10 Best Used Trucks Under $5,000
If you’re looking for a used pickup truck, there’s no shortage of available models out there. The challenge is sifting through all of your options while sticking to a budget. The good news is that we’re here to help. Here is a list of 10 solid pre-owned candidates that cost less than $5,000. In this price range, trucks often have a lot of miles on them, and some have been used for hard work, but if you do your homework, you can find a capable, reliable pickup that can get the job done.
If you’re looking for an honest, no-frills truck that can serve as reliable transportation, the 2004 Nissan Frontier is worth consideration. You can choose between King Cab (extended cab) or Crew Cab models with a choice of two bed lengths, and there’s even a supercharged option for King Cab models. It’s likely that if you’re looking for a sub-$5,000 Frontier, you’ll find a 2-wheel-drive King Cab shortbed.
With the downsized look and ability of the Chevy Silverado, the Colorado can provide truck capability and squared-off good looks in a package easily parked in your garage. With a choice of 4- or 5-cylinder engines, you get better fuel economy, too – as good as 25 mpg on the highway. You might even be able to find a Colorado with an off-road or street-biased suspension package that’s within your budget.
Even when the Ram was still known as the Dodge Ram, the company’s commitment to comfort and refinement was apparent. Dodge trucks began a transformation from pure truck utility to best-in-class luxury in the early 2000s. This pickup is plenty capable, too: it can haul up to 8,600 pounds. For less than $5,000, you can get into the 2003 half-ton Ram, with a 4.7-liter V8; getting a Ram with the 5.7-liter Hemi would cost about $750 more.
2003 GMC Sierra 1500
The 2003 model year marked the start of that generation of the half-ton GMC Sierra. The makeover expanded the truck’s people-friendly options, like ride quality and more upscale interior amenities, without sacrificing capability. There are three engines to choose from, including a fuel-efficient 4.3-liter V6.
If you want more capability than GMC’s half-ton truck, there’s the GMC Sierra 2500 HD. The ¾-ton Sierra has often been on the podium for KBB’s 5-Year Cost to Own Awards, thanks in no small part to its reliability. Spending less time with your truck at the shop means more time your truck can tow, haul and do whatever else you ask of it. You can find a Work Truck model regular cab with a 6.0-liter V8 for less than $5,000; you have to spend a little more to get the 8.1-liter V8 or the 6.6-liter turbodiesel.
Chevrolet’s pickups aren’t necessary flashy, but they quietly work behind the scenes getting the job done. They're available in a wide array of cab sizes, bed lengths, and engines, and with some research you should be able to find the combination that best suits your needs. Within this price range, you’re likely to find a regular cab longbed powered by a 4.3-liter V6.
The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck – and vehicle – in America for decades, and you can find a 2004 model for less than $5,000. The company’s “Built Ford Tough” tag line is backed up by the reliability of its pickups. The 2004 F-150 comes with either a 4.6- or 5.4-liter V8, plus a new, more square body style that foreshadowed the design of future F-150s. If you prefer the rounded lines of the previous generation, you can opt for the same model year F-150 Heritage Edition and still not go over on your budget.
Despite being off the market for eight years (only just returning to America for 2019), Ford Rangers are everywhere. Credit the Ranger’s durability and reliability. The tough compact runabout truck comes with a choice of 4- and 6-cylinder engines, and its tidy footprint makes it easy to park and to use in the city. Another big plus: since this Ranger stayed essentially the same mechanically for over a decade, parts should be fairly easy to come by.
Sizewise, it’s slightly smaller than the same vintage Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram, but the first generation of the Toyota Tundra boasts fantastic reliability and impressive capability, as it can tow more than 7,000 pounds. Its go-anywhere tough truck nature, rock-solid V6 and V8 engines, and comfortable ride earned it a loyal fan base.
If you’re looking for a reliable used truck, the Tacoma is a safe bet. Ever since the Tacoma first came on the market, its reliability, off-road capability, and small, easy-to-maneuver size have made this compact Toyota a favorite – and the best-selling truck in its segment. This model year marks the first time the Tacoma was offered as a crew cab. It’s powered by either a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or a 3.4-liter V6 and is offered with a choice of three cabs.