A comprehensive guide to buying a pickup truck

A pickup truck is more than just another vehicle; it is a lifestyle choice that reflects a sense of fearlessness, adventure, and resilience. People who buy pickup trucks tend to use them for many years, if not decades, due to the enduring nature of these vehicles. This is why one must know what they need from their truck when they look to buy one. Here are certain factors to consider while purchasing a pickup truck:

2WD or 4WD?
A 4-wheel drive is generally considered to be the better option for heavy-duty utility vehicles like pickup trucks. Pickup trucks with power going to all the wheels tend to ride and balance with much more ease on tricky terrains like rocky roads or marshlands.

On the other hand, all-wheel drive vehicles are much pricier than their 2-wheel drive counterparts. 2-wheel drive pickup trucks perform competently on most road surfaces, which makes them a practical and reasonable choice from a price perspective. Essentially, choosing between the two comes down to certain factors: the buyer’s driving habits, the roads on which the vehicle will be driven, climate conditions, budget constraints, and similar other factors.

Mid-size or full-size?
Pickup trucks are inherently massive. Nevertheless, one needs to know how big their pickup truck needs to be before putting their hard-earned money down on one. Vehicle owners who do not haul heavy loads regularly can be more than happy with a mid-size truck, an intimidating road monster that provides good ground clearance, good fuel efficiency, and seating space for family members.

Full-size trucks are for much, much bigger operations. For instance, if one needs to tow boats or campers on a regular basis, then a large beast of a vehicle with an extremely powerful engine fits the bill perfectly for them. Ultimately, the utility of a pickup truck dictates its size, so buyers should consider this aspect carefully before buying one from a dealership.

Manual or automatic transmission?
Most drivers across the country are used to driving automatic transmission vehicles. However, stick-shift has its own positives. Fuel efficiency, for one, is much higher in a manual vehicle than an automatic one. Then again, an automatic gear shifter can come in handy if buyers use their pickup trucks in places where the traffic is busy and slow-moving. In such settings, manually shifting gears every few seconds can get tiresome.

Another key factor is vehicle price: automatic ones are more expensive to buy and run than manual ones. So, buyers can consider all these aspects before choosing what kind of transmission they want in their brand-new pickup truck.

Cab and bed size
Cabin space matters, especially when it comes to a pickup truck or an SUV. Truck cabs come in multiple types and sizes. For instance, some truck cabs have two doors and no rear seat, others come with two or four doors with a back seat, while certain customized ones can be ordered with four doors and a large, spacious back seat that easily seats 3 adults.

On the other hand, pickup beds come in multiple sizes too. One can choose between short (around 5 feet), regular (around 6.5 feet), and long (around 8 feet) when it comes to beds. The bigger the bed and the more doors it has, the pricier a pickup truck will be.

Hauling and towing capacity
This is arguably the most critical aspect of a pickup truck for a vast majority of buyers across the country. Essentially, poor hauling and towing capacity can be a serious dealbreaker when it comes to pickup trucks. While all trucks can carry heavy loads around with ease, buyers can choose between light- and heavy-duty trucks. While the light-duty ones can haul a payload of 2,890 pounds and tow about 13,200 pounds on average, heavy-duty ones jack up those numbers to around 3,880 pounds and 18,000 pounds, respectively.

A proven trick to choose wisely is to purchase a pickup truck capable of around 10% more power and capacity than what a buyer needs.

Power, engine size, and mileage
Massive payloads need massive power to be hauled around, and pickup trucks normally come with large V6, V8, or V10 engines to propel the behemoths forward quickly. While buying a truck, buyers need to prioritize either efficiency or power. As implied earlier, mid-size, light-duty trucks can do with smaller engines that will be cheaper to fuel, run, and maintain over the long haul.

For large commercial businesses, large trucks with huge engines will be needed. While these vehicles will have lower mileage, that is a compromise they need to take into account in exchange for the towing capacity of the vehicles.

Cabin space and accessibility
Depending on the buyer’s family size, they will need to buy mid-size or large vehicles. If they have to carry many people around, then buying a large vehicle makes sense. Otherwise, a smaller pickup truck fits the bill just right, and, needless to say, will be cheaper to buy and run on a regular basis.

Safety features
Buyers should only purchase pickup trucks that have an extensive list of safety features and equipment. So, the pickup truck they buy needs to have features like airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), and Hill Descent Control (HDC) systems at the very least to keep the vehicle’s occupants safe at all times.

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