-150 comes in a cabin/powertrain configuration that suits your needs. F-150s are a popular choice with government agencies and small businesses alike, and these trucks often can be found on the market for a discount. 

Chevy Silverado 1500 (Third generation, 2007-2013) 

Available in both V6 and V8 engines, the third-generation Chevy Silverado 1500 is a great overall choice for an affordable used pickup truck with plenty of room for equipment and crew.  

Although these trucks can be more expensive than the other trucks on this list, Chevy is reportedly known for producing quality trucks that can last decades when properly maintained. 

Best Small Used Trucks  

Before you go out and buy a large, expensive truck, remember the size of your truck isn’t everything. Small pickup trucks are very efficient vehicles and can still accomplish a lot both for work and in your personal life.   

Think about how you will be using the truck and be realistic about the size of the truck you need. What’s the largest load you will need to tow regularly? What’s the largest load you will ever need to tow? How many people will you need to carry around? Is the higher payload capacity and cabin room of a larger truck worth the sacrifice in fuel efficiency? These are the types of questions to think about when trying to figure out what used truck is best for you.  

If you think that a small truck is right for your needs, here are a few models to consider: 

Toyota Tacoma (First generation, 1995-2004) 
The first-generation Toyota Tacomas have been reportedly proven to be one of the most reliable, fuel-efficient small trucks of all time. These trucks have often been seen to hit the 300,000-mile mark with minimal maintenance, just remember to change the oil regularly!   

Although Toyota made this truck in a V6, the fuel-efficient four-cylinder motors are a great option if you don’t have a robust payload or towing needs. 

Nissan Frontier (2005-2021) 

The Nissan Frontier is a popular choice for a dependable used truck with great suspension and a spacious crew cab. There is also the option for a 4.0 L V-6 284 horsepower engine with a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.  

Frontiers are a great choice for drivers that want a smaller truck with good off-road capabilities and a relatively roomy cabin. 

Ford Ranger (Third generation, 1998-2011) 
The Ford Ranger was the best-selling small pickup in the United States from 1987 to 2004 and has remained popular to this day.  

The Ranger has several different cabin configurations with a seating capacity for up to five, optional four-wheel drive, and the ability to haul up to 6,000 lbs. using a 4.0 L V6 engine. 

Best Used Diesel Trucks

  a black truck towing a white rv drives through the desert scenery during the sunset

Don’t overlook diesel trucks during your vehicle search. In addition to relatively good fuel efficiency, diesel pickup trucks have more torque for hauling heavy loads and long engine life.  

Here are some models to consider: 
7.3L Power Stroke, Ford F-250 and F-350 (1994-2003) 

This classic diesel truck is a great option for anyone who needs to haul or tow heavy payloads. The 7.3 L is revered for its torque and towing capabilities due to its 444 in3, turbodiesel Power Stroke engine.  

If you’re looking for a reliable diesel truck, the 7.3 L F-250 and F-350 are great trucks to consider.   

6.6L Duramax, Chevy/GMC 2500HD and 3500HD (2001-2007) 

The 2001-2007 6.6 L Duramax in three-quarter-ton (2500HD) and full-ton (3500HD), manufactured by General Motors, are also reportedly known for being reliable, often observed to have the capability to surpass 300,000 miles on the original powertrain. 

5.9L Cummins, Dodge 2500 and 3500 (1994-1998) 

The 1994-1998 5.9 L Cummins has been a popular choice among used diesel trucks due to their reputation for engineering, cabin comfort and towing capabilities.  

Depending on what state you live in, the pre-smog years (1994-1997) can be quite expensive and may not represent a good value for anyone outside of the modified diesel community.  


Now you’re ready to buy a used pickup truck! 

a man in a blue button down shirt takes car keys from a car salesman through the open window of his new truck

If you’ve found a truck that you’re excited about, meets your needs, and is within your price range, there are a few more things you need to do.  

Start by asking the seller questions that offer insight into the truck’s value:  

  • Was the truck driven hard with heavy loads that tax the transmission?  
  • Does it look well-cared for with paperwork that has documentation of regular maintenance, oil changes, etc.?  
  • Has the truck been in any accidents?  
  • Has the truck been impacted by any manufacturer recalls?   

Although the seller’s answers are important, always get a Carfax (or similar report) to verify their claims. On a Carfax report, be sure to look at the accident history, lean status and ownership history, among other factors. It's usually best to avoid salvage-title trucks, trucks that have had many different owners, and trucks that have frequent unscheduled maintenance issues. 

In addition to the Carfax report, it’s recommended to take the used truck to a mechanic shop and have it inspected by a trustworthy, knowledgeable mechanic. This inspection may be costly but it’s worth having the truck inspected by a professional.  

In a worst-case scenario, you don’t want to buy a truck and immediately find out that it needs a few thousand dollars of repairs that you haven’t budgeted for originally. Any seller who stands by their statements regarding the truck should be willing to consent to a mechanic inspection. 

Assuming the Carfax report and inspection check out, and both parties agreed on a price, then congratulations—you have found the best used truck for your needs!   

After purchasing the truck, don’t forget to purchase auto insurance as soon as possible since it is required by law and can give you peace of mind in the event of an accident.  

If you will be using your truck for a small business or other commercial purposes, contact one of our agents today to learn about your commercial auto insurance options! 

Get a quote now. Call 1-800-INFINITY today!

This material is for general informational purposes only.   The content is provided on an “as is,” and “as available” basis without representation or warranty of any kind whatsoever.  



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