Are Pickup Trucks Costly to Maintain?

There is no doubt that pickup trucks are incredibly popular vehicles in America. They offer a lot of versatility and can be used for a variety of purposes. However, one question many people have is whether or not they are costly to maintain.

A lot of factors go into how costly pickup trucks are to maintain, such as the type of engine, type of fuel, and other parts in it that can all affect the overall cost. Let us look at some of the reasons why pickup trucks can be expensive to upkeep.

Importance of maintenance

Generally, all pickup trucks can be expensive to maintain compared to sedans and smaller cars. There is no fixed price to upkeep a pickup truck, but it will depend on the size.

  • Full-size: This size type offers the most power and can tow the heaviest loads. Unfortunately, they tend to be the most expensive to maintain. Since most full-size pickups have larger engines, they require more fuel and often need more repairs.
  • Mid-size: It is a good compromise between full-size and compact trucks. They may not be as powerful as full-size ones, but they are more fuel-efficient. Some automakers offer the same engine type for their mid and full-size trucks, and the maintenance cost will depend on it. There are times that they are cheaper to maintain because of their dampened features.
  • Compact: The smallest pickup truck is not as potent as others. However, compact trucks offer better fuel economy. They also tend to be less expensive to maintain since their smaller engines require fewer repairs.

Just like other types of vehicles, pickups require regular maintenance. Trucks are utilitarian, so they’re not only used for city driving. You can use them for towing heavy loads or weekend off-roading adventures — that’s why they need strict maintenance.

Moreover, you are not really saving some dollars if you do not bring your vehicle in for maintenance. It will break the bank as it costs more if your truck suddenly breaks down. Regular maintenance help will retain the vehicle’s top condition.

When you use your rig for off-roading, it also means more parts can potentially break down. More money may be spent on repairs. So, are all pickup trucks expensive to maintain? The answer is no. Some models are cheaper to upkeep than others.

Is maintenance always expensive?

When it comes to pickup trucks, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not they are costly to maintain. It will depend on different factors, such as the size and model. Upgrading the truck wheels, putting on a particular type of tires, installing a lift kit, and other upgrades may also affect the maintenance costs.

A few pickup trucks were featured in an article by Consumer Reports in May 2021. They asked the members how much they spent on maintenance and repairs, which is vital to keep their vehicles on the road over the past 12 months.

For the first few years of ownership, some automakers offer free maintenance. However, the costs can sometimes rise steeply if the problems appear once that coverage ends. Some brands provide the lowest repair and maintenance costs at the five-year mark. But for 10-year-old cars, expect the price to go up since most parts need replacement or upgrade.

Here are some pickup trucks that are relatively cheap to maintain, according to Consumer Reports (CR):

  • After ten years of ownership, the cost for Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and GMC Sierra 1500 is roughly $200 in maintenance and repair costs.
  • After ten years of ownership, the rate for Toyota Tacoma and Tundra is around $250 in maintenance and repair costs.
  • Ford F-250

Although it is 70 bucks more than the Chevy and GMC’s pickup models, it is only $20 more than the Toyota trucks. CR determined that the Ford F-250 is one of the cheapest trucks to maintain as it only cost the owners roughly $270.

Despite the affordable estimated maintenance cost, F-250 owners complained about some issues with the truck. Even if you only put a few simple mods, such as a new set of KMC wheels or other aftermarket truck accessories, it may affect the price to fix the issues, especially in the suspension. Owners experienced hyper-shaking and loss of control of the truck. Moreover, several suffered the notorious death wobble (also a common problem in Jeep Wrangler). These technical issues may result in higher repair costs.

  • Ram 1500

According to Consumer Reports, the maintenance cost at ten years of ownership is around $300. It may seem pricey compared to others, but the brand offers the Ram Care maintenance program. It covers tire rotations and oil changes for the first two years of truck ownership. However, Ram’s famous pickup model struggles with reliability. CR has never given the Ram 1500 a reliability rating of more than three out of five.

Moreover, the Ram 1500 ranked third in the J.D. Power 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study as it has the same standard warranty of 36,000 miles or three years. The maintenance program also includes the powertrain and roadside assistance warranty that is valid for five years or 60,000 miles. For diesel engines, the validity is five years or 100,000 miles.

  • Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline is included in the list of cheapest maintenance for pickup trucks curated by Consumer Reports. But unlike other trucks, it is priced higher with $300 cost in repair and maintenance after ten years.

While an estimate of $300 isn’t exorbitantly expensive, you may still be spending more on maintenance than other pickups such as GMC Sierra or Chevy Silverado would. Despite the higher cost, Consumer Reports gave the Ridgeline outstanding remarks in terms of reliability. It has earned a perfect reliability rating of five out of five.

  • Ford Maverick

The estimated cost to repair a Ford Maverick depends on the operating procedures or any fixes. Since the Maverick is relatively new and has a modern tech to power up its hybrid feature, the upkeep procedure must be strictly followed. Ford offers a maintenance package that includes engine oil replacement, filter replacement, an inspection of accessory drive belts, change of coolants along with brake fluids.

The Ford Maverick needs to be serviced every 3,000 to 10,000 miles. Technicians will check the smart monitoring system to determine the oil life based on the external conditions and usage. It also notifies you when it requires service.

Pickup trucks are not as costly to maintain as people might think. Specific models are still right on the budget even if they have already reached 10-year ownership. Additionally, automotive brands offer maintenance programs that are worth the investment. Although pickups require more upkeep than sedans, they provide more value in terms of utility and durability.

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