2011 Dodge DakotaThe decision making process to purchase a used truck needs a foundation. That foundation is: What is the use of the truck? Answers tend to fall into two categories: driving and commuting or towing and hauling. Although neither excludes the other, plan for the heaviest regular use.

Another consideration is family size. In your golden years, there are seldom small children to consider. That opens the door to the less expensive regular cab. With a family, an extended cab or crew cab will be necessary.

Many Island residents stay on Island much of the year, venturing out for holidays of three or more weeks or short overnight hops to the mainland. A smaller pickup truck, one half ton or smaller, will provide more economical transportation, but limits the choices when it comes to trailers, boats or campers.

A three quarter ton or one ton truck gives incredible choices for towed accessories. Snow birds going South for the winter will want a 35 foot or larger trailer. With numerous slide-outs, their weight will eliminate the one half ton truck from consideration. The same limitation is in place with a large cab over camper. The largest campers and trailers will find a dualie the most stable towing platform.

A one half ton truck is perfectly adequate for towing a Coleman type pop-up camper, an eight foot cab over camper, a smaller travel trailer or fifth wheel trailer. Shorter overall length also reduces ferry charges.

Transmission choice is more limited as the vast majority of trucks, like cars, come with automatics. If you are really inclined to a manual transmission, check the internet for repair issues. For example, there are several years of the Dodge 6 speed that had major problems with the input shaft which is very expensive to replace.

Engine type is the next decision. Gasoline is cheaper than diesel fuel, although when you factor in fuel mileage and maintenance costs, the diesel ends up about the same over the long haul. My 2003 Dodge 4×4 with a Cummins motor gets about 18 MPG or about 13 liters per 100 K on the road. When towing my 22 foot fifth wheel, mileage drops to about 14 MPG or about 17 liters per 100 K. I do try to keep my speed under 100 kph to be a good steward of the fuel.

Resale value is a bit of a consideration. With a diesel powered truck, you can easily expect 450,000 kilometers life from the motor. Gas engines are usually good for about 250,000. So, the diesel will have a better resale value. Demand for the diesels keeps their value high because of their performance for towing.

Having owned everything from a 1960s International three quarter ton 4×4 gas powered pickup to my current Dodge 2500 4×4 diesel, I know there are many factors to consider. Putting all the requirements down on paper will both help clarify the choices and serve as a good tool in negotiations with your truck dealer.

One internet site to check for a starting point is: http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/rankings/used/trucks/