Reader Question: 2000 Chevy Pickup?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Kyle asks: I have found this Chevy 1500 for $1,800 dollars. The pictures look good. It has a 5.3 V8 with good oil pressure, little to no rust but it has 226k miles on it. I am not planning to do much but to tow my small motorcycle trailer with a motorcycle on it and have 4WD so I don’t get stuck during the winter and pheasant hunting (my daily driver is a 4.6 Buick Lucerne FWD). Is this a good idea? I have not got around to go look at it myself yet but I called the people selling it and they would maybe bring down the price of it even more.. The Carfax looks good on it. it has a minor dent in the tailgate but it has a plastic-coated bed to keep out rust.

My reply: You aren’t risking much here. If the truck is basically sound and gives you even two years of service without a major problem – you made a deal. Older pick-ups are going up in value and I suspect will continue to do so.

Yes, the drivetrain has a lot of mileage on it – but the Chevy small block V8 is very durable and if this one has good compression/doesn’t smoke, etc., it’s probably good to go for some time to come. GM automatics are also generally very sturdy.

My main concern would be the truck’s structure… its frame  . . . i.e., rust.

I know you said it has little to no rust. Be sure. If the bed cover isn’t a sprayed-in liner (i.e., if it’s just plastic on top of the metal) the bed floor may well be rusty underneath it – out of sight – as these things trap water and are bad news. Check the frame rails check the area under the radiator, check the brake and fuel lines. Light surface rust is fine. Bubbling/scaling isn’t. Watch out for cheesiness such as a spray-bombed/undercoated underside. Use a punch or screwdriver to physically test the soundness of the frame rails, etc. Look at the bed floor from the underside. You must get underneath this truck and look at it closely from this perspective.

I suggest due diligence here because the price is really good.

If it checks out as structurally sound, I’d cut a check on the spot. $1,800 for a solid pick-up? You stole it! Even if the thing needs a repair at some point; even if it needs a new (rebuilt/used) transmission or engine at some point. . . you still stole it.

Once you’ve bought it, I recommend checking/changing all fluids and filters (don’t forget the axle and transfer case). Check all wheel bearings/re-grease everything. That done, odds are good you have a truck that will be trucking for several years to come.

I’m jealous!

. . .

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  1. A serviceable 4×4 pick-up for <$1800?! I would grab that in a hurry before it's gone! I wouldn't be fussy about it either- long as the motor's not on the verge of blowing, and pieces aren't falling off of the body…..that is deal! Wish I'd come across deals like that!
    I wouldn't worry about the mileage. Mileage is really only relevant on newer vehicles, as it hugely affects the price- but with an older vehicle, you WANT something with higher miles- as that indicates that it was driven (as opposed to just sitting there, or being used for short trips- which are the real detriments to vehicles) and that whoever had it maintained it well, else it wouldn't have made it to those miles.
    I always buy high-mile old vehicles…wouldn't want a 20 year-old vehicle with 70K miles on it…as that would be a vehicle that'd leak from every gasket and have hidden rust everywhere, and a gunked-up engine from rarely getting up to highway speeds…and would likely have an owner who'd operate under the premise "I don't have to do anything to my car, 'cause I hardly drive it!".
    Warned a friend's mother not to buy a c. 10 year-old bubble Caprice (at the time) that had very low mileage and a price double that of what the average Caprice was going for. (I didn't see the car, just warned her because of the low miles) She bought the car…turned out to be the worst car she ever had- one problem after another, because it had spent most of it's life sitting and rotting and being used for short runs to the store by an elderly person. (Friend's mother sold the car after a year, for a FIFTH of what she had paid for it.)

    Grab that truck before it's gone!

  2. I forgot to tell you it is a 5-speed manual. Does that make any difference with the reliability other than replacing the clutch every so often. I don’t know if those manuals were any good

    • Hi Kyle!

      A new clutch is no big deal- if that is needed. If the transmission shifts easily through all gears; if it doesn’t catch or grind or pop put of gear… in which case, the transmission is probably fine. You can check the condition of the clutch by driving the truck at about 35-40 MPH in top gear and flooring it. If the engine lugs, the clutch is likely fine. If it revs, the clutch is slipping…

      • Thanks for your advice I think I may make a deal with these people only problem I have with it is that I don’t wanna drive 3 and a half hours to get there lol

        • Hi Kyle,

          Unless they’re fraudsters, this sounds like a deal worth risking. I second Nunz. If it checks out, the drive is money very well spent.

        • I hear ya, Kyle. Sounds like where I am- everything’s always far away. Worth going for a screaming deal like that…but at that distance, I’d be hesitant too. Usually a functional 4×4 at that price will vanish in a heartbeat…if this one hasn’t, there may be a reason why.
          I hate to even drive an hour…and then ya get there and your prospect has a major miss, or is running on only 6 of the 8 cylinders….

          Back in the 90’s when I used to haul junk cars, I picked up an old rusty Blazer for $75. It ran and drove…but was a piece of junk and falling apart. Put it out for sale for $1000 and it sold for $900 within a few hours…so yeah…knowing how far of a trip you’re facing, I’d be leery too. Any idea how long it’s been for sale? If it just went on the market…maybe I’d risk it; if it’s been for sale for a few weeks…I don’t think I’d take that long of a drive, as there’s probably something major wrong.

          If it sounds too good to be true….


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