So I'm about to embark on a hunt for my first truck.. I'm getting tired of driving the ol' sedan around and begging for rides to shows. I have access to a trailer, but it really is time for me to find a proper towing vehicle. I've decided I don't want to pay insurance on 2 vehicles, so my 13 year old car will be sold. My commute to work is only about 15 minutes, and the horses are at home, so I think it makes decent sense that it will be my only vehicle. I will be putting around 4-5k down and financing the rest, not looking finance more than 10k.
What I will be towing is a small 2 horse for now, and down the road I'd like to find a gooseneck, but I am in no hurry what so ever. More than likely will be having 2 horses in it going to the shows. I've heard people say that a Ford F150 or a Chevy 1500 wouldn't be enough, so am I right to consider something larger? Any advantage to buying from a dealer vs. private party? (Though I have heard that depending on the age of the vehicle, some banks won't finance a PP buy, and a loan would be considered 'personal'). I hear Diesels are more expensive to fix (?) Any other first time buyer tips?
My personal opinion is to have more truck than you think you need. My first truck was used, I had my trusted mechanic go to the auctions and buy it for me. It was a one-ton gas hog, but since it was not a full time vehicle, that was fine with me. Second truck I bought (custom order) brand new from the dealer, I'm still driving it 8 years later - a 2500HD to pull a two horse BP with dressing room (all steel).
I don't have any advice on dealer vs private party, hopefully other folks can chime in on that part.
There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams
I know you're looking for truck specifications and so on, but, regarding the purchase of any vehicle, I'd suggest that before you buy (or sell), check out www.carbuyingtips.com. I have no connection to the site other than finding it a wonderful resource when I last bought and sold a vehicle.
No matter who you buy the truck from, have it inspected by a good mechanic before you commit to it. Also, be careful with dealers because most of them know nothing about towing a horse trailer and will tell you what you want to hear in order to make a sale.
I looked at trucks via dealers and private parties and ended up buying via a PP which was a much simpler transaction.
Tips: do not rely on what the salesman says about towing capacity, the presence of a tow package, etc.
A Ford 150 or Chevy 1500 can be fine for a 2-horse bumper pull, depending on the engine size, tow package, axle ratio, etc. Buy or borrow Neve Scheve's (sp?) book on trailering, which explains what you need in a truck and all the variables you have to think about.
...somewhere between the talent and the potato....
I agree with those who suggest you buy a little more truck than you think you might need.
Personally I have an F250 SRW 4WD- one of the wonderful older powerstroke diesels. They are more expensive to buy (and to service) than gas engines BUT ... they also have more towing power; it is not at all unusual to get 250k -300k miles out of a well maintained diesel engine, and often more. I pull my 2 +1 GN with a dressing room and even fully loaded, the truck handles it easily.
I got a long bed because I didn't want to worry about bumping my truck with the peak of the gooseneck in tight turns, and selected an extended rather than crew cab since I am almost always by myself and didn't need a ton of "back seat" room.
Definitely have a "PPE" done on whatever truck you buy if you go used. You would be amazed at what they come up with! For around $150-200, you will find out exactly what sort of condition the vehicle is in and maybe get a little bargaining power with your seller.
I looked at both PP and dealer sales and purchased my truck from a small used car dealer in NY. The owner is a horseman and was super helpful - he installed my GN hitch and has offered great service since I purchased the truck.
Happy truck shopping
********** We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
Thanks for the wonderful tips everyone! Yes, I will definitely do a truck PPE. Have a great mechanic I completely trust. My route will be for something used, and think I will be concentrating on a 250 or 2500. For those of you who bought in a PP sale or small dealer sale, and got a loan, was it able to be considered an auto loan or a personal loan? My credit is excellent, hopefully this process will go smoothly!
The only thing to consider with a 250 is how you can register it. I will be getting the 150 with the bigger engine/higher axle ratio for a 2 horse because it will be my only vehicle. I found out that (at least in NY) a 250 must be registered commercial unless it has a full cap. There are many parkways and other roads around here that do not allow commercial vehicles- including the one to the tack shop, and one of my ways to work. It just wouldn't work for me to have a vehicle that could only go on half the highways.