Do Trucks Last Longer Than Cars?


My dad had an old 80’s Ford F-150 that seemed like it just wouldn’t quit. You’ve probably seen your fair share of old, beat-up pickup trucks that seem to beat the odds and keep on running no matter what. What gives? Do pickup trucks really last longer than cars?

Do Trucks Last Longer Than Cars?

Pickup trucks can last longer on average than cars. It all depends on the vehicle and how you use it. Because pickup trucks are built with heavy-duty tasks in mind, they tend to come with powerful engines, sturdier frames, and more robust construction.

If you plan on using a truck for daily driving and not much else, it will likely last longer and see less wear and tear than a sedan. This is, of course, relative to the make and model of the car and the truck. 

Owning a pickup truck offers you the benefit of a de-tuned engine. That means that if you use your truck for highway driving and don’t make use of its towing or off-road capabilities, it will last a lot longer than if you used it for towing heavy loads every day. The engine simply doesn’t have to work as hard or rev as high, meaning it will probably last longer. 

If you’re interested in a pickup truck, here’s some additional info you should know. 

Which Trucks Last The Longest?

While pickup trucks can last longer than cars, it really all boils down to how well the vehicle is made. There are a handful of pickup trucks that have a reputation for reliability over the long haul. Here’s a few that are known for their longevity. 

The Toyota Tacoma

Toyota as a whole is known for producing incredibly reliable vehicles. Toyota cars are long-lasting, don’t take a lot of maintenance, and have incredible resale value over the years. If you’ve ever tried to buy a used Tacoma or 4Runner, you are likely aware of this.

Even with high mileage, used Toyotas fetch a pretty penny on Craigslist. Older Tacomas are known for excellent build quality and no-nonsense engineering that makes them last in the long haul.

The Nissan Titan and Frontier

The Titan and Frontier are known for being reliable trucks as well. They’re known for being durable, straightforward trucks with great resale value. They generally have low maintenance costs as well.

Honda Ridgeline

Honda and Toyota generally go toe-to-toe in terms of reputation for reliability. The Ridgeline offers a different take on a pickup truck with its front-wheel drivetrain and optional all-wheel drive.

The Ridgeline handles and drives (and is engineered) a lot like a sedan. However, Honda engineering offers a lot of reliability, and the Ridgeline is a great option for people who won’t use it for heavy-duty tasks. 

How Can I Make My Truck Last Longer?

Aside from choosing a quality truck, there are a handful of important things that you can do to make sure that your car is able to go the distance. Let’s take a look at a few important maintenance habits you can take to ensure your truck lasts as long as you need it to. 

1. Get regular oil changes

The most obvious (and most necessary) maintenance task: Make sure you get regular oil changes. There are different recommendations on just about every vehicle for how often you should change your oil; consult your owner’s manual for the best advice on when and how to do this.

Quick-service shops like Jiffy Lube can be a poor choice; these shops often replace oil with low-quality recycled oil and often ‘forget’ to change the filter as well. If you want to make sure it’s done right, do it yourself. If your truck already has a lot of miles, make sure that you choose an oil that’s appropriate for a higher-mileage car. 

2. Rotate Your Tires

If you’re having your oil changed, it’s a good idea to rotate your tires as well. Tires can wear unevenly based on your truck’s drivetrain. Make sure that you have them rotated every time you change the oil so that they wear evenly.

Usually, front tires see the most wear and tear. Rotating your tires also allows for a smoother ride and make it easier on your truck’s suspension. If there are alignment issues, you should be able to tell when you rotate your tires. 

3. Balance your tires

Balancing your tires allows you to make sure that the weight of your truck is evenly distributed across all four tires. When you encounter bumps on or off the road, your tires can get set off balance, leading to vibrations and increased wear on your truck’s suspension. 

4. Check the alignment

If your truck pulls heavy to one side, you should check the alignment. Driving over rough conditions can make your truck fall out of alignment. This can cause poor gas mileage, greater wear on your tires, and difficulty handling. Alignment can pay off well in terms of gas mileage. 

5. Check your fluids

Make sure that your truck has enough oil and isn’t leaking. You should also check coolant levels. If the coolant hasn’t been cycled out in a while, drain it and replace it with new coolant.

Over time, coolant can build up debris and gunk in the lines and cause the system to run poorly. Truck engines especially produce a lot of heat. Windshield washer fluid, although far less important, should be topped off as well. 

6. Change your air filter

Your truck engine needs clean air to function well. Filters can get clogged with dust and debris. If you want to make sure that your truck runs well for a long time, change the air filter to for a new one regularly. This is especially important if you off-road a lot; dirt roads can clog up the air filter much faster than pavement. 

7. Know what you’re using it for

Taking your truck off-roading every weekend will change the requirements for maintenance. You want to make sure that you keep up with maintenance in accord with how you use your truck. If you use your truck for daily driving, it will last a lot longer with less maintenance. 

Will Towing Make My Truck Wear Out Faster?

While trucks were designed for towing, yes, towing can add a bit of stress to your truck. While there’s no need to worry about towing, using a truck exclusively for highway driving will make it last longer than if you towed every day.

Towing a light trailer likely won’t cause too much damage, but towing another car or very heavy loads can cause problems later down the line for your engine and transmission.

Once again, this depends on your truck’s stated tow capacity. Some trucks tow better than others; the Ridgeline, for instance, wasn’t really made for towing. it was designed primarily for hauling lighter loads in the bed of the truck. Trucks like the Ridgeline are better for taking tools away from Home Depot, and not as great for towing a boat

Wrapping up

So, should you spring for a truck rather than a sedan for reliability? If you prefer the functionality and driving experience of a truck, absolutely. If reliability matters but you’re also concerned about MPG, you might also consider a reliable car as well. If you need functionality like towing or off-road ability, you should consider a truck.

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

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