Here’s some helpful information about what to look for in a reliable pickup truck and how to ensure your car holds up over the years, as well as a list of some of the most reliable trucks of the past decade.
How to tell if a truck is reliable
The most obvious factors influencing any vehicle’s reliability are what went into its development and manufacturing. The more effort, time, and money are poured into these stages of the auto-making process, the more likely a vehicle is to last longer and avoid damage.
Certain automakers are known for their careful, precise development and manufacturing standards. These brands tend to produce the most consistently reliable vehicles, including pickup trucks.
Honda and Toyota are examples of reliable automakers, both boasting a commitment to stellar workplace practices and attention to detail.
Another reliable automaker is Lexus, which, according to
The Drive, took 15 years to produce the “perfect paint.” This level of dedication is a testament to the automaker’s carefulness—and thus the reliability of its vehicles.
Generally, Japanese brands are considered more reliable than their American counterparts,
though this isn’t always true. The key to identifying a reliable automaker is looking for top quality practices throughout the entire automaking process: thorough development and manufacturing, longer-than-normal warranties, and above-and-beyond customer service.
You can also check out Consumer Reports or similar websites for more specific information and metrics on any given truck’s reliability.
Reliability is about more than just the make
Of course, you can buy the most reliable truck around, but if you don’t treat it well, it’s still liable to break down within a few years.
A car’s longevity is directly linked to the quality of care it receives across its lifetime––so, treat your car well! Regular maintenance and careful driving habits are absolute musts.
Keep up with regular fluid flushes, oil changes, and tire rotations throughout the year. Moreover, as tempting as it is to let your car go unwashed, stay on top of cleanings, ensuring that the exterior and underside of your car are staying in good shape.
Additionally, be sure to take into account local weather patterns when considering how to care for your car properly. Store your truck away from the sun if you live in a hot climate and make appropriate winter adjustments, such as installing snow tires, if you live somewhere colder.
Finally, if you’re someone who likes to drive riskily—speeding, sharp turns, etc.—consider adjusting your driving habits. You’re likely putting a lot of stress on your truck’s engine, brakes, and tires, which can significantly hurt its long-term reliability.
The most reliable trucks of the last decade
With all that said, what are the most reliable trucks from the past ten years? The Drive and
Pickup Truck Talkoffer several of their top picks.
The Drive lists several 2021 models, including the Honda Ridgeline, the
Toyota Tundra, the GMC Canyon, the Ram 1500, and the GMC Sierra.
These models have a J.D. Power Consumer Reliability Score of 81, 85, 80, 83, and 87 out of 100, respectively.
Pickup Truck Talk looks at the results of past J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Studies to determine which trucks are the most reliable. The data is based on surveys of 80,000 truck-owners.
The full list covers the most reliable mid-size, full-size, and heavy-duty trucks from between 2019 and 2005.
For 2019, the most reliable trucks were the Nissan Frontier (mid-size), the Toyota Tundra (full-size), and the Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD (heavy-duty).
For 2018, the most reliable trucks were the Toyota Tacoma (mid-size), the Chevrolet Silverado (full-size), and the Ford F-450 DRW (heavy-duty).
For 2017, the most reliable trucks were the Honda Ridgeline (mid-size), the Ford F-150 (full-size), and the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD (heavy-duty).
You can check out the full list for more information, though already, a trend is emerging: automakers such as Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota have top reliability ratings, at least according to J.D. Power.