How to Choose a 4×4 Truck
Selecting the right 4×4 truck is a crucial decision, no matter how you plan on using the vehicle. Your 4×4 truck can be your ticket to off-road adventures, your daily driver around town, your hauling and towing machine, or your work truck. There are hundreds of possible configurations for 4×4 trucks, so it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the various options. Use the following considerations to help narrow down your options and find the right 4×4.
Things To Consider When Buying A 4×4 Truck
Used Vs. New
The first thing to think about when choosing a 4×4 truck is whether a new or used model will be better suited to your needs. New models allow you to customize completely, have a full warranty, and have no previous history to worry about, giving you peace of mind about things like potential accidents and mileage. You can likely still find a used model that meets most of your qualifications, if not all, and they tend to be much more affordable. However, used models are less likely to have warranty coverage and will definitely have miles under their belts. If you do opt for a used 4×4 truck, ensure that you check the vehicle history report and get it inspected by a mechanic you trust. Confirm it does not have any serious accidents in the past, that the previous owner followed the suggested service schedule, and that it is in good shape.
Take a second to consider whether you have a brand preference for your next 4×4 truck. There is nothing wrong with brand loyalty, but you will have more trucks to choose from if you do not restrict yourself to just a single brand.
Now, it is time to think about how you plan to use the 4×4 truck. Will you be off-roading? If so, how frequently? Will you use it to tow or haul gear? If so, how much do you need to move? Do you plan on using the truck as your daily driving vehicle? How many people do you need to fit? The answers to all of these questions will affect your other decisions regarding the truck.
Based on your answers to the previous questions, think about the size of the truck that you need. Most 4x4s will be either mid-size or full-size. Full-size trucks cost more, but they have more space in the truck bed and cabin. They also tend to have more powerful engines and greater towing and hauling capacities. If you need even more room, you can opt for a 4×4 chassis cab with a truck bed installed.
Light or Heavy Duty
You also need to think about whether you need a light-duty or heavy-duty pickup truck. If you just plan on towing and hauling things occasionally with your 4×4, then a light-duty will likely be good enough, especially if these are not heavy items. If you have heavier items to tow or haul or will need to do so on a very regular basis, consider a heavy-duty truck. Remember that if you go with a heavy-duty 4×4, it will likely need to be full-size. The best way to determine if you need a light- or heavy-duty 4×4 truck is to actually sit down and do the math. Figure out how much the items you tow or haul actually weigh. Then compare it to the maximum capacities of the trucks you are considering. Remember that there will be variations across makes and models even within the light- or heavy-duty category. Despite this, your math should still give you a good idea of which category you need. If you would consistently use a light-duty 4×4 at its maximum capacity for towing or hauling, consider going with a heavy-duty instead. This will be easier on the truck, helping it last longer. The extra money you spend up front will save you in the long run as you will have less of a chance of worrying about expensive repairs and will not need a replacement as soon.
No comparison of various 4×4 trucks is complete without also looking at the engines. There are a few considerations here, including size, efficiency, power, torque, and diesel or gas. The torque is crucial for towing and off-roading, so keep that in mind if you need the 4×4 for those activities. The choice of a diesel or gas engine will be an important call but vary by person. Diesel fuel costs less and diesel engines tend to have higher torque ratings, but gas is easier to find and has other advantages.
Lifted or Not
One question many people forget to ask themselves is whether they want a traditional 4×4 or a lifted one. Driving a lifted 4×4 truck can give you added style, additional road clearance for off-roading, and great ride height for seeing over obstacles. If you think you may want a lifted truck, consider taking one for a test drive to see if it is the right 4×4 for you. If you do decide that a lifted truck is the way to go, it will be better to get a lifted 4×4 from the start instead of buying one and then converting it yourself or having someone else do it. Buying an already lifted 4×4 will give you the ability to choose a reputable converter, so you can trust the quality of the lift kit. The best lifted trucks even come with warranties while lifting after the purchase will likely void your warranty.
You will also need to look at the various features available on 4×4 trucks when making your decision. The features that you prioritize depend on how you plan on using the vehicle. If you plan on going off-roading a lot, for example, you will want to look for things like skid plates, a locking differential, upgraded shock absorbers, and off-road tires. If you want a daily driver or a family vehicle, look for interior comfort and infotainment features. With the above factors in mind, you should be ready to choose the 4×4 truck that best meets your needs.