why are used trucks so expensive

If you’ve been in the market for a used truck lately, you may have experienced sticker shock at the high prices being asked. It’s a common lament among truck buyers – “These used trucks cost nearly as much as a new one!” But what’s behind the inflated prices on the pre-owned truck market? Let’s explore some of the key factors.

Supply and Demand Dynamics

At its core, the pricing of any vehicle comes down to supply and demand economics. And in the case of used trucks, demand continues to significantly outpace supply. The appetite for trucks, both new and used, has been steadily rising over the past decade as businesses need them for commercial purposes and consumers want the utility and capability they provide. At the same time, supply has been constrained by disruptions in production due to the pandemic, semiconductor chip shortages, and other supply chain issues impacting new truck output. With fewer new trucks being produced, the used truck supply took a hit as a result.

Durability and Longevity

Trucks are simply built to last longer than standard passenger vehicles. Their body-on-frame construction, heavy-duty components, and over-engineered drivetrains allow them to rack up higher mileage before major repairs are needed. As a result, used trucks with 100,000+ miles can still fetch premium prices if their overall condition is good. The reputation of truck brands like Ford, Ram, Chevy, GMC, and Toyota for durability allows dealers and private sellers to ask top dollar.

High Transaction Prices on New Trucks

The average transaction price on a new full-size pickup now exceeds $55,000. With buyers paying such hefty sums for the latest trucks, it elevates the ceiling on used truck prices as well. After all, if a lightly used 2-3 year old truck can provide 80% of the capability at 60% of the cost of a new one, it becomes an attractive proposition for value-conscious buyers.

Added Features and Luxury

It’s not just the core truck capabilities that are driving up used prices. Over the past decade, truck makers have been loading their vehicles with the latest tech, safety, and luxury features typically associated with premium cars and SUVs. From leather-trimmed interiors to heated/cooled seats, premium audio systems, driver assistance features, and the latest infotainment – today’s used trucks deliver a much more well-appointed experience than their spartan predecessors. And buyers are willing to pay for that luxury.

Reconditioning and Certification Costs

For used trucks obtained through franchised dealerships, there are additional costs tied to valuation, inspection, reconditioning, and possible certification. Trucks need to be thoroughly checked over, repaired, and brought up to high standards before being marketed as “certified pre-owned” (CPO) vehicles. The dealer’s costs get baked into the asking price. While this adds value for buyers, it also drives up the bottom line.

The Bottom Line

While the high prices of used trucks can sting one’s wallet, the factors outlined above help explain the current market dynamics. As long as demand remains strong and truck makers focus on creating durable, tech-loaded, and luxury-oriented products, used truck buyers may need to continue bracing themselves for hefty price tags.

5 Best Trucks To Consider Buying Used:

Doing thorough research, being patient, and considering a certified pre-owned offering from a reputable dealer can help maximize value when purchasing a previously-owned truck.

Ford F-150

Ford F-150

The F-150 is the best-selling truck in America for good reason. Ford’s full-size pickup offers a wide range of capable engines, configurations, and trim levels to suit different needs and budgets. Because of their strong residual values and reputation for reliability, lightly used F-150s can be an excellent value proposition.

Toyota Tundra

Toyota Tundra

When it comes to bulletproof reliability and longevity, Toyota’s full-size Tundra is hard to beat in the used market. Tundras are renowned for their ability to rack up incredibly high mileage when maintained properly. Finding a low-mileage used Tundra in good shape is like striking gold.

Ram 1500

Ram 1500

Ram has made huge strides with its 1500 lineup, offering refined interiors, smooth rides, and strong powertrain options. A certified pre-owned Ram can provide significant savings over a new model while still delivering many of the latest features and capabilities. The EcoDiesel engine is a great option for towing.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Chevy’s Silverado 1500 matches up well against other leading full-size trucks. Used models offer a blend of performance, utility, and value – especially if you can find a nicely equipped LTZ or High Country trim. The 5.3L V8 has proven to be a stout and reliable engine.

GMC Sierra 1500

GMC Sierra 1500

As the upscale cousin to the Silverado, the GMC Sierra provides a more premium look and feel in a highly capable package. Used Sierra 1500 models can be a great way to get into a well-appointed yet sturdy truck at a discounted price point compared to buying new.

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No matter which used truck you target, be sure to get a comprehensive vehicle history report, have it thoroughly inspected by a trusted mechanic, and negotiate based on its specific condition and mileage. With some diligence, buying a nice used truck can save you thousands over new.

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