Buying a Pre-Owned F-150 – Tips, Tricks, and What to Expect
So, you’re looking for a dependable used truck. Maybe you’re on the hunt for a daily driver that doubles as an off-roader on your weekends. Or, perhaps you’re looking for a reliable plow truck that will get you through those hard Leavenworth winters. The Ford F-150 is the perfect vehicle for these tasks – and luckily, since it has been America’s best-selling truck for over 42 years, it’s easier than ever to find affordable, used Ford F-150 trucks.
The downside of buying used or pre-owned vehicles is searching for the vehicle in the first place. It can be hard to navigate the many different secondhand sales apps out there because you have to do all of the vehicle inspection and financing yourself. But the process shouldn’t let F-150 searchers down. By following these handy tricks, as well as considering buying from your local Ford dealership, you should have no problem finding the right used F-150 for you.
Tips, Tricks, & What to Expect
1) Look for a truck that hasn’t been modified.
Buying a modified truck can be tempting. After all, you’re on the hunt for the F-150 for a particular reason, why wouldn’t you want to get one that could do everything you wanted? But private owner-modified trucks can get expensive – you’ve probably even seen some with prices that made your eyes bulge out of your head.
Private sellers tend to needlessly mark up their used, modified trucks because they are looking to make back the money they spent on mods. A small truck lift kit can cost between $1000 to $12,000, and larger truck lift kits can cost even more. This also doesn’t take into account those who modify their trucks with paint jobs, light sets, and more. Often, you don’t need these things (even though you might think you do), so you’ll end up spending close to the amount of a new car on some F-150 modifications.
On top of this, modified cars have likely been driven more – so you will get less of your own mileage out of it, in the end.
2) Only make an offer on a used car after you’ve test-driven it.
It seems self-explanatory, but your gut feeling is usually a good indicator of whether or not a truck is worth the money it’s being sold for. Don’t take the secondhand seller at their word, even if they are a dealer. Always test-drive your car to understand how it handles, notice if there is anything that seems off about it, or just to ensure that you like it. Just because a car sounds excellent (and we promise, the Ford F-150 is) doesn’t mean that you will like it. The only thing that will determine that is getting behind the wheel and giving it a test drive.
3) Do a little research on the different generations before deciding what type of Ford F-150 you want.
Like the trim and the model of a car, each generation of the Ford F-150 has a different feel, different capability, and different look. Not all are the same, and it might be that you prefer the look of the old generations to the new ones. Visit Wikipedia or the main Ford site to get an idea of what each generation was capable of and what it looked like. This should help you get your search started!
4) Research the trim type for newer models.
The trim is also a big deal – it doesn’t just determine the way your Ford F-150 looks, but it will also determine its price, capabilities, and feel.
- F-150 XL: This is your base model, and it is excellent for small hauling and work capabilities, as well as basic off-roading.
- F-150 XLT: Want the dependability of the XL with a little bit more of the tech available in the later models? The XLT is the next best thing to the base model, as it has more of the assistive tech so many Ford Drivers love.
- F-150 Lariat: This trim features creature comforts like leather seats and interior, LED lights, and a sleek look.
- F-150 Raptor: If you’re an off-roader and looking specifically for a truck that performs well in off-roading scenarios, the Raptor is for you. It comes standard with a powerful V8 engine and 10-speed variable automatic transmission. Additionally, it has fun bells and whistles that allow you to better handle the car over variable terrain. What you need to know, however, is that the Raptor wasn’t released until 2010, so you will likely end up paying more for used Raptor F-150s than other used F-150 trims.
- Platinum: Think Lariat meets advanced technology. This is great for road trips, especially ones where you will be hauling.
- King Ranch: Built with luxury in mind, the King Ranch trim is also optimized for towing trailers, which makes it great for ranch work or camping.
- Limited: With the slogan “built to work hard and play hard,” the Limited has all the features you need to feel comfortable and to get your truck-related jobs done.
5) Consider buying certified pre-owned F-150s rather than ones you find on secondhand seller websites.
Every once and awhile, you’ll find a truck or a car on a website like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace that is as good as it says it is. However, there is a lot of work that goes into verifying whether the truck you are looking at on these websites is what it says it is. You will likely have to test drive it, take it for a second opinion, look over every nook and cranny of the vehicle to pick out the flaws, and haggle down the price. There is also no guarantee that a functioning truck will continue functioning after you buy it.
Ultimately – buyers usually pay more when they purchase through a private seller.
Buying certified pre-owned vehicles might seem a little more expensive, but it takes the guesswork, stress, and potential future repairs out of the picture, which ultimately saves you money. To be considered a certified pre-owned vehicle, the vehicle must have gone through (and passed) an extensive, brand-required multi-point inspection to be sold as such. Although this does allow dealerships to sell certified pre-owned vehicles at a slightly higher price, it also means that the buyer will not likely have to do any immediate repairs to the car. Additionally, most certified pre-owned vehicles come with a warranty, so if any significant repairs must be made that are not the driver’s fault, those fixes are usually covered.