The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide: What To Consider Before Purchasing Your Next Truck

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Did you know that there are more than 160 million registered trucks in the United States as of 2021? These are a combination of commercial, public, and private trucks nationwide. Trucks are multi-purpose vehicles that are practical for anyone hauling bulky items and traveling to different places day in and day out. Quantitatively speaking, these vehicles play a massive part in transporting people, goods, and services.

Trucks are known for their jack-of-all-trades function when it comes to durability, flexibility, and capability. If you’re all in on these traits, purchasing a truck is the right track for you. Buckle up as this guide will help you know what to consider before you buy your next vehicle.

Truck buying 101

Basically, a truck is a vehicle with a cargo area or bed at the rear, designed for transporting and hauling loads. In contrast to cars and most contemporary sport utility vehicles (SUVs) that utilize a unibody construction where the body and frame are integrated, trucks typically feature a body-on-frame design that involves the passenger cabin being mounted on a separate frame. This provides enhanced resistance to twisting forces when towing or carrying heavy loads.

While the truck itself is the primary focus, parts and accessories can enhance its functionality. Shops like Tacomabeast offer bed liners, tonneau covers, toolboxes, and cargo management systems, among others, to protect your truck’s bed and optimize storage space. Off-road enthusiasts may want to explore options like lift kits, skid plates, and all-terrain tires to tackle rugged terrain.

Purpose and intended use

Whether you’re a seasoned trucker or a first-time buyer, knowing the purpose of buying a truck is essential. Understanding your intended use will help narrow your options and ensure you invest in a truck that meets your needs.

For instance, are you seeking a ride for off-road adventures or are you looking for a truck that’ll help you in towing? Different truck models are designed with specific capabilities in mind, so it’s crucial to align your needs with the appropriate vehicle.

Payload capacity

Statistics reveal that roughly four out of five truck-related accidents are caused by overloading. Not only that, but going beyond what the truck is able to carry has consequences when it comes to damaging infrastructures. Examples are the increase in bridge fatigue damage and worn-out road pavement. This practice is usually tolerated because drivers don’t know their trucks’ payload capacity.

Understanding payload capacity could spell life and death for truck drivers and the people around them. It refers to the maximum weight a vehicle can travel around safely, passengers and cargo combined. It represents the total load-carrying ability of a vehicle when loaded to its legal limit in addition to its empty weight.

Here’s an overview of payload capacity that trucks have:

  • Light duty. Payloads range from 1,000-4,000 lbs for smaller pickups to around 7,000 lbs for heavy-duty pickups.
  • Medium duty. Payloads range from 10,000-16,000 lbs capacity.
  • Heavy duty. Payloads over 20,000 lbs fall in this category, with the largest semi-trucks able to legally haul around 80,000 lbs combined truck/trailer weight.

Going beyond the suggested payload limit can harm how quickly you can accelerate, brake, and handle your vehicle. It also increases the chance of mechanical problems, making it harder to control the vehicle safely. All of these potentially lead you to precarious situations.

Fuel efficiency

How the engine converts fuel to energy is what fuel efficiency is all about. It also reflects the mileage a car can travel given a specific gallon of fuel. Nevertheless, note that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a truck’s performance in this area. 

Fuel efficiency can be influenced by its size. The larger the truck, the more fuel it consumes. On the flip side, the smaller the truck, the less fuel it needs. The pathway that the truck is traversing also plays a role as it needs to exert more energy if the terrain is rough, and vice versa.

Technological innovations among newly developed trucks introduce more fuel-efficient models. Hybrid trucks and engines with cylinder deactivation mechanisms strike the balance between fuel economy and power. Additionally, aerodynamics and tire size can impact fuel efficiency, so research mileage ratings across different models and compare.

Safety features 

Professional middle aged truck driver in casual clothes driving truck vehicle going for a long transportation route.

Safety should be a top priority when selecting your truck. It’s a reality that vehicles with larger build can pose a higher risk when traveling. This is because it takes more effort to handle or maneuver, and there are blind spots that drivers can’t manipulate. Just the slightest miscalculation can prove to be fatal. 

Safety features are paramount to prevent accidents and preserve lives. They also keep the people and things in the truck secure. Here are some features to look for when buying a truck:

  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS). This is designed to enhance vehicle control when you brake, making the transition smoother and preventing wheel lockup. By ensuring the wheels maintain rotational movement, it enables drivers to retain steering capabilities.
  • Collision avoidance system (CAS). It scans the truck’s surroundings for other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles that may lie in its path. It identifies a potential collision threat and promptly warns the driver of possible dangers.
  • Blind spot detection. This system continuously monitors areas around the truck that may be obscured from the driver’s direct line of sight. Should it detect the presence of another vehicle occupying these blind zones, it notifies the driver to proceed with caution until the surrounding area is clear and safe.

Features like these can significantly improve your driving experience and provide peace of mind on the road. Also, incorporate security accessories and pay attention to sturdy frame construction, electronic stability control, and advanced airbag systems as these can be lifesavers in the event of an accident. There’s a safety feature for every circumstance, so don’t skimp on this aspect.

Conclusion

Buying a new truck is an essential investment because it’ll be one of your transportation means for the years to come. Careful consideration is needed because you want to maximize the value of your purchase. You also want to ensure that your checklist of factors will be met with the truck of your choice. So, explore all your options and settle for that one vehicle that resonates with your needs the most. Let this article be your co-pilot on the road to finding the perfect vehicle.