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Why do pickup trucks last longer than cars

cp4hcp4h Posts: 18
edited April 2014 in Chevrolet
Why are there so many 15 or 20 years old pick up trucks on the road while most car with that kind of vintage have been scraped long time ago ?

Is it because they are better built than cars ?

Or because they are cheaper /easier to fix ?

I know trucks are gas guzzlers, but if someone needs a cheap commuter, will a four cylinder pickup truck, because of it's longevity, has a lower cost of ownership in the long run ?

Please comment.


  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    its all about how you take care of it. Regualr oil changes and general maintenace can make any vehicle last a long time

  • mnicemnice Posts: 9
    Maintainence is the key word. Regular oil and filter changes, grease, regular fluid changes, ie. tranny, front & rear ends, etc.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,237
    I don't think that pickups last any longer than cars in general. Perhaps people are more willing to drive a pickup longer than a car after they've been beat up a bit, but as far as the mechanical side of things goes, maintenance WOULD appear to be the key. I had my '86 Nissan 4x4 for 11 years and I've had my '91 Sentra about the same amount of time. Both made it to that point running well with no major problems, although the pickup bed was a lot rustier by then than any spot on the car... but that was to be expected.

    PF Flyer


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  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    I do believe trucks have a few more "heavy duty" parts than their car counterparts. The Ford 5.4 has forged pistons and steel cranks as an example. The 4.6 car motors have cast cranks and pistons. I know the transmissions usually have coolers in the trucks that the cars don't run(the radiator trans cooler PLUS an external cooler) Heavier rear diffs. Heavier suspension components on the trucks that are only used a fraction of the time.......IMHO!!
  • hillhoundhillhound Posts: 537
    people who drive trucks tend to be more mechanically inclined (usually) and spend more time on maintenance. Just look at the type of guys posting in the "pickups" section of this townhall. Posts in the car forums (exception in some sportscar subjects) have nowhere near the techical content that you see in the truck boards. Just my opinion.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    Very good point....not to mention the amount of women posting to the pickup trucks conference is no where near the amount that posts to the specific cars conference. Course then again, there are exceptions to the rule. Why I remember a 'rado owner who when changing oil for the first time...getting oil all over the floor, on himself, and whatever else. When one can clearly see that when the oil drain plug is removed horizontally, that the oil would also, under pressure, shoot out horizontally.
  • cp4hcp4h Posts: 18
    an average truck owner tend to be more mechanically inclined than an average car owner. That might be one factor that contribute to the longer life span of pickups.

    Is there any other factors ? I have a feeling that truck owners tend to be more willing to rebuild the engines or transmissions of their trucks after a decade of use, instead of sending them to the junk yard. Slow depreciation rate might be a factor in here too. It is cheaper to rebuild than to buy a used truck.
  • hillhoundhillhound Posts: 537
    alot of truck owners who buy them for work like plowing or farming don't care about the appearance like people do with cars, so they're more willing to buy damaged old truck and put the time and $$ into keeping it running.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    oh yeah...them yuppies chasin that shine...
  • hillhoundhillhound Posts: 537
    so if you're not a yuppie I guess you gotta chase that "dullness"? hehe!
  • blacksilverblacksilver Posts: 69
    Trucks are work vehicles, not style statements. Other than amenities inside the cab, a current 2001-model pickup truck is not functionally much different than a 1950-model truck. Trucks are kept running longer for the simple reason that a shiny new truck isn't much different than an old beat up truck. Both will haul or pull about the same amount, and nobody much cares if your fenders are flapping in the breeze when you're hauling a load of landscaping timbers, 25 bags of hog feed, or a load of pipe and plumbers tools.

    This may change as pickups get more yuppy-fied, but I think the trend of yuppies driving trucks will fade fast -- there's going to be a glut of cheap used 4x4's on the market this summer/fall as the price of gas drives trendy-commuters out of their Z71's and back into Honda Accords.

  • hans I doubt it but I won't get into that

    one reason is the government has always had less regulations on pickups, so companies didn't have to put as much emission and milege increasing junk making the trucks much simpler than cars.

    another reason is that trucks have big engines made for work, and since they are usually used for work only on the weekends, 5 days a week it doesn't break a sweat driving around like normal.

    another reason is body on frame construction, unibody cars just don't seem to hold up as well. thats why you see more 60's cars than 80's lol (ok maybe not)

    going along with my first paragraph trucks are easier to rebuild because there is less junk.

    The stupid stupid bad stupid bad bad bad invention of the FWD car has really killed life expectancy of cars. it is a pain to do any little maintenance item, its easier to junk a hond than try to change the spark plugs.

    and it is just more exeptable to drive an older truck, nobody wants to drive an 81 Chevy car, but a chevy pickup heck who wouldn't?

    also about mechanical ability it is very true, go over to the car boards everyone tries to act like they are some car god and drive some bimmer that had great handling or whatever but couldn't change a spark plug. and getting an engine out of a FWD car, what a nightmare.

    most trucks are American, which in my opinion American vehicles are built a lot tougher, construction wise they are beefier, they may have a panel gap 1/32 bigger than the japanese but its made out of steel not plastic,
    you can bang out a dent in a truck.
    and its always cheaper to get American vehicle parts, so to keep these trucks running doesn't take much money for parts.

    and last but not least (I can list more but I'm tired. duct tape and bailing wire cna be used on trucks.
  • eric2001eric2001 Posts: 482
    Where roadsalt eats through the undercarriage, unibody vehicles tend not to last as long as a full framed vehicle, not to mention that the frames seem to "weather" better than unibody. I have seen 25 year old trucks with no frame deterioration, and 10 year old cars with the sub-framing rotting though.
  • mrurlmrurl Posts: 116
    Unibodies just don't last, and it is almost impossible to fix one.

    Front wheel drive vehicles are harder to work on. I would rather change the oil, filter, tranny fluid and tranny filter in my Sierra than just get the oil filter off of my daughter's Accord.

  • sf0383sf0383 Posts: 204
    I think it mainly has to do with the fact that trucks are built heavier to do more than most cars and then when they aren't pushed to the limit they last longer. For example, how many 1/2 ton pickups do you see hauling a 1/2 ton on a regular basis. They have to be built to be ABLE to do it but truth is, most don't. The work trucks that ARE expected to work are considered by their owners to be 'equipment' and as such are usually maintained better. Then again we could get into how many women drive pickups as their primary vehicle but that would just start a fight.
  • cp4hcp4h Posts: 18
    This thread is becoming interesting.

    I am not a mechanic, but I know one of the reason some older trucks last long (such as the old dodge ram or pre-Ford mazda B series) is because they have real simple mechnical components. Everybody can fix these trucks.

    Nowadays, with computer control multiple valves engines, electronic fuel injection, ABS brakes, etc., i wonder if the new generation of trucks will last as long as the old ones. They might become too expensive to fix after a decade of use.
  • as long as they don't start putting that VVT BS in trucks we should be alright, if you look under the hood of a silverado it is still a lot simpler than many other cars.

    I thought that too till I went to mexico and found a lot of beat early 90's Chevy and Ford bombing around, and I know they don't have very much money to buy computers.
  • BTW pre ford mazda were piles, we had a courier when I was young and it was a piece of junk, my parents gave up on it and my friend and I got to play with it take bolts out etc lol that was great!
  • mrurlmrurl Posts: 116
    The trucks were great. I had a 1987 B2200 that was running great until 1997. I's probably still be driving it if someone hadn't run a red light at 35 mph and totalled it.

  • warfishwarfish Posts: 117
    I had one and it was a hot rod. The only problem I ever had was keeping my big right foot out of that huge 4 barrel carburator. If I tried real had to be good the mileage wasn't bad, but mostly it was pretty poor for that small truck, but GOD, was it fun to drive. When I traded it in after 5 NY winters it was still solid.
  • tomh12tomh12 Posts: 240
    Many good points made here...

    Another reason is the used car dealer network. As long as a dealer can fix a truck and sell it for enough profit to justify his investment, he will. This continues with pickups for many more years than cars. Cars reach the point of being worth more for salvage parts than resale, much sooner. Buyers will pay for the utility of a used truck regardless of its looks.
  • jim4444jim4444 Posts: 124
    Dont forget farmers and people who plow snow in the winter.

    Someone brought up a good point about how trucks CAN haul a certain amount but usually dont until the weekends.

    My 2 cents is this: change the spark plugs on a V6 or V8 in a truck and then try to change the spark plugs on a V6 or V8 FWD car, you will soon see how frustrating it can be.
  • cth7312cth7312 Posts: 18
    Even FAD Cars can last as long (if not longer than) trucks. I've got a 1987 Mazda 626 w/ over 200k and never had major problems w/ it. While my friends 1989 Chevy v6 has needed a rebuild for LONG time, and he never got close to the MPG I get even now, 29/35.
  • cth7312cth7312 Posts: 18
    FAD = FWD


  • rubicon52rubicon52 Posts: 191
    1. Trucks are built to last a long time carrying large loads. Because I carry no load about 90% of the time, my truck is not very stressed - sort of like the careful driver who accelerates and brakes slowly.

    2. The basis trucks I buy are simpler than most cars. For example, the power door lock switch failed in my Camry. However, my Tacoma doesn't have power door locks and so can never experience this kind of failure.
  • cp4hcp4h Posts: 18
    For some reason a lot of people don't mind being seen in a beat up looking truck. While many people feel embarassed being seen in an awful looking car.

    I think it is an interesting phenomena.
This discussion has been closed.