Most Reliable Used Trucks Ever and How To Know If Your Truck Is Unreliable

Most Reliable Used Trucks Ever and How To Know If Your Truck Is Unreliable

Trucks, by their very nature, endure a lot of abuse over their lifetime. It comes with the territory. These are, first and foremost, work vehicles. They’re liable to see more mileage than conventional passenger cars, as owners drive from job to job, watching the odometer climb ever higher. 

And then you have to consider what you actually use a truck for: hauling and towing heavy loads. These are the tasks that conventional vehicles simply cannot handle.

And so, reliability is important. You want a truck that can handle the strain of the working day. After all, every minute spent waiting for AAA to rescue you is a minute that could otherwise be spent earning money. 

You need the right tool for the job. But what is the most reliable truck on the used market? We’ve looked to the experts, and came up with a list of some of the hardiest, most dependable pick-ups on the market. 

Most Reliable Used Trucks

2013 Toyota Tacoma (from $29,950)

2013 Toyota Tacoma (from $29,950)

The hardy Toyota Tacoma enjoys a solid reputation for dependability, with models produced during the first half of the 2010s particularly standing out, according to data from Consumer Reports. That’s hardly surprising, given its ancestry, with the Tacoma replacing the venerable Hilux for the US market just a few decades prior. 

With a sky-high suspension and a four-wheel drive drivetrain, the 2013 Tacoma is well-suited for those off-road scenarios where handling is crucial, and makes short work of muddy tracks and steep hills. Meanwhile, its massive 4L V6 engine produces respectable levels of horsepower and torque, lending to its credentials as a hauling and towing machine. 

Still, fuel efficiency is poor, even by the low standards set by trucks of its size category, with the Tacoma eking out just 16MPG on city roads and 21MPG on the highway. Still, this comparatively high cost of ownership is offset somewhat by the lower maintenance and repair needs.

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2013 Toyota Tacoma (from $29,950)

The hardy Toyota Tacoma enjoys a solid reputation for dependability, with models produced during the first half of the 2010s particularly standing out, according to data from Consumer Reports. That’s hardly surprising, given its ancestry, with the Tacoma replacing the venerable Hilux for the US market just a few decades prior. 

With a sky-high suspension and a four-wheel drive drivetrain, the 2013 Tacoma is well-suited for those off-road scenarios where handling is crucial, and makes short work of muddy tracks and steep hills. Meanwhile, its massive 4L V6 engine produces respectable levels of horsepower and torque, lending to its credentials as a hauling and towing machine. 

Still, fuel efficiency is poor, even by the low standards set by trucks of its size category, with the Tacoma eking out just 16MPG on city roads and 21MPG on the highway. Still, this comparatively high cost of ownership is offset somewhat by the lower maintenance and repair needs.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Tacoma

2017 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD Z71 (from $31,950)

2017 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD Z71 (from $31,950)

Whoever said size matters never told the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD Z71. Capable of towing up to 7,000lbs, the Colorado is a formidable truck. Meanwhile, its comparatively smaller frame brings benefits in terms of maneuverability, as well as fuel efficiency. Owners can expect to get 20MPG on city roads, and 28MPG on the highway.

Plus, the Colorado's flatbed comes with a high-ceiling covered top, so you can keep your gear secure without sacrificing cargo space. The infotainment system may not have state-of-the-art 5G, but not to worry, it’s got plenty of tech so you can focus on your ride, including built-in Wi-fi and navigation.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Chevrolet Colorado 4WD Z71
2017 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD Z71 (from $31,950)

Whoever said size matters never told the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD Z71. Capable of towing up to 7,000lbs, the Colorado is a formidable truck. Meanwhile, its comparatively smaller frame brings benefits in terms of maneuverability, as well as fuel efficiency. Owners can expect to get 20MPG on city roads, and 28MPG on the highway.

Plus, the Colorado's flatbed comes with a high-ceiling covered top, so you can keep your gear secure without sacrificing cargo space. The infotainment system may not have state-of-the-art 5G, but not to worry, it’s got plenty of tech so you can focus on your ride, including built-in Wi-fi and navigation.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Chevrolet Colorado 4WD Z71

2018 GMC Canyon 2WD (from $25,950)

2018 GMC Canyon 2WD (from $25,950)

No surprises here, considering the Colorado and Canyon are based on the same platform, with much of the design remaining unchanged between models. Reliability, thus, is roughly on-par.

Still, the Canyon is worth considering, particularly for those concerned about performance. Although the Canyon lacks the four-wheel drive drivetrain found in its Chevrolet-badged sibling, it does come with a vastly more potent engine: a 3.6L V6 affair, capable of delivering 308HP and 275lbs of torque. In practice, the Canyon is much more capable when it comes to towing and hauling. 

Still, that extra power comes at the cost of fuel efficiency, with the Canyon providing just 18MPG on urban roads and 25MPG on the highway. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used GMC Cayon 2WD
2018 GMC Canyon 2WD (from $25,950)

No surprises here, considering the Colorado and Canyon are based on the same platform, with much of the design remaining unchanged between models. Reliability, thus, is roughly on-par.

Still, the Canyon is worth considering, particularly for those concerned about performance. Although the Canyon lacks the four-wheel drive drivetrain found in its Chevrolet-badged sibling, it does come with a vastly more potent engine: a 3.6L V6 affair, capable of delivering 308HP and 275lbs of torque. In practice, the Canyon is much more capable when it comes to towing and hauling. 

Still, that extra power comes at the cost of fuel efficiency, with the Canyon providing just 18MPG on urban roads and 25MPG on the highway. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used GMC Cayon 2WD

2018 Toyota Tundra Limited (from $44,950)

2018 Toyota Tundra Limited (from $44,950)

Any discussion of vehicle dependability will usually result in Toyota enjoying center-stage, such is its reputation. Still, the Tundra stands out, even among this storied legacy, regularly clinching top marks in Consumer Reports’ truck dependability surveys during the 2010s.

This isn’t just one of the most reliable full-sized trucks you can get; it’s one of the most reliable trucks on the market, period. 

And as a modern specimen, the 2018 is well-equipped in all the points that matter, touting a generous selection of infotainment options, as well as a comprehensive suite of safety tools, including a lane departure warning system. Meanwhile, the Tundra’s leather seats and multi-zone AC add a touch of luxury to this otherwise utilitarian vehicle. 

Shame about the fuel efficiency though. Its large frame, paired with a beefy 5.7L V8 engine, will see you running to the pump on a regular basis. Owners can expect just 13MPG in the city, and 17MPG on the highway.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Tundra Limited
2018 Toyota Tundra Limited (from $44,950)

Any discussion of vehicle dependability will usually result in Toyota enjoying center-stage, such is its reputation. Still, the Tundra stands out, even among this storied legacy, regularly clinching top marks in Consumer Reports’ truck dependability surveys during the 2010s.

This isn’t just one of the most reliable full-sized trucks you can get; it’s one of the most reliable trucks on the market, period. 

And as a modern specimen, the 2018 is well-equipped in all the points that matter, touting a generous selection of infotainment options, as well as a comprehensive suite of safety tools, including a lane departure warning system. Meanwhile, the Tundra’s leather seats and multi-zone AC add a touch of luxury to this otherwise utilitarian vehicle. 

Shame about the fuel efficiency though. Its large frame, paired with a beefy 5.7L V8 engine, will see you running to the pump on a regular basis. Owners can expect just 13MPG in the city, and 17MPG on the highway.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Tundra Limited

Honorable mention: Toyota Hilux

The Toyota Hilux’s reputation for hardiness is legendary, and has contributed to a worldwide popularity that’s seldom found in the niche truck space. And there’s a good reason for that. The Hilux has proven itself capable wherever it’s used, from the sun-drenched Middle East, to even Antarctica, where it was used by the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research to transport researchers on a 4,600km round trip. 

Toyota ceased sales of the Hilux to the US market in the mid-1990s, as newly-introduced vehicle standards and import taxes made it uncompetitive. This has made it a relative rarity (if not an outright collectible). Still, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, you can be all but assured it won’t let you down.

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Trusted trucks

Whether you drive an SUV or a truck, or use your vehicle for work or commuting, reliability matters. Figuring out what vehicle you can trust is a tricky proposition. While no model is entirely fault-proof, for savvy consumers, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself.

First, look at the history of a carmaker and a model. Some manufacturers — most notably Toyota — have a strong reputation for build quality. Others, less so. 

Another smart move is to look up the car you wish to buy on sites like Consumer Reviews and JD Power. These aggregate real-life reviews from car owners, and show how a vehicle holds up with real-world usage. For those looking to buy a used car, you can learn a lot about its dependability from the stories of those who bought it before you. 

And finally, make sure you buy your truck from a reliable dealership. At Shift, all vehicles are subjected to a thorough 150-point inspection by one of our qualified mechanics, weeding out potential issues before they leave the lot. We also offer a free seven-day returns policy as standard, as well as a free 30-day warranty on our certified inventory.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team