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What to Know Before Buying Your First Pickup Truck

Today’s pickups can offer just as much comfort and convenience as cars, with the added capability of transporting a lot more cargo. Even better, they come in a wide variety of sizes and configurations, so tailoring one to your needs is absolutely doable. On the other hand, this also makes buying a truck more complicated than buying a car.

With that in mind, here’s what to know before you buy your first pickup truck.

How You Plan to Use It

This should be your first concern, as it can either help you get all the capacity and capability you need, orsaddle you with a truck incapable of meeting them. Thus, it’s important to take stock of why you want the truck and what that truck will need to do to justify its existence in your life.

A truck you buy for towing will need to be more powerful than one you buy for hauling the occasional load to the dump. Similarly, a truck you buy with no intention of ever leaving paved surfaces can get by without adding the costly option of four-wheel drive.

How to Speak the Language

You’re going to encounter all sorts of terms when you’re discussingpickup trucks that never come into play with cars. You’ll need to understand cab sizes, bed sizes, axle ratios, payload capacity and more. The good news is we’ve found a pretty comprehensive glossary of terms for you to follow. Do yourself a favor and become familiar with it before you talk to salespeople.

Trucks Cost More

The next time you’re sitting at a traffic signal in your spiffy little car and are tempted to look down your nose at the pickup driver in the next lane, bear in mind it’s very possible they paid more to be there than you did. While you might take a look at a truck and see a partially enclosed vehicle and figure it should cost less than a fully enclosed car, you’ll be mistaken. On the other hand, there are always some good offers like these Ram dealsout there of which you can take advantage. Still,on the whole, you should expect a mainstream truck to cost more than a mainstream car.

You’ll Encounter Special Fees

Most states require trucks to be licensed as commercial vehicles. That’s why their license plates look different. As such, a weight fee is assessed when the truck is registered. And, you guessed it; owners of heavier trucks pay larger fees. So, while you might be coveting a ¾-ton dually (consult the glossary), keep in mind you’ll pay more to put that big sucker on the road. While that might not be a problemfor you in the final analysis; it is something to keep in mind when you’re going in.

Buying a Truck Takes More Time

Getting back to that wide range of configurations we discussed, you’re going to have to choose between different cab sizes, bed lengths, engine sizes and types (some use diesel fuel), rear axle ratios and many other options. Therefore, the transaction will go a lot more smoothly and economically if you do your homework to get a solid grasp on the things you need to know before buying your first pickup truck. So, just as you would if you were buying a car, take your time and research the category. It is critically important to know what you need and what it should cost before you set one foot onto a dealer’s lot.

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