Updated for 2021!
You’ve made the right decision to buy your next truck used. You are going to get the trim level and additional features you want at a price you can afford while avoiding the initial depreciation hit new car buyers experience.
Now you need to make sure you are making a smart investment that will last and won’t end up costing you more money down the road. Choosing a certified pre-owned truck versus a used truck and checking a truck’s history are definitely important, but it is also beneficial to know which trucks are known for their reliability so you know where to start.
Introducing the most reliable used trucks in America:
The Dodge Ram 1500 was named “Most Improved” in a JD Power dependability study in 2013. The Ram 1500’s dependability ranking increased by 30 percent compared to the industry average of 5 percent—making Ram Truck the most improved overall brand for the 2013 model year.
The Dodge Ram 1500 underwent many changes in 2013. A redesigned front fascia with projector beam headlights, updated infotainment systems, and new engine and transmission offerings helped transform the Ram 1500 into one of the hottest and most desirable full-size trucks in the industry.
The maligned and underpowered 215-hp 3.7L V6 was scrapped for the new model year and Chrysler’s corporate 305-hp Pentastar 3.6L V6 took its place. Coupled to the Ram 1500’s new ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, a Pentastar powered Ram 1500 achieved best-in-class fuel efficiency. For those seeking more power and increased towing capabilities, a 395-hp 5.7L Hemi V8 is also available. These improvements enabled the 2013 Ram 1500 to earn the coveted “Motor Trend Truck of the Year” award.
The second generation Toyota Tundra debuted in 2007. Thirteen years later, the Tundra platform remains largely unchanged as the model has yet to undergo an extensive overhaul. There’s an old saying “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” and that certainly appears to be the motto Toyota engineers are living by.
The 2008 Motor Trend Truck of the Year recognition was the first of many awards the Tundra would go on to win. Among full-size pickups, the Tundra was also named the top J.D. Power Dependability award winner from 2007 to 2012.
With its close resemblance to the 2020 model, another benefit of buying a Tundra second-hand is driving a 10-year-old truck with exterior styling that doesn’t look outdated or out of style. And if you need any more incentive, Toyota builds the Tundra at a plant in San Antonio—making the Tundra the only full-size pickup manufactured in Texas.
The Ford F-150 is known for its reliability and toughness and has been the best-selling truck in the United States for over 40 years. The 2015 F-150 underwent a revolutionary redesign in 2015 that set a new benchmark in the industry.
Nearly all of the truck’s heavy exterior steel body panels were replaced with lighter aluminum components. This resulted in a dramatic 700-lb. weight loss, greatly increasing the F-150’s performance and fuel-efficiency due to its lighter curb weight.
The 2015 model year also saw the addition of a new fuel-efficient and powerful 2.7L EcoBoost V6 to the F-150 lineup. This new powertrain bridged the gap between the naturally aspirated 3.5L V6 base engine and the range-topping 3.5L EcoBoost V6 and 5.0L V8 options.
These changes made the F-150 the top Consumer Rated Truck for 2015 from JD Power with an overall score of 87 out of 100—earning great marks in quality and reliability and the best overall driving experience and resale value rating.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has a long history of high reliability ratings thanks in large part to its robust and powerful V8 engines. The second generation Silverado 1500 built from 2007 to 2014 featured a stable of GM small-block V8 powertrains that include a 295-hp 4.8L V8, 315-hp 5.3L V8, 367-hp 6.0L V8, and range topping 403-hp 6.2L V8.
Unlike competitors’ engines that utilize multiple turbochargers and dual overhead-camshaft design, the Silverado’s no-frills pushrod V8 engine is dramatically less complicated. The Silverado’s engine has less major components that can eventually fail under the hood, and its simplistic design and easy layout means cheaper repair bills should any problems arise.
The Silverado 1500’s impressive reliability, towing capabilities and instant power on demand resulted in it being named the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award in 2007.
If you weren’t able to squeeze at least 200,000 miles out of your last Toyota Tacoma, it was probably due to lack of proper maintenance and upkeep. A quarter-million miles is the standard for any Tacoma owner, which has a long history of being the most reliable midsize truck in its segment.
The second generation Tacoma built from 2005 to 2015 was larger and more powerful than its predecessor. It is offered in regular cab, extended cab, and four-door configurations with multiple automatic and manual transmission options available. The powertrain you want is undoubtedly Toyota’s 4.0L V6. It’s a little light on power with only 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, but its reliability and fuel efficiency ratings can’t be beat.
The Tacoma received the Highest Dependability Rating from JD Power in 2011 among midsize trucks. This award measures the reliability based on the responses from more than 80,000 verified owners of three-year old vehicles annually.
GMC Sierra 1500
Like the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 that it shares its basic architecture and powertrains with, the GMC Sierra 1500 is among the most reliable and powerful full-size trucks in its class.
While both are excellent choices to purchase used, it’s worth noting that despite their similarities the Sierra usually outclasses the Silverado in terms of luxury and appointments—especially in Denali trim.
Among full-size competitors, the GMC Sierra 1500 earned the top overall rating for quality and reliability each of the past four years. These results measure reliability during the first three years of ownership, which means the 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 has earned the highest score in the segment every year since the fourth-generation model debuted in 2014.
That’s quite the feat. Now who was it that argued the V8 engine should become obsolete again?
While the Honda Ridgeline doesn’t share the same aggressive and rugged styling attributes as its competitors, that doesn’t make it any less reliable. In fact, the Ridgeline has arguably proven itself to be the most reliable midsize trucks in the industry since its inception in 2006.
The Ridgeline differs from other midsize truck offerings with its unique unibody construction and transverse mounted engine. This leads to diminished towing and off-roading capabilities, but it also comes with its share of advantages too.
The Ridgeline’s aerodynamic profile and car-like driving dynamics lend itself to superb handling, a smooth ride and excellent fuel efficiency. Other features that stand out on the Ridgeline are its spacious cabin, under seat storage, two-way tailgate and locking storage bin under the bed of the truck.
The practical Honda Ridgeline received JD Power’s Highest Dependability Rating for midsize trucks in 2014, 2015, and 2017.
With a variety of makes and models to choose from, you can find a reliable used truck that is right for you at Patterson Truck Stop in Longview. Make a smart investment that will last by buying a used truck with a history of being reliable.
We have used trucks of every kind for sale at Patterson Truck Stop. Shop online or visit us in Longview for a test drive today!