Ford F-150
Car Reviews

Buying a Used Ford F-150: What You Need to Know

By Mike Richards Updated: 06/09/2023 Posted: 12/13/2018

The F-150 is the most popular model in the Ford F-series, which has been in the market since 1947. It may be difficult to pick which specific version of the F-150 is better for you, as there are many to choose from.  So, before opting for a used Ford F-150, you need to decide what is most important for you: the performance of the truck (including towing and hauling) or the luxurious style of the truck.

The Changes the F-150 Has Undergone over the Years

The Ford F-series has had 13 generations, with the latest having been unveiled in 2015. You need to know the added features to be able to make an informed decision on which generation of the F-150 you should buy. For example, if you would like a truck with excellent towing and hauling capabilities, you need to look for a used F-150 that was released in 2011 or later.

If you will be driving on terrains that demand a powerful vehicle, the F-150 Raptor would be an excellent choice. If technology is a priority for you, consider the 2013 model, where Ford introduced Xenon headlights, hill descent control and the MyFord Touch infotainment system in 2013.

The current generation of the F-150 has reinforced frames. The steel used is high-strength combined with light aluminum alloy body panels. This has reduced the weight of the vehicle by 700 pounds. Some of the features that make this generation of the F-150 unique include better hauling capabilities, better fuel efficiency, and enhanced towing.

Ford American Car

The cabin sizes have also changed over time. You need to determine the space you need before buying a used Ford F-150. The cabin sizes available are 5.5 ft., 6.5 ft., and eight ft., depending on the which of the six available trims you choose.

2017 Best Car for the Money Awards: Ford F-150 was named best full-size truck.

Trims Available in the Ford F-150

Ford F-150 XL

If you are looking for an F-150 that has great performance as well as excellent hauling and towing capabilities but is lacking in technology, the XL trim is the one for you. This trim has none of the tech fittings available in some of the other trims. However, it can tow or haul a heavy load easily.

Ford F-150 XLT

This trim has basic tech features. They include voice controls and an infotainment system. It comes fitted with a 110-volt power outlet similar to outlets found in households. You can use this to charge your power tools. Just like the XL, this trim is great for towing and hauling.

Ford F-150 Lariat

With this trim, the F-150 starts getting a little luxurious. A key feature that makes this trim stand out is its lavish interior with leather seats. The seats are also ventilated should you need to cool off. It also has LED lights that give this truck a modern and high-end look. If you live in areas where visibility is an issue, this trim is an excellent choice.

Ford F-150 Raptor

This trim is an excellent performer off-road. It handles difficult terrains with ease because of its upgraded engine. The 2010 Raptor has a 5.4L V8 engine that cranks out 310hp. In 2011, Ford introduced the option of having a 6.2L V8 with a 411hp. Both engines were paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. This engine was upgraded even further in 2017, with the 6.5L V8 engine being replaced by a 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 that has a horsepower of 450. A 10-speed automatic transmission accompanied this engine upgrade.

Ford F-150 Platinum

The F-150 Platinum fits perfectly in the modern setting. It is stylish with an interior that is nothing short of luxurious. The leather upholstery is upgraded from the other trims. It is also fitted with navigation assist technology and an adjustable steering wheel. The exterior and interior of this Ford are undoubtedly impressive. Before 2017, this trim was part of the Super Duty trucks. However, in 2017, it was introduced as a separate trim.

Ford F-150 Limited

This truck has all the features of the other trims. However, it has some exclusive features such as the 22-inch wheels and a wood trim interior. The F-150 Limited also comes fitted with safety features like the 360 degrees camera system, which is standard for this trim. In the other trims, this feature is bought as an extra.

Things to Consider When Buying a Used F-150

Ford F-150

The Condition of the Car

Not all Ford F-150s have been well taken care of by the previous owners. Some trucks have been well maintained and worth investing in, while others may prove to be problematic and costly to repair if in poor shape. Before buying a used F-150, you should ask your mechanic to take it for a test drive. This way you will know if the investment will be worthwhile or if you should keep looking for a better one.

The Features Available

Every different trim of the F-150 has something unique to offer. You need to decide what is more important for you. If you need a competent off-roader, you may prefer to go for an F-150 Raptor since it has been designed for tough terrains. If all you want is a basic truck that has the space to carry cargo and can comfortably tow or haul, you may be looking for the XL.

Your Budget

The features available in each trim influence the cost of that specific F-150. As you consider which trim is most suitable for your needs, it is also essential to consider your budget. For example, you may want the Limited, but due to budget constraints, you may end up buying a Lariat.

Why a Used Ford F-150 Should be Your First Choice

The Value of Depreciation

The first owner of a car, the one who buys it new, always bears the most significant portion of depreciation. This means that you get to buy the used car at a bargain. You may be lucky enough to get a used F-150 that is only a few years old but still looks and feels great to drive.

It has been in Existence for Decades

The stability of the company that develops a particular brand of cars is essential. Ford has been building cars for more than a century. Despite the changes the F-series has undergone since its debut in the 1940s, production has been fairly regular. This means it is easy to get spare parts for the F-150.

It is a Stylish Yet Functional Car

The F-150 has multiple functions. It is a powerful car that fits in the category of luxury cabins, especially for the newer models. However, these cars are not just great looking. They have the space to carry cargo, are fitted with towing and hauling kits, and they have engines powerful enough to handle difficult terrains.

Crash Safety Tests

The F-150 was featured as the 2017 Top Safety Pick. The NHTSA gave it 5-stars. Knowing the crash safety records of a car assures you of the quality of car you are buying. Remember that some of the features available may one day save you from harm. Understanding the safety features and results of the crash test is of great value when you are out looking to buy a used car.

Quick View: 2017 Ford F-150 Safety Ratings

  • Front driver side frontal crash rating: 5 stars
  • Front passenger side frontal crash rating: 5 stars
  • Overall side crash rating: 5 stars
  • Rollover crash rating: 4 stars

Complete NHTSA Crash Rating

Further Reading

Where to Buy a Used F-150

buy used cars online

Individual Sellers

Some individuals may sell their F-150 for personal reasons such as financial constraints and interest in upgrading to a more modern truck. When buying from an individual, it is important to get advice from your mechanic and confirm the ownership of the car before paying.

Auction Car Dealers

It is possible to get a used Ford F-150 in the different online sites where dealers seek buyers. It is equally important to confirm the condition of the car before making payment. Ask if you can inspect the car before making up your mind about buying the car.

Online Auction Sites

These have become quite popular because of the significant number and variety of cars available for sale. If you would like to have a look at the different trims and understand their differences before committing your money, online auction sites are a great place to start. Most sellers know the probability of selling their used Ford F-150 is higher at an auction site.

You have more work to do since you will be spoilt for choice. Fortunately, this also means you have a higher chance of getting a truck at a competitive price and in one location. Auctions are also known for exercising quality control. To make their clients happy, they bring in only the best.

Should You Buy the Ford F-150 Used or Salvage?

This is a question many buyers with a limited budget ask themselves. You could be lucky and get a salvage vehicle at a great price and in need of minimal repairs. However, it is also possible to make the mistake of getting a salvage F-150 that is in bad shape. Exorbitant repair costs may affect your ability to repair a salvage car that is in poor condition. To avoid this situation, you should get the opinion of an expert when searching for vehicles. Your mechanic may serve as a great guide to help you make this important decision.

The Importance of a Vehicle History Report

Vehicle History Report

Before making payment for a used Ford F-150 you would like to buy, you need to take a look at the vehicle history. Searching for the vehicle’s history at CARFAX will show you the identity of the owner of the car, as well as maintenance records and the mileage, among other useful information. This information is critical and will guide you when deciding on which car to buy.

Cars Similar to the Ford F-150

Should you fail to get the perfect Ford F-150, you can instead consider buying;

  • GMC Sierra 1500
  • Nissan Titan
  • RAM 1500
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • Toyota Tundra

The used Ford F-150 is a great buy if you get one in excellent shape. It has many advantages and should feature in your list of cars to buy if you are yet to decide on your next car.