Buying a pickup truck can be a difficult process for buyers. However, with depreciation rates and resale values available, the decision becomes easier.
How do pickup trucks depreciate?
Pickups depreciate like every other vehicle. In fact, a pickup loses around 10% of its value the instant you drive it away from the dealership. Notwithstanding, pickup trucks are considered the best vehicles in terms of depreciation.
Pickup trucks have the lowest depreciation rates among all vehicle segments, according to the 2018 iSeeCars depreciation study. The study pegs the average 5-year depreciation rate for pickups at 41.3%.
Other vehicle classes, passenger cars [51.9%], and SUVs [54.1%] have higher depreciation rates.
Let’s review how trucks depreciate and what their values are:
Which Pickup Trucks Are Best At Retaining Their Value?
When shopping for a pickup, it is important to buy one with a low value-depreciation rate. This will allow the vehicle to command a higher resale value.
More importantly, you will get adequate returns on your investment. In the list below, we review the most valuable pickups on the market today:
1. Toyota Tacoma
The Tacoma’s position atop the list of most valuable vehicles is not surprising given its reliability and popularity. Affordability, ruggedness, and hauling ability are other attributes that have made the Tacoma a favorite among pickup drivers.
The popularity of the Tacoma, combined with its limited production, has strengthened demand for used versions. As a result, pre-owned Tacoma pickups typically command high resale prices on the market.
According to the iSeeCars study, the average Tacoma will retain 68% of its original value after the first five years. This is impressive, considering that most cars lose over 60% of their value after the first five years.
2. Toyota Tundra
Toyota has a reputation for making some of the most reliable cars, and the Tundra helps further solidify that image. Slightly smaller than the Tacoma, Tundra shares many things with its bigger cousin, including its reliability and durability.
More importantly, the Tundra is one of the best vehicles in terms of value retained as it has a 5-year depreciation rate of 35.9%.
Like the Tacoma pickup, the Tundra does not have high sales figures like the Ford F-150. However, consumer demand for the Tundra continues to increase due to its attractive offering of performance, safety, and utility in one package.
Moreover, it is the pickup of choice for most off-road adventurers as it can handle uneven terrain with ease. The TRD Pro variant comes with the off-road-tuned suspension system, Bilstein shocks, skid plates, and other equipment needed to tackle obstacles while navigating unpaved paths.
Practical and affordable, the Toyota Tundra is a worthy investment for anyone – it retains over 60% of its value after the first five years of use.
3. Honda Ridgeline
Honda’s compact pickup offering is not your conventional pickup truck. Its body design blends elements of a crossover SUV and a pickup truck. As such, it does not prominently feature capabilities associated with pickup trucks.
For example, four-wheel drive is conspicuously missing on the Ridgeline’s powertrain options. Instead, it offers an all-wheel drive and two-wheel drive for users [the only pickup with this feature].
Despite its radical design philosophy, the Honda Ridgeline has built a cult following among car buyers since its inception. In addition, owners have little or no reason to sell their vehicles as the Ridgeline has few reliability concerns. As a result, Ridgeline trucks generally do not depreciate in value like other vehicles.
The average depreciation rate of a Honda Ridgeline truck over five years is 38.1%. This means the Ridgeline will retain over 60% of its original value after the first five years of use. This is good, especially if you plan to trade in your truck for another vehicle.
4. Nissan Frontier
The Nissan Frontier is an old vehicle by today’s automotive standards – its last redesign was in 2004. Surprisingly, it remains one of the best-selling vehicles in the US.
The Frontier pickup remains popular among Americans because of its considerable towing/hauling ability, off-road capability, and decent safety. Major demerits include its antiquated interior and absence of modern car features like advanced safety, tech, and infotainment systems.
Nevertheless, what it lacks in technology it makes up for with a low retail price and decent resale value. The 2019 model is priced a little above $20,000, making it the cheapest pickup in America today. No consumer pickup truck costs below the 20k dollar mark.
With a 5-year depreciation rate of 39.5%, the Frontier is one of the least-depreciating vehicles in the pickup truck class. This means you can still recoup over half of the car’s price if you sell it five years later.
Many have suggested various reasons for the Frontier’s surprisingly low depreciation rates. Some believe the model’s longevity convince people of its reliability, making them willing to pay sizeable amounts for used models. Others simply believe low numbers of compact pickups in the market are allowing sales of the Frontier pickup to grow.
5. Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Rounding up the list of least-depreciating trucks is the Chevy Silverado pickup. Produced by GM, which also makes the Sierra 1500 pickup, the truck has different trims to cater to various needs.
Sales of the Silverado have risen in years as GM improved on different parts of the vehicle to appeal to a larger audience. For example, newer models now come in different trims and offer consumers different levels of luxury. From the work truck variant to the luxurious High Country model, the Chevrolet Silverado has a solution to almost every need.
The resale value of the Silverado pickup has remained strong, thanks to a reputation for dependability and reliability. It can tow up to 12,500 lbs., making it perfect for those who do a lot of hauling. Off-road enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the 5.3-Liter V-8 engine produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque.
The average five-year depreciation rate of the Silverado 1500 is 42.0%.
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Which Pickup Trucks Depreciate The Fastest?
Although most pickups have low depreciation rates, some pickups do not retain their value like their counterparts.
Here are the pickup trucks with the highest depreciation rates within their class:
1. Ford F-150
The F-150 is America’s highest-selling truck, which makes its inclusion in this list surprising. However, the reason for the poor resale value of the F-150 truck is simple. Phenomenal sales of new F-150s have led to an increase in used F-150s offered for sale in recent years. As a result, demand often outstrips supply, and this invariably leads to a resale value drop.
With an average 5-year depreciation rate of 46.5%, the F-150 is the worst pickup truck in terms of resale value. Despite this, the F-150 can still compete with the average vehicle in terms of depreciation.
Per numbers released in the iSeeCars depreciation study, an F-150 truck will depreciate by 46.5% over a five-year span. This is much lower than the average depreciation of the regular vehicle, which is pegged at 49.6%.
2. Nissan Titan
Nissan Titan trucks are depreciating rapidly because people are wary of buying a truck with documented problems. While the Titan is an affordable work truck, reliability issues with different models have caused the resale value to drop.
First-generation models [2004-2006] have plenty of complaints surrounding the rear axle. Problems reported include rear axle failure and rear differential failure. Both of these can cause the rear wheels to lock up and prevent the car from moving.
Also, Nissan had to recall over 90,000 Titan trucks in 2019 due to problems with the electrical system. The company said the wiring harness on the vehicles might have been damaged during installation sparking off a chain of electrical issues. Problems include engine stalling, flickering interior lights, fluctuating radios, etc.
Because of these problems, many are reluctant to buy used Titan trucks, and demand is low. Even those willing to buy are prone to paying amounts much lower than the vehicle’s original price.
The average 5-year depreciation rate of a Titan pickup is 45.2%.
3. Dodge Ram 1500
The Ram 1500 series is part of the “Big Three,” i.e., the three highest selling pickup brands.
Just like the case of the Ford F-150, higher sales may be causing Ram 1500 trucks to lose value quickly.
More importantly, reliability issues with past models are discouraging people from buying used Ram truck models.
The 2010 Ram 1500s have poor fuel economy and dismal safety ratings. The fourth-generation models [‘09-’18] have widespread faults affecting electrical systems such as the Total Integrated Power Module [TIPM]. Third-generation models have multiple engine and transmission issues, exhaust manifold problems, and worn-out bearing problems.
According to experts, another reason for the Ram truck’s low resale prices is the incentives on new models. Experts suggest that incentives influence people to buy newer models and reduce demand for a used one. Reduced demand will cause a rapid depreciation in the value of a vehicle.
4. GMC Sierra 1500
GMC initially created the Sierra as a high-end “professional grade” truck with a big emphasis on luxury.
From research, luxury vehicles tend to depreciate faster than non-luxury models. Therefore, it is not surprising that the value of the Sierra pickup plummets by 43% after the first five years of ownership.
How Much Do The Most-Sold Pickup Trucks Depreciate?
It is no secret that the highest-selling pickup trucks are also the worst in terms of resale value. Out of the five bestselling trucks, three have lower than average depreciation rates.
On the other hand, the remaining two best-selling trucks have decent depreciation rates. The Honda Ridgeline pickup has an impressive 5-year depreciation rate of 38.1%. Its counterpart, the Chevy Silverado, comes up at the rear with a 5-year depreciation rate of 42.0%.
The Top Five Bestselling Trucks in the United States are:
- Ford F-150 series
- Ram 1500 series
- Honda Ridgeline Pickup
- GMC Sierra 1500 series
- Chevrolet Silverado series
Ford F-150 Depreciation
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Ram 1500 Depreciation
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Honda Ridgeline Depreciation
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Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Depreciation
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Also read our article on Can Pickups Pull a Semi Trailer?
What Is The Optimal Age For Buying Used Pickups Based On Depreciation?
The perfect time to buy a used version of a vehicle is in the time period that follows the first depreciation.
This occurs in the first year of ownership and often causes a sharp fall in the value of a vehicle.
The second-best time to buy used pickup is after its second significant depreciation, which is usually during the fourth year. However, the first year is still preferable for logical reasons.
First, most pickups will be out of warranty by the fourth year. Wearable parts such as tires and brakes may need replacement, and other maintenance costs may arise. These things depreciate the value of your truck and discourage potential buyers.
To illustrate why the first year is the best age to buy a used pickup, here is an example:
Imagine you buy a one-year-old used 2019 Ram 1500 pickup that costs about $30,544. You would save over $9,000 as a new model costs $40,000. Now, if you choose to sell it in the third year, you would get about $27,917 [a small loss of $2,627]. This means the total ownership costs [depreciation inclusive] amounts to a meager $2,627.
While this hack often works across all models, you must sell off the pickup before the fourth year. Every vehicle [including pickups] experiences its second sharpest depreciation around the fourth year.
Do Pickup Trucks Depreciate Faster Or Slower Than Regular Cars?
Data from the automotive research site iSeeCars suggests that pickup trucks depreciate slower than any other vehicle segment. Pickups have better resale value than SUVs, sedans, electric vehicles, sports cars, and hybrids.
Here is a table showing how pickups fare against other segments:
|Vehicle Type||Average Depreciation [Over 5-years]|
For years now, pickup trucks have been the least depreciating vehicle models in the market. Experts believe popularity is responsible for the reduced depreciation rate in pickups. Demand continues to outstrip supply, and this increases resale value.
Other factors include reliability, practicality, performance, and luxury that pickups offer consumers.
How Do Mileage And Age Play Into The Equation?
The biggest factors that influence the depreciation of a vehicle are mileage and age. These two things determine the extent of the loss made on a vehicle’s resale value. Why are they so important? We will explain.
Carmakers typically release new vehicles each year, so older models are considered less valuable. Moreover, older vehicles are prone to more problems due to continuous wear and tear over the years. Also, they often have expired warranties, leaving owners to fix problems with their money. Buyers hate scenarios like these, hence the decision to stay away from them.
Mileage is another big factor in depreciation. In fact, the more miles you put on your vehicle, the lesser the resale value. A high mileage vehicle will have experienced extensive wear and tear from repeated use.
To prevent this, try keeping the mileage below the average for that particular make and model. More miles will only accelerate your vehicle’s depreciation rate.
What Can I Do To Fight Depreciation On My Own Truck?
Depreciation is scary for many car owners. However, there are strategies for limiting the effects of depreciation on your vehicle. Here are some tips:
1. Use Your Vehicle Only when Necessary to Keep Down the Mileage
If you can stroll to the mall, don’t take the truck. Those little miles will add up quickly.
2. Ensure Your Truck has a Good Appearance
It is important to make sure your truck does not have scratches and dents on its exterior. Eagle-eyed vehicle buyers will see your truck as a badly maintained one if they notice things like these. Therefore, cover up any scratches and fix any dents on the body of the pickup before inviting them for a look-see.
Regular waxing and washing are also vital to keep your car in good condition. Look after your car and repair any damage as soon as possible.
3. Stay Away from Aftermarket Modifications
While some modifications may suit your taste, a potential buyer may not like them. Buyers often worry about the effects of these upgrades on the truck. Moreover, key components like the power train should never be fitted with upgrades or modified. Doing so may affect the warranty coverage and reduce the truck’s resale value.
4. Choose a Sensible Color
Loud colors on a car may put off buyers. Subdued shades, however, inspire a sense of confidence in buyers. Ditch the bright paint job and go for cool colors like black, red, grey, etc.
5. Do Regular Maintenance
Periodic and regular maintenance is important if you want to keep up the resale value of your pickup truck. Also, keep track of your maintenance activities as this serves as proof and gives prospective buyers confidence in your vehicle. Comprehensive service history will do much to sustain the value of your used truck.
6. Research Before Buying Any Truck
Go online and see how the values of the older models have fared in the past. You can also include other vehicles made by the same manufacturer in your search. Toyota, for example, is known for producing reliable vehicles. This way, you are sure that whatever Toyota vehicle you buy will not give problems.
Depreciation is a big consideration when buying pickup trucks, especially if you plan to trade in your vehicle later. This makes it crucial to conduct research into the depreciation history for a pickup truck before buying it.
Examine other factors like reliability ratings, known problems, and incentives on new models. All these things affect depreciation.
Ultimately, depreciation is inevitable, but by applying strategies in this article, you have a better chance of limiting its effects.