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Picking the Right Truck for Work

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When it comes to work vehicles, few are as iconic and emblematic as the pickup truck. Long associated with images of the American West, the pickup truck might be considered analogous to a cowboy’s horse. While primarily used to transport people, these vehicles are also used for work such as hauling items, towing trailers, and accessing off-road work zones, such as construction sites. Are you looking for a truck that will be used for work purposes as well as commuting? Here are some considerations to help you narrow down your choices.

Size vs Function

The first thing to consider is what purpose your new truck will serve you. They are generally available in three sizes: midsize, full-size and heavy-duty. If you just need something for commuting purposes, then any vehicle will do. Do you need to carry heavy loads in the bed? Do you need to tow a trailer? If so, you may need a full-size or heavy-duty for hauling and trailering. Different trucks have different load ratings for payloads (what they can carry in the bed) and towing. Consider the type of engine that your vehicle needs to have to do its job. A more powerful engine tends to have a lower fuel economy, but the last thing you want is a pickup that is underpowered for its intended use.

Passenger Configuration

In addition to truck size, you also need to think about the configuration. Pickups are generally available in three passenger configurations: regular cab, extended cab and crew cab. A regular cab usually involves one row of seats for one to three passengers. If the vehicle is mainly for you alone, this may be all you need. An extended cab usually has a small second row that can comfortably hold smaller passengers, such as children or the space can be used for storage. It also usually comes with suicide car doors that are oriented backwards. A crew cab or double cab, also has two rows, but the second row comes with full-sized seating. If your truck has to double as a family hauler, the crew cab is usually your best option.

Bed Size and Options

The bed of a pickup factors heavily into the function that it serves. It allows drivers to carry items that are too large to fit inside the cab. If hauling items are a part of your job, you need to think carefully of how long your bed is. Truck beds range from 5’-8” to 8 feet with slight variations from manufacturer to manufacturer. For hauling heavy and/or large items around town, go longer. If you work in construction, you may benefit from the use of a truck-mounted toolbox which will take up some of your bed length, so you may need a longer bed. If you require your bed to be secured, then you’ll need to look for a bed cover that locks into place.

Trim Levels and Amenities

Pickups run the gamut from utilitarian to luxury when it comes to trim levels and features. If your pickup is strictly for work, then opt for a base level or a work trim level. This comes with just the necessities and the lower price tag to match. If the new truck is your only vehicle, you may opt for something nice enough for an evening out on the town as well as a job site. Today’s pickups boast some of the most refined and well-appointed interiors. Leather seats, premium infotainment systems and advanced amenities such as back-up cameras come standard in many mid-trim trucks.

Work-related Features and Accessories

If you’ll be using your pickup in construction zones where they may be exposed to rough terrains and mud, certain features and accessories are preferable. An all-wheel drive or 4x4 truck will be better suited to environments that demand power be applied to all wheels for traction. All-terrain tires are recommended for this type of work as well as jobs in parts of the world that experience heavy snow during the winter. You’ll also want mud flaps to protect the underbody from road debris. All-weather floor mats and liners are also recommended if you work in muddy or wet sites. If your job requires you to tow items, you’ll need a hitch for trailering. Aftermarket accessories such as flashing lights, under-seat storage and the aforementioned toolbox are other job-specific items should consider.

A pickup truck can be figuratively and literally a workhorse. They come in a wide range of configurations and accessories, so think carefully about your new truck’s intended use. You should also consider which aftermarket parts will be necessary for the job and budget accordingly. For instance, if you're the boss at your company, having a nice car can be a fun way to impress your employees and even be a way to increase productivity if you reward efficient employees with a ride in your sweet ride. However, if you're just starting out with your small business, then it might be a better idea to save money and get a cheaper, run-around car for now and save up for a nicer car for the future.

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