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Hagerty Employee

Ask Jack: Time to shuck the truck? | Hagerty Media

Not since the Model T called it quits have we had a vehicle as perfectly suited for so many Americans as today's domestic half-ton can claim to be. They last a quarter-million miles without significant expense, are gentle on their consumables, and are adaptable for most conceivable needs from suburban commuting to skilled trades.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/advice/ask-jack-time-to-shuck-the-truck/
45 REPLIES 45
DUB6
Technician

   I agree.  An SUV is never a great replacement - usability-wise - for a pick-up truck.  Sure, one can get a utility trailer to pull that might hold as much as a Silverado, but then you've gotta find a place to keep a trailer, license it, and unless you are proficient already, learn how to tow and back it.  And there will STILL be times when the trailer is a poor substitute (like tight places).  Plus, a lease comes to an end - and you own nothing.  So then what, start all over with another lease?  I get it that owning a vehicle involves depreciation, but at least you have a title - but more importantly, you have A TRUCK!  So unless you live somewhere and in a situation where hauling stuff is NEVER a need, keep the truck.  I've not been without one in my stable for about 40 years, and although it's worth spit right now, my old Dodge will be used more days this summer than my SUV...

Tim
Instructor

I disagree. An SUV may never be a great replacement *for you*, but it could be a great replacement for someone else. If someone isn't using a pickup truck for the features that require one, then other vehicles could be a great replacement. Examples:

Someone who never really hauls anything except maybe once a year when you buy a new appliance. Paying for delivery is cheaper.

Someone who isn't using the truck bed for things that require a truck bed. If it's not going to mess up the cargo area of an SUV and it fits, an SUV can do the job.

Someone who doesn't tow substantially much and/or often. Let's face it, you don't need an F-150 to tow a 3,500 pound boat and trailer.

Someone who just needs a friend who owns a truck to let them borrow it on occasion. Gas money and some beer is way cheaper than actually owning a truck.
DUB6
Technician

   I concede the point, but many of the responders are ignoring a crucial point: he's not talking about buying an SUV - he's talking about leasing one.  Totally different value equation.  When you lease, at the tail end, you owe a residual (unless leasing has really changed since I last did it).  And of course, they will want you to lease a new one.  Or they will grudgingly sell you the one you just finished paying for but don't own.  At least, if he keeps the truck, when his payments are over, he'll own something - and that something might be valuable (as someone else pointed out).  Another person pointed out that he bought a truck for a reason - I would like to give him credit and say it was because he wanted/needed a truck.  Now true, if he doesn't any longer want or need one, maybe he should be downsizing - and yes, possibly a small SUV would meet his needs.  He didn't state that his needs have changed, but I'll give that some cred.  Still, deciding to lease a German luxury SUV in order to cash in on his truck's value doesn't seem to fit the criteria that he's "just adjusting to his needs".  So Tim, I'll stick with my viewpoint and concede that you have your differing one - but as I read the story, I don't think that yours fits particularly well in this case...  😉

Tim
Instructor

I 100% agree that leasing a vehicle is generally not a good idea. It's just a way to hide the fact that you are paying more for a vehicle. I've never leased a vehicle, as I generally prefer to keep them until they die (or a family member kills them). Purchased vehicles also make great hand-me-down vehicles for kids leaving the nest.

 

I think what Jack and I were saying was essentially the same thing: one should really look at how a vehicle (particularly a truck) has been and will be used to determine if it still makes sense to own. The older the truck, the more it probably fits the "it's worth more to me than someone else" category. Which explains how we've had the same F150 in our family for over 17 years. 🙂

 

I think if Brian's truck was older and paid for, his answer would be different. I also don't necessarily think his trade proposition makes much sense to me. But maybe he's tired of the way the truck drives during his daily solo commutes and imagines something more enjoyable, if certainly not less expensive to own.

 

compaqdeskpro
Intermediate Driver

Trading a Chevy truck for a German SUV? That is insanity. That truck will still be worth more when the market crashes. When the Mercedes's turbo blows up in five years, or a dealer replaceable only computer fails in it out of warranty, or it's time for several thousand dollars of tires and brakes, you won't be able to give it away.
GoFast
Detailer

I suggest it's time to order a Ford F-150 Lightning. We all know it strikes way more than twice.
hyperv6
Gearhead

Truck values have always trended higher than most vehicles. Even when the market returns you will still get more for the truck.

German SUV models all suffer the same depreciation as the German luxury cars suffer.

The key to satisfaction is to buy the type of vehicle you need vs the one that appears to be a good deal.

 

I have a crew cab I love. I could sell it at 3 years old for nearly what I paid. But I looked around there is nothing I want more than a C8. But no deals or available cars there. 

ATLpaul
Intermediate Driver

In my opinion one key data point relative to this story which is missing is Brian's age. If Brian has another 20 working years ahead of him, he needs a new ride in about five years time if he does not trade in his Silverado now. So, I think your brother has a valid point. Sell high, and then don't buy. If he wants something as usable as a full size SUV, let him lease. Pocket the money. In five years, he can decide if SUV life is for him or not or if he needs to get back to American iron truck.

On the other hand, if he is near 60, I definitely would shy away from trading for new vehicle. Keep what you have and even if you put 2000 a year into it, you are so far ahead of if you try to purchase anything new.

One side note, full size American (GM) SUVs are even hotter than American trucks. In Atlanta market I went to a GMC and a Chevy dealer two weekends ago. Combined, I found ONE new GMC Yukon SLT. Priced at 72,000 and then added on top 3,000 dealer add ons (think Nitrogen air and tinted window) and then another 10,000 market adjustment 🙂 . These are two of the biggest dealers in northeast Atlanta (Gwinnett) area I know, and it is amazing how empty their lots are (BTW, there were zero Silverados on the Chevy lot, but several brand new GMC Sierras).
BMD4800
Instructor

Why will he need a new truck in 5 years? My older 80s square bodies lasted much longer than 8-10 years. Rust? Maybe, if one doesn’t stay up on it.

Oh, he will WANT a new truck in about 5 years. Yes, quite true. Technology is the best part of planned obsolescence.

But functionally, that truck with love and care should be able to run 25 years.

Want? Sure. Need? Probably not.

Don’t be fooled into rationalizing poor financial decisions. Just be honest, you want it. For now, that’s still okay.

My in-laws: why do you have a truck just for hunting and off-roading, a 700hp POS, and some old Buick’s? Because I want them.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to go stoke the tire-fire.
Nick_D
Intermediate Driver

Damn. This could be my question. About once a week I price out my truck on the internet sites, used about 15% of the time for real truck stuff (towing RVs, hauling, race support and tow pig). It's also a fantastic road tripper and returns only about 1mpg less than my Odyssey van. I've got half an idea to trade both truck and Odyssey in for an SUV for my spouse, but no 3-row SUV offers the utility of a van and a truck.
Tim
Instructor

If you are using your truck 15% of the time for "truck stuff," that's an argument to keep it. That's a pretty high percentage for non-work trucks.

BMD4800
Instructor

If you can live a one car life, maybe. We tried the 1 car life with the off-road truck for me, but it really boiled down to as more we tried to get the perfect 1 vehicle the less areas it was great and more it was just okay.
I’ve said this before, for many folks, a midsized truck is going to be perfect. A Ridgeline is a good concept vehicle, but make no mistakes- you can’t make a Ridgeline a 3/4 ton or a Raptor, AND your wife is probably going to curse you the first time she has to park the 20 foot long full sized crew cab at the kid’s school.
Germanicus
Intermediate Driver

Now is a great time to trade in your vehicle, but only if you have a good idea of what to trade it in for. While this tip won't help the LW, the new car market is much friendlier than the new light truck market. The Honda dealer offered me an Accord at invoice, and I bought a Mazda 3 Turbo for $4K off MSRP.
miata93
Intermediate Driver

The Mazda 3 turbo is a real hidden gem. I just bought one for MSRP after trading in a 15 year old beater Prius and receiving the Mazda customer loyalty rebate. The trade-in and rebate paid the taxes, licensing and doc fees. This is a better car than my former Audi A6 turbo at half the price.

 

OldFordMan
Detailer

KEEP THE DANG TRUCK!
wdb
Detailer

Downgrade the pickup. Sell it, and buy another one with more miles and less glitz. Pay for it in full, right up front. Get that monthly monkey off your back. It's amazing what you can do with that kind of free cash each month.
Swamibob
Instructor

Here, Here!
DUB6
Technician

I think aa luxury German SUV lease payment is gonna be a pretty big monkey - which i what he's professing as his plan of action!

DougL
Intermediate Driver

Have you looked at the used pickup market lately? They are offering stupid money to buy him out of his current truck. And that truck is almost 4 years old with 45,000 miles. Older trucks are very expensive.
Tim
Instructor

This situation is a parallel of what is happening in the housing market right now. The price of his truck may be higher, but so is the price of anything that he would replace with it. So, unless the plan is to downsize (in auto-speak, purchase a less-expensive vehicle or no replacement at all), nothing is really gained in the transaction. And with the market as tight as it is, simply *finding* a suitable replacement could be much more difficult than anticipated.
OldFordMan
Detailer

No matter what OTHER vehicles I might have, I am ALWAYS gonna have my FORD TRUCK.
God Bless the SUV drivers (Soccer Moms and all)!
wentwest
Intermediate Driver

We're having the same conversations, only about our houses in the San Francisco area. The problem comes from the fact that you bought the truck because you wanted a truck, not as an investment. Most of us who talk on this site are people who are vehicle owners because we like them and we use them, and the investment angle is annoying because it raises the prices of the toys we want. There's always that question - "What do I replace the truck with?"

If you want to invest in American pickups, do it in the Fall when the makers are catching up and the buying frenzy has run down some. They will be worth more in a few years as the electric revolution continues. One day in the next 10 years we won't be able to buy a V8 anything, and thousands of pickup lovers are going to want to buy one of the 2022 Fords or Chevys or Rams in the barn you filled.
Swamibob
Instructor

Love the article Jack!

It is an interesting conundrum. I drive old vehicles, so having a payment for a vehicle is anathema to my normal function, but i do understand. If I had that sort of cash available on the table, I'd sell the truck, pocket as much cash as possible and go buy an old Chevy LUV 4wd. They are an excellent small truck with had a very good 4wd system and can even tow a trailer. They might be a bit hard to find, but when you find one, you would have plenty of money to outfit the interior and whatever else you might want to do to it and still have a ton of money to bank.
And, when people ask; you could tell them you're: " all about the LUV ". You could even invite them to 'feel the LUV', like you did. You could even say, while you put your arms around the little truck, you just had to 'embrace the LUV.
🙂
It's a thought. I'm just here to spread the LUV. 🙂
OldCarMan
Instructor

A guy I worked with who had a horse farm said: "The ONLY reason to buy a pickup is to haul manure!". Judging by all of the non-trade pickups I see out there, I have to agree. If you need to haul stuff, a van is the best solution. Unfortunately all of the vans now are made elsewhere, with dubious reliability and values. If you want to haul people AND stuff, a minivan is still the Swiss Army Knife of vehicles. Not the questionable design Asian copies, but the real deal, once derisively called Soccer Mom cars. Now THE Soccermom Utility Vehicle IS the S.U.V. So many are wanna-be Jeep Cherokees, that likely will never even see a dirt road, but make cute commercials with dogs driving.
BMD4800
Instructor

Unless one gets a Quigley, vans are terrible off road.

Unless one gets a HD old school E350 or 3500, towing capacity is very low. 1 ton vans stink for hauling people.

I have zero hesitation throwing a short block, axle housings, anything else in the bed of the truck. The SUV or mini-van? Well….

SUV seats 5 adults, truck 6 adults.
SUV can tow 7200, truck 14k?, idk, it’s a lot.
Minivan rental - seats more, 3rd row is for kids, really still only 4 adults. It could haul a decent amount of stuff, but it got 1 mpg better than the SUV on the “mom loop”, and 1-2 mpg LESS on the highway.

Minivan can’t pull a wet stick out of a dog’s (rear), especially when loaded with a family and gear.

Minivan is gutless and Rev-happy in the Rocky Mountains.

Get what you want, but I sure like being able to haul the family, gear, and the 4K folding camper up to Flagstaff at 65 mph.
DUB6
Technician

I have a pickup - AND I sometimes haul manure in it.  Guess I'm doin' it right.

richard2
Intermediate Driver

Good timing on the article. I've done all three (lease is #3). I have a 2008 Ranger FX4, and I would gladly trade it on on a new Ranger, except all Ford sells now is 'not-a-ranger' things. I'm not losing the V6 for a turbo 4 - ever. Worse, the pricing is just stupid. I can buy a 4x4 F150 for just $1000 more than the FX4 pretend Ranger, and the F150 has a proper engine (V8 eco-boost). So I guess I'm keeping the 2008 for some time to come.

But my wife needed a new car. Except they don't sell cars anymore - at least not ones with a proper transmission (auto, not CVT).

So we ended up buying her a new Mazda CX-5 SUV. It has a proper engine and transmission (no turbo), and all the features she wanted to replace her 2004 sedan. We both love it.

As to buying, I leased a car once back in 1991, and it was one of the stupidest things I ever did. I basically paid full price for the car (Honda Civic Si) on the lease, then when it came time to turn it in they offered it to me at almost full retail price. No way I would pay DOUBLE for a car, so leases are stupid economics for most folks.

The other problem with the lease is you have to be VERY CAREFUL how you maintain the leased auto. For most people that means 'dealer service' at $$$ compared to doing it your self. But I was warned - "non authorized service can jeopardize your warranty under lease". Now that my have not been true, but who is going to risk it?
Orict0015668
Pit Crew

Having owned both SUVs and Pickup trucks, As far as an everyday vehicle, I prefer and SUV. Previously, my first foray into the market was 1991 Ford Bronco, later traded in on a 2002 Ford Expedition.In 2003 I purchased a Ford F-150 extended cab with a 6.5 foot bed, which I sold in 2015. All of these vehicles serves]d me well and, after being without a capable hauler, I purchased a 1989 Ford F-150 to fill the void. Presently I own a 2017 Ford Expedition, and being able to comfortably transport family is more important that the hauling capability. In the event I do need to haul anything substantial, I can drop th e rear and center rows, handling the occasional load of lumber for projects. In either case, both are invaluable to those that own and use them. Oh, and being able to fit my 6’4” inch 250lb body into drivers seat without getting leg cramps on long trips is an added bonus!!!
deckerbilt
Intermediate Driver

I have a 2018 F150 that is only days away from lease ending. When I got it, I had intended on buying it in the end; I had never leased before and just wanted to see what it was like (didn't like it as I felt I didn't really own it).

Received several emails from dealer stating they wanted my truck. Went in to see them a month or so ago and they were willing to drop the last 2 or 3 lease payments, forgive the excess (about 8000 miles at $.25), AND give me some cash (about a grand) if I turned it in early. As enticing as it all seemed, I use my truck as a truck and didn't want to wait another 9 (likely much more) weeks to order a new one (ordering EXACTLY what options you want is so much better than settling).

I am here on Hagerty because I also own a sports car that offsets some of the mileage I would otherwise put on my truck. I love the extremes of my two vehicles, big vs small, practical vs fun. I can't say if someone else should keep a vehicle or not; too many variables. but for me, the truck is going to stay.
deckerbilt
Intermediate Driver

BTW, it surprises me how many people are so concerned about turning in a leased vehicle with excess mileage at $.25 a mile. They never took the total of their down payment & lease payments and divided it by their allowed mileage. It ends up costing A LOT MORE per mile for the initial lease agreement terms (more than double in my case).
86
Intermediate Driver

The American consumer might not be as stupid as the American media make them out to be but it appears that they are as easily susceptible to manipulative advertising as the automakers believe them to be. From what he says, Brian is probably in the minority of truck owners who actually have a legitimate need for such a vehicle. Trucks and SUVs have transcended their original design purpose to become de facto daily drivers for persons who rarely use them for anything other than getting from point A to point B. Their preponderance on the roads reinforces what seems to have become something of an American ethos - bigger is better. For everyone who doesn't subscribe to such automotive gluttony they can be intimidating vehicles to be around, which for some, I suspect is the reason they drive one.
BMD4800
Instructor

Tough stuffing a decent sized mule deer into a xB or little wagon.

Granted, you can rent a 4x4 truck, but if you read the rental contract, off-road and hunting invalidate the agreement. Forget about towing or banging up the bed.

I don’t think trucks are a manifestation of the bigger is better ethos. Rather, they are the manifestation of the fundamental spirit of independence, self reliance and determination that is still dominant in many parts of the US.

Thanks, largely to EPA CAFE regulations, trucks are popular because cars are largely small, cramped, gutless, Tupperware with about as much soul as a bag of white flour.

And this is from a guy who isn’t a truck fan. I have them out of necessity.

86
Intermediate Driver

I thought I made the distinction between those who have a need for these vehicles and those that prefer them just for their size. Your opening statement is a repulsive rationale for owning one but it relates to what you say they are the manifestation of, and those are the very qualities that automakers use to try to lure people into buying one. The people that I know who own a truck/SUV don't have them out of necessity. I'd be willing to bet that the majority of the trucks/SUVs that clutter the urban/suburban roadways that I travel have never been off-road nor ever will be, and they're rarely stuffed with anything other than one person driving like they're late for work. God help the small, cramped, gutless, Tupperware drivers they crash into.
BMD4800
Instructor

Brian isn’t really making a “profit”, he’s simply pulling the equity at liquidation. You see, he didn’t “pay” for it, he’s making payments. With the payments comes interest and that, over 36 months, isn’t factored.

So, with that logic, the monthly outflow for the SUV seems reasonable. From a bottom line simple accounting standpoint, he gets some cash and a new SUV, for no additional monthly outlay.

Except…

The truck had equity. The monthly payment was likely increasing the equity stake faster than depreciation, thus each month he had a net gain in value, even as the market value decreases. At some point after the truck note is paid off, the depreciation curve will plateau.

Conversely with any lease, first and foremost there is no equity. Ever. Secondly, your lease payment covers the depreciation of the machine. Finally, at the end of the lease period, if you are very good and very careful, you can have no fees, but likely you’ll have those too. You will have paid all that money out, and have nothing to show for it.

So, keep the truck, pay it off, invest the payment money. Heck, just save it. And next time pay CASH. Depreciation doesn’t matter as much when you own it.
danio3834
Intermediate Driver

I'm in the same boat with my 2018 Longhorn, which only has 40,000km on it after 3 years. Dealers have similar trucks with double the mileage advertised for $10,000 more than I paid for it new 3 years ago. The problem is, what to replace it with?
Sajeev
Community Manager

The answer is a cheap car until truck production comes back fully. Provided you can do your job/hobbies/etc with a cheap car, of course! 

DUB6
Technician

Yeah, we've all seen examples where someone unbolted the trunk lid - maybe even torch-cut the entire body from the front seats back - in order to have some hauling space in some cheap car.  Especially good if you do indeed have some manure to haul.  😂

miata93
Intermediate Driver

Production will eventually return but it probably will not make a difference in the high prices. Used vehicles will still be at premium prices because the manufacturers have already proven that they can price gouge on the new ones. The new car prices won't fall all that much if at all. Just buy what you really want now and take the hit up front.

JRJones
Intermediate Driver

An ownership factor of significance is missing here but hey, who's counting? My 15 year old pick-up with 185K sits in the driveway I have owned for 33 years. The truck is expected to be serviceable for another 65K, then maybe I'll turn it over. I paid cash for the truck. The driveway (and all that goes with it) has been mortgage free for 18 years. Market recovery? Meh. Housing crisis? So what?
Brian did not question about buying a truck $20K under MSRP? (mendacity suggested retail price) I run away from sales pitches like that.
Brian has paid the bank (or GMIC, or GE) to use their money for three years. $8K? Maybe.
A lease? Pride of ownership, or at least a facsimile thereof, while he pizzes it all away.
I am not rich, and I never act that way, but I purchase analytically and I make D-sure I do not function above my pay grade with borrowed money. Now I don't have to be rich.
DUB6
Technician

   Yes, there is a VERY old fashioned POV that says something like "buy what you need, pay for it without borrowing (or at least limit the borrowing then quickly pay off your debt), and treat what you own with respect - show some pride of ownership".  But just as we were learning that way of life, credit cards, planned obsolescence, and conspicuous consumerism reared their ugly heads.  Partnered with "keeping up with the Joneses (no offense JRJones, but that's how the saying goes)" and "he with the most toys wins".

   I've no problem with running my truck for 200K miles.  And I use it as a truck, not a status symbol.  My home is paid for, as are my vehicles.  A lease made sense for me once for business purposes, but from a private vehicle standpoint, it is, as you said JRJones, pizzing it away.

   But as I look not only around the roads I drive on, but heck even just my own neighborhood, I realize that those concepts I wrote in the first paragraph are not very doggone prevalent nowadays.

JRJones
Intermediate Driver

It is my memory that vehicle leases (truck or car) were intended to service businesses and business persons to write-off on taxes as an expense.

Our shared vehicle philosophy is most effective if our purchases are informed by research and a laudable reputation. Obviously resale value is not as important, but it usually goes with a reliable vehicle. A German SUV? Well the lease is not a bad idea in that regard.

DUB6
Technician

Not sure if it's the lease that's the bad idea or the German SUV, but I'm pretty sure I don't want either one of 'em.  😄

You are correct that leases were originally intended for businesses.  But nearly every vehicle ad I see now - and they are directed at regular Janes and Joes, not businesses - put some lease options out there.  And the more expensive the vehicle, the more the lease is pushed, it seems.  It's like the old cigarette and alcohol ads, IMO, in that it's aimed at convincing younger folks that it's cool to have a "XYZ (insert fancy auto brand name here)", and here's a way "you can afford one", because lease payments sound cheaper - and it's "only for 3 years!"

JRJones
Intermediate Driver

Dub,

My buddy Russ leased a VW diesel for his wife, and the dealer was very gracious about him bringing it back. (no hurry) I wonder how that used inventory is moving? 

Helilog61
New Driver

An SUV would work but only if it is already a bit of a beater inside. Throw a bike in the back? Furniture? Big stuff in general? It’ll all fit no problem but the interior will get scratched, probably gouged, in the process. If the answer to that is using protection like blankets and such then you’re going to get fed up with that soon enough. Keep the truck.
Gary_Bechtold
Technician

The question is are you really cashing in if you are spending money on the flip side? I have been in my house for just over a year and in that time my house value has skyrocketed. According to my realtor I can sell my house for $100-$150k above what I "paid" for the house. That is insane to see how much it exploded in less than a years time.  It sounds great to sell except for on the flip side I probably will lose it all on the "purchase" side of the equation if I stay in the Austin suburban area. So unless I'm willing to move to the country (I'd actually be ok with this) or to another state the actual "cash" is all virtual and will never appear. Having said that I did sell off my 3 year lease 2018 Lexus IS 350 F Sport that I leased. Selling it got me 61% of what I paid over the 3 years to lease the car. So basically I had a nice sporty Lexus for under $2300 a year. Crazy times. I am waiting on the Lexus IS 500 to come out this fall so that's when I intend to jump back in but no need to rush since we both work from home and I still have the wife's 2013 IS 350 and I have my 1997 Supra Turbo. So it's not like I don't have a car right now.