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What are the Most Reliable Used Pickup Trucks?

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Your needs and lifestyle are important considerations when choosing a vehicle. If you plan on using your vehicle for hauling, towing, or carrying heavy loads of cargo, then you may be right to consider getting a used pickup truck. 

Since most pickup trucks are used as work vehicles, it’s important to make sure that the make and model you are planning to buy has good reliability ratings. After all, buying a used vehicle that keeps breaking down may end up costing you more than if you had just bought a new model.

5 Most Reliable Used Pickup Trucks 

As mentioned, reliability is essential when buying a used vehicle. Given the number of options available for you to choose from, we’ve come up with a list of the most reliable trucks to help narrow it down for you. 

Here are our recommendations: 

Toyota Tundra

If you’re looking for a tough truck with a touch of elegance, then the Toyota Tundra may be the best choice for you. The Tundra has been a consistent chart-topper in Consumer Reports’ reliability ratings for eight straight years, making it a good choice if you’re looking for a used pickup truck. 

2019 Toyota Tundra on the road
The Toyota Tundra has not undergone a significant redesign since 2007, so you can get almost any model-year of this vehicle and be assured of its reliability. | Source: Toyota

Aside from the Tundra’s outstanding reliability ratings, this Texas-built Toyota model also takes pride in its powerful v6 and v8 engines, as well as its impressive towing capacity. 

To complement these practical advantages, the truck also has a comfortable and roomy cabin.

The Tundra has not undergone a significant redesign since 2007, so you can get almost any model-year of this vehicle and be assured of its reliability.

Honda Ridgeline 

Honda has long been known for its dependable and reliable cars. But the Honda Ridgeline is proof that the automaker can also stand out in the pickup truck market. 

Honda Ridgline on display
The Honda Ridgeline boasts a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds (in some configurations) .

The Ridgeline is Honda’s first North American truck and since its release, it has quickly gained popularity and a loyal following in the automotive market. With above-average reliability ratings, this compact truck is surely one of the gems you would want to find on the used pickup market. 

This compact truck also boasts a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds (in some configurations). So, if you need a workhorse for towing and hauling, you might consider getting a Honda Ridgeline to fit your needs. 

Toyota Tacoma

In a discussion about the most reliable used truck, who could forget the Toyota Tacoma? Its 2001 model, in particular, landed the number one spot in Kelley Blue Book’s 10 Best Used Trucks Under $5,000 for the year 2019. 

Toyota Tacoma in parking lot
The Toyota Tacoma’s easy-to-maneuver size also makes this pickup truck stand out among similar vehicles.

Considered to be one of the best-selling trucks in its segment, the Tacoma has won the hearts of pickup truck owners everywhere because of its reliability and off-road capability. 

Its easy-to-maneuver size also makes this pickup truck stand out among similar vehicles. 

Nissan Frontier

If you’re looking for a used pickup truck for reliable transportation, the Nissan Frontier might just be the one you’re looking for. Its 2004 model in particular, also landed a spot on Kelley Blue Book’s list last year. 

Nissan Frontier parked outside
If you’re looking for a used pickup truck for reliable transportation, the Nissan Frontier might just be the one you’re looking for.

With its impressive tow ratings, this model is a safe bet for hauling heavy loads. 

It’s worth noting, however, that some variants have experienced body integrity issues. 

Nissan Titan

If you’re looking for a used pickup for light towing and daily driving, we recommend the Nissan Titan. Aside from its towing capacity, this model is also known for its smooth and comfortable driving experience. 

However, be extra cautious when buying a used Nissan Titan because some model years, like the 2004 Nissan Titan, are said to be more prone to drivetrain and rear differential problems.

 But other than that, the Nissan Titan is a perfect choice for a used pickup truck.  

2008 Nissan Titan parked outside
Aside from its towing capacity, the Nissan Titan is also known for its smooth and comfortable driving experience. 

Things to Consider When Looking for a Used Pickup Truck

Aside from ensuring that the make and model you are buying is reliable, there are still many other things to consider when choosing a used pickup truck. You have to consider that these are used vehicles, and some of them may not be road-worthy anymore. 

If you’re planning on buying one, it is important to be meticulous and do your research⁠—as well as a thorough inspection⁠—before deciding on anything. 

Here are some of the things you should consider when buying a used pickup truck: 

Preference 

 The first thing you should ask yourself is this: What type of pickup truck do you really want and what will you use it for? For example, if you’re an off-roader, then make sure that the truck you purchase is good for off-roading. If you’re planning on doing a lot of towing, check the towing capacity of the models you are considering before making a decision.

Model Recall Issues

It’s almost always a good idea to do a background check on anything you are planning to buy—including your pickup truck. Before deciding on a make and model, make sure to read up on it and find out whether it has model recall issues. 

A quick way to determine if your car has recall issues is to check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) database. 

Modern pickup trucks in parking lot
Before deciding on a make and model, make sure to read up and find out whether it has recall issues. 

Mileage

Mileage says a lot of things about a vehicle. Generally, a vehicle that has accumulated more miles is more prone to wear and tear. However, keep in mind that mileage is just one indicator of a pickup truck’s overall condition. 

To ensure the condition of the truck you are buying, have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic. 

Engine Oil Levels & Overall Condition

Aside from mileage, engine oil levels can also give you an idea of the overall condition of the pickup truck you want to buy. The color and consistency of the engine oil can say so much about how well the truck was maintained. 

If you can, ask for oil change records to check if it conforms to the manufacturers’ recommendation. 

Also, check for body damage, tire tread, and other factors that can tell you more about the overall condition of the vehicle. As mentioned, enlist the help of an automotive professional to ensure a thorough inspection.

Maintenance & Repair Costs 

Some vehicles are more expensive to maintain than others. Do some research on the trucks you are considering to find out which ones typically entail fewer (and cheaper) repairs.

Lastly, before deciding on a pickup truck to buy, make sure to check consumer complaints on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website. Also, if you’re not knowledgeable about cars, it’s best to get a pre-purchase inspection performed by a professional.

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In the Garage with CarParts.com is an online blog dedicated to bringing DIYers and devoted car enthusiasts up to date with topical automotive news and lifestyle content. Our writers live and breathe automotive, taking the guess work out of car repairs with how-to content that helps owners get back on the road and keep driving.

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