With the new trucks shortage these days, buying a used truck seems to be what people are doing instead. With buying a used truck come some risks, like not having the safety and comfort of a warranty that basically guarantees the truck for years in case anything comes up and needs repair. When buying a used truck you have to make sure to make the right decision on which truck to buy to make sure that you get something reliable that you can count on. Let’s take a look at the most reliable trucks and see what your best choices are.
The Toyota Tundra, years 2007 and newer are the most reliable trucks of the last decade. This is determined by a matrix of data that is based on thousands of truck owners’ feedback as well as car review agencies’ reliability reports and ratings explained below.
- Toyota Tundra – Best!
- Ford Ranger
- Toyota Tacoma
- GMC Sierra 1500
- Chevrolet Avalanche
- Nissan Frontier
- Chevrolet Colorado
- Dodge Ram 1500
- Honda Ridgeline
- Ford F-150
- Chevrolet Silverado
To get more details about how we ended up with this decision lets take a look at the 3 main data sources that this information came from.
Truck Reliability Score from J. D. Power
The first one is J. D. Power predicted reliability score, from an American consumer research and a worldwide authority on consumer insights, data and analytics firm that surveys customer satisfaction and product quality, and collects hundreds of data points from them to compile a study and a report on automotive and other types of products. Founded in 1968 by James D. Power III to help focus more on customer satisfaction and help manufacturers create better products.
The trucks below are rated with a J.D. Power predicted reliability score from 1 to 100. The score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average, and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.
Truck Reliability Rating from Consumer Reports
The second score we are looking at is the Consumer Report reliability rating. It comes from an American non-profit organization that does independent product testing and consumer-oriented research. They survey product owners and collect satisfaction, quality and reliability data from them to compile reports that help consumers make better decisions about the products they buy.
The trucks below are rated with the Consumer Reports reliability rating from 1 to 5, with 1 being the least reliable and 5 being the most reliable. With this rating scale we want the trucks that make it to at least 3.
Cost Of Maintenance & Repair From RepairPal
The third metric we are looking at is the reliability rating, and the cost of routine maintenance and repair of the truck per year. RepairPal collects data from actual shops that do the work. This data is aggregated into a report that compares a car or truck to the average cost per year as well as how many times a car or truck has been taken into the shop. This gives us a good way to compare the trucks to the average to see how they compare.
Most Reliable Trucks in The Last Decade or Two
I’ve spent days researching this and compiling a list of best used trucks. Here you will find a list of most reliable trucks and the model years that have been reported to be the most reliable of all the years the truck was made.
The Reliability Matrix
|Truck||J. D. Power Rank||Consumer Reports Rank||CarComplaints per Year||RepairPal Reliability Rank||Annual Maintenance Cost||Annual Unexpected Repairs|
|GMC Sierra 1500||86||3||8||3.5||$727||0.2|
|Dodge Ram 1500||83||4||348||3.5||$670||0.2|
|Chevy Silverado 1500||78||2||94||3.5||$714||0.2|
Please see the video below to see how I determined that Toyota Tundra is the most reliable truck and to see me explain the data on the table above.
1. Toyota Tundra – Most Reliable Truck Of The Last Decade
Most Reliable Toyota Tundra Years: 2008 and up. Toyota Tundra is one of the most majestic trucks ever made, with the most reliable editions being the models 2008 and up. This vehicle has won tons of awards, like the 2008 model won the “Motor Trend Truck of the Year”. The model years 2007 to 2012 were awarded the “J. D. Power Dependability” award.
The 2007 Toyota Tundra model was ranked as the “top dependable and excellent vehicle” in the overall dependability category, an award it had won for the past five years. In 2010 J. D. Power and Associates awarded Toyota Tundra the “Most Dependable Large Truck” award for the 7th year in a row.
According to J. D. Power reliability ratings, the 2013 is rated at 88 out of a 100, 2019 and 2020 are rated at 88 out of a 100, and 2022 is rated at 86 out of a 100. Toyota Tundra has built a reputation of being indestructible and has one of the lowest number of complaints on CarComplaints. In 2013 Toyota Tundra received the “Best Full-Size Pickup Truck for the Money” award.
CarComplaints has a total of 492 complaints registered for the Toyota Tundra within 23 years of the truck. This is 21.3 complaints per year.
According to Consumer Reports ratings, models 2000 and up are rated 4 out of 5 while models 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010-2016, 2018, 2020 and 2021 are rated 5 out 5, attesting to their reliability and customer satisfaction.
According to RepairPal, Toyota Tundra has a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars; as a result, its ranked 6th of 17 full-sized trucks. The average annual maintenance and repair costs of the Toyota Tundra is $606, compared to $936 for full-sized trucks. The frequency at which Toyota Tundra owners bring their vehicles into the shop for unplanned repairs is about 0.3 times a year compared to 0.3 for full-sized trucks.
Toyota Tundra Years to Avoid: 2007 and 2012. The 2007 edition had a couple of issues ranging from air injection pump failure, knocking pistons, and engine failure. Due to its multiple problems, such as the transmission, electrical systems, and engine failure, the 2012 version is believed to be the worst Toyota Tundra. Some of the common problems affecting the Toyota Tundra include brake issues, lower ball joint recall, noisy exhaust manifold, transmission, and air injection pump failure.
2. Ford Ranger – Second Most Reliable Truck In The Last 20 Years
Most Reliable Ford Ranger Years: 2009, 2010, and 2011. The Ford Ranger is among the most renowned trucks in the world since it has been around for a very long time. The most reliable editions of the Ford Ranger include the 2009, 2010, and 2011 with the 2009 being ranked as the best Ford Ranger. The Ford Ranger boasts a remarkable 10- speed automatic tranny, and its 4-wheel drive is impressive. With the capability to tow up top of 7500lb., the Ford Ranger can go as long as 375,000 miles. According to the J.D. Power rankings, the Ford Ranger is rated at 86 out of a 100 for reliability.
Consumer Reports rated the 2000-2011 models at 3 out of 5, the 2009 is rated at 4 out of 5, and models 2020-2021 are rated at 5 out of 5, showing Ford Ranger’s commitment to improving its vehicles.
The reports from RepairPal give the Ford Ranger a 4 of 5 stars for breakdown reliability rating to attest to the truck’s durability and reliability. The annual costs for maintenance and repairs for the Ford Ranger is$615 compared to $652 for all vehicles. The report further states that the frequency of the Ford Ranger to be taken in for unscheduled repairs is 0.2 times a year compared to 0.4 times for the other vehicles.
CarComplaints has a total of 821 complaints registered for the Ford Ranger within 40 years of the truck. This is 20.5 complaints per year.
Ford Ranger Years to Avoid: 1999 and 2001. The 1998 Ford Ranger has a reputation for being the worst car Ford has ever produced. Customers began experiencing problems when the car got to 100,000 miles. The 2001 had issues with the transmission and the overdrive light, which would start flashing and fail to stop, leading to minor accidents. Other problems with the Ford Ranger include high engine idle, transmission issues, engine misfires, steering issues, and hard to cold start.
3. Toyota Tacoma
Most Reliable Toyota Tacoma Years: 2013 – 2015. Known for lasting to 200,000 and up to 300,000 miles and its reliability with proper maintenance. This truck also received the “Highest Dependability Rating” from J. D. Power in 2011 based on responses from over 80,000 verified owners. The Tacoma can run forever if you take care of it and has a high resale value when you finally are ready to part with it. With less moving parts, this truck just has less brake downs. Toyota designed the engine to keeps it cool with oil jets near the cylinders which keeps the engine going longer. There is actually an old Tacoma that is still driving around with 1.5 million miles on it. Probably more by now.
Toyota Tacoma received many high reliability ratings over the years from J. D. Power for reliability, but a few worth mentioning are the 86 out of 100 for the 2012 Tacoma, 85 out of a 100 for the 2015, and 84 out of a 100 for 2013.
According to Customer Reports, Toyota Tacoma is one of the best trucks ever made, with the models from the years 2000-2010 receiving a 4 out of 5 rating and the models from 2011-2016 receiving a 5 out of five ratings proving its reliability and durability. Getting a 5 in Consumer Reports is very rare and looks like the Tacoma has been raking them in for multiple years. It’s got to say something about these trucks.
RepairPal rated Toyota Tacoma at 3.5 out of 5 stars for maintenance and repair. This vehicle’s annual repair and maintenance cost is $478 compared to $548 for midsize trucks. The Toyota Tacoma visits the repair shop about 0.3 times a year for unplanned repairs compared to 0.4 of all vehicles.
CarComplaints has a total of 1,073 complaints registered for the Toyota Tacoma within 28 years of the truck. This is 38.3 complaints per year.
Toyota Tacoma Years to Avoid: 2006 – 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017. The 2007 model had serious issues with sticky accelerators, a problem that was fixed immediately. Tacoma’s have always had a problem with shifting, especially the 2016 and 2017 models though this problem has been corrected. There have been paint issues that have been associated with this vehicle though it’s more cosmetic than functional.
4. GMC Sierra 1500
Most Reliable GMC Sierra 1500 Years: 2001, 2013 and 2014. Technically GMC Sierra 1500 is the same truck as the Chevy Silveraso 1500 but with a few added nice features and options. The 2013 and 2014 are the most reliable model years for this truck with 2014 receiving 75 out of a 100 and the 2013 getting 86 out of a 100 rating for reliability and safety from J. D. Power.
Consumer Reports rated the 2013 year at 3 out of 5 and also the 2001 at 4 out of 5 for reliability and quality. Keep in mind that these ratings are based on actual people’s feedback so if there are not many submitted the ratings can skew the numbers one way or another but overall they can be used as a reference in addition to other signals.
Just like Silverado, the Sierra got 3.5 out of 5 stars from RepairPal and they report that it costs the owners about $727 per year on maintenance and repairs, compared to an average $936 for full size trucks. It is also low on unexpected repairs coming in at 0.2 times per year. An average full size truck is at 0.3 times per year so that is good.
CarComplaints has a total of 1266 complaints registered for the GMC Sierra 1500 within 31 years of the truck. This is 8.5 complaints per year.
GMC Sierra 1500 Years to Avoid (Maybe): 2005, 2007 and 2012. Although these model years made it on the avoid list, the problems they have are not necessarily critical enough to avoid them. The problems reported are minor things like speedometer is incorrect, dash gauges not working, heater problems and other miscellaneous electrical issues. Engine knock is the only problem that is worth looking at but even this was very rarely reported to make it a serious issue.
5. Chevy Avalanche
Most Reliable Chevy Avalanche Years: 2011 – 2012. The Chevy Avalanche production began in 2002 to 2013. The car was an instant hit with consumers, but its most reliable years are from 2011 -2012, with the best version being the latter. Most customers preferred the 2012 version due to its audio system, feel of the seat’s material, and ease of getting in and out of the vehicle. According to the J. D. Power rankings, the 2011 model is rated at 81 out of 100 while the 2012 model is rated at 86 out of 100 for reliability. The Chevy Avalanche 2002 won the “Motor Trend Truck of The Year” award, while the 2007 won the “Newest Best Pick Up” by the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada.
There are no available ratings by the consumer reports for this model.
According to RepairPal, the reliability of this vehicle got 3 out of 5 stars, ranking it 8th of 14 full-size SUVs. The report also states that this vehicle costs $700 for maintenance and repairs per year compared to the $936 for full size trucks. The frequency at which Chevy Avalanche is brought to the shop for unscheduled repairs in a year is 0.5 times compared to 0.3 for other full size trucks. A little more than average.
CarComplaints has a total of 704 complaints registered for the Chevy Avalanche within 12 years of the truck. This is 58.6 complaints per year.
Chevy Avalanche Years to Avoid: 2002 – 2005, 2007 – 2008 and 2010. The 2005 is the absolute worst since it had lots of problems ranging from interior accessories to transmission failures which can be costly. The 2007 model experienced problems with interior problems and high oil consumption issues. With the 2002 model, it was issues involving the braking systems. The 2004 model was mainly about the A.C./heat issues. The 2008 model experienced extensive engine problems, while the 2010 model had issues with its accessories.
6. Nissan Frontier
Most Reliable Nissan Frontier Years: 2010 and up. The Nissan Frontier has been around for a long time, with its best model years being 1998-2000, 2002, 2003, 2017, and 2018. Also, the years 2009 and 2013 aren’t that bad. The most reliable years are from 2010 to the most recent make. Nissan Frontier is cheaper when compared to the Tacoma. This vehicle possesses either a 6-cylinder engine or the Nissan 4-cylinder engine. The manual transmission of this vehicle also lasts for a very long time. According to the J.D. Power rankings the 2015 and 2017 received a rating of 85 out of a 100, while the 2019 had a rating of 80 out of a 100 for reliability. Nissan Frontier has the capability to go as high as 350,000 miles or even 400,000 miles when properly maintained.
As per Consumer Reports reliability ratings, the years 2010 to 2017 received a rating of 4 out of 5, while the year 2018 received a rating of 5 out of 5, proving its reliability. Just like the Tacoma this Nissan truck is up in the charts for reliability.
According to RepairPal, Nissan Frontier Pro 4X receives 4 out of 5 stars for reliability; therefore, it is ranked as the best of the midsized trucks. The annual repair and maintenance costs of the Frontier is $470 compared to $548 for midsized trucks. The frequency of unscheduled repairs for it is 0.2 times annually compared to 0.4 times for all vehicles.
CarComplaints has a total of 1,014 complaints registered for the Nissan Frontier within 22 years of the truck. This is 46 complaints per year.
Nissan Frontier Years to Avoid: 2005 – 2007. These years had the most reports of the radiator leaking and killing the transmission. The repairs proved very costly since you had to replace the whole transmission system. Thankfully this problem was rectified, and these are the only years of Nissan Frontier to avoid.
7. Chevy Colorado
Most Reliable Chevy Colorado Years: 2010 – 2012, 2017. The model years of 2010 through 2012 and also 2017 are reported to be the most reliable of the Chevy Colorado model. J. D. Power did a review of the 2010 year model and gave it 83 out of 100 score for reliability. This truck is good on fuel economy and has a good engine.
RepairPal gives this truck 4 out of 5 stars and reports that it has been brought into the shop for repair an average of 0.2 times per year, which is the average for the mid-size trucks. It costs about $599 per year for maintenance and repairs which is a little over the average repair cost of $548 per year for trucks in its class.
Consumer Report rated the 2012 Chevy Colorado model a 5 out of 5 on reliability which gives it a perfect score. The 2005 model also got a 4 out of 5 so also a good year for this truck.
CarComplaints has a total of 793 complaints registered for the Chevy Colorado within 18 years of the truck. This is 44 complaints per year.
Chevy Colorado Years to Avoid: 2004, 2005, 2015, 2016 and 2018. These years have reported engine miss-fires and failures, transmission problems, A/C and heater problems and the check engine light won’t turn off without extensive maintenance.
8. Dodge Ram 1500
Most Reliable Dodge Ram 1500 Years: 2013, 2017 and up. The 2013 year model of the Dodge Ram 1500 was named the “Most Improved” in a J. D. Power dependability study and earned the coveted “Motor Trend Truck of the Year” award. It is also was given a rating of 83 out of 100 in a reliability from J. D. Power.
RepairPal gives this truck a 3.5 out of 5 stars for maintenance and repair. The cost of maintenance for this truck is an average of $670 per year compared to $936 for full size trucks which makes this one more reliable than average. The owners of the Dodge Ram, had to take it in to a shop for unplanned repairs about 0.2 times per year, compared to 0.3 times per year for other full-size trucks.
Consumer Reports rated the reliability of the truck at 4 out of 5 for all years starting from 2017 and up. 2013 year was not rated by them so I don’t have it for this year.
CarComplaints has a total of 6,275 complaints registered for the Dodge Ram 1500 within 18 years of the truck. This is 348.6 complaints per year.
Dodge Ram 1500 Years to Avoid: 2003, 2010 and 2014-2016. It is recommended to avoid the Fiat-Chrysler EcoDiesel. In 2014 they just released the EcoDiesel engine which had many issues and in 2015 and even into 2016 they continued. The 2003 year is also reported to have many issues that range from mechanical to cosmetic like the dashboard cracking at low milage. The 2010 model’s 5.7L V8 engine was reported to have many problems from engine turning off while driving to replacement parts being too expensive, to engine being too weak, not enough power for a supposedly towing capable truck.
9. Honda Ridgeline
Most Reliable Honda Ridgeline Years: 2014 and 2015. From the year 2006 model upward, these models of Honda Ridgeline are the most reliable, especially the 2014,2015 and 2017 editions. The Honda Ridgeline isn’t rugged as the other truck but is very reliable. The Honda Ridgeline boasts of unique features such as a unibody construction and a transverse engine. This vehicle isn’t suitable for off-roading or towing but possesses excellent handling, fuel efficiency, and car-like aerodynamics. It is a recipient of J.D. Power “Highest Dependability Rating” award. The year 2022 received 78 out of a 100 and 2017 received 81 out of a 100 for reliability from J. D. Power.
According to Consumer Reports, 2011-2014 received a 5 out of 5 reliability rating, while 2007-2008 received a 4 out of 5 reliability rating. Again, like I said above, a 5 is hard to get and this one received it, so it means a lot.
Honda Ridgeline receives a RepairPal reliability ranking of 3.5 out of 5 stars, thus ranking 6th of 7 midsized trucks. The annual repairs and maintenance costs for the this truck is $502 compared to $548 for midsized trucks attesting to its low ownership costs. The Honda Ridgeline visits the repair shop for unplanned repairs an average of 0.4 times comparing to 0.4 times for other vehicles.
CarComplaints has a total of 313 complaints registered for the Honda Ridgeline within 17 years of the truck. This is 18.4 complaints per year.
Honda Ridgeline Years to Avoid: 2006-2008, 2017 and 2019. The 2006 Ridgeline has got cylinder problems. The 2017 model has issues with fuel efficiency because of the ever-failing fuel injectors and this takes it off the most reliable list above. There have been reports of the 2008 model having A/C and heater problems since they don’t kick in when required.
10. Ford F-150
Most Reliable Ford F-150 Years: 2009, 2015. The 2015 year model Ford F-150 is known for its reliability and toughness. The F-150 being the best-selling truck in US for 40 years got an upgrade in 2015, an aluminum body that shed 700lb and increase MPG. It also got a new fuel-efficient and powerful 2.7L EcoBoost V6 engine. The 2015 model was named the “Top Consumer Rated Truck” by J. D. Power and rated 87 out of 100 for reliability and quality.
The 2009 is the second-best Ford F-150 year model truck scoring an 81 out of 100 from J. D. Power. It is readily and easily repairable and lasts a long time.
The F-150 comes in at 3.5 out of 5 stars from RepairPal which also reports that an owner spends about $788 per year on maintenance and repair compared to $936 average spend by owners of other full-size trucks. They also report that this truck goes about 0.3 times to the mechanic shop for an unplanned repair which lines up with the average for these types of trucks.
Consumer Reports gave the 2015 F-150 a 3 out of 5 reliability rating.
CarComplaints has a total of 5,786 complaints registered for the Ford F-150 within 46 years of the truck. This is 125.7 complaints per year.
Ford F-150 Years to Avoid: 2004-2006, 2010 and 2015. The 2004 model year is known for it’s bad 5.4L, and 6.8L Triton engines as well as other issues like parts braking during repair, gas tank straps rusting away and dropping the tank to drag on the road, window regulator braking and dropping the glass inside the door. This continued into the 2005 and 2006 year model and also added an engine knock in its 5.4L Triton V8. The 2010 model year was known for oil leaks and technology glitches. 2015 has transmission issues and brake problems.
11. Chevy Silverado 1500
Most Reliable Chevy Silverado 1500 Years: 2007-2014. The Chevy Silverado 1500 2007-2014 are considered the best years for its simple pushrod V8 engine which is a lot less complicated than other engines. They contain less moving components that can fail and that makes it cheaper to maintain and repair. The 2007 Chevy Silverado 1500 received a “Motor Trend Truck of the Year” award. The 2014 year model was rated 78 out of 100 for reliability and safety by J. D. Power.
Consumer Reports only gave this truck a 2 out of 5 but based on the other information I found this must have been a fluke because all the other indicators show this to be a very reliable truck. They also rated 2001 Silverado at 4 out of 5 and the 2008 and 2011 through 2013 rated at 3 out of 5.
RepairPal rated this truck at 3.5 out of 5 stars for maintenance and repair. They report that this truck costs about $714 per year to keep up compared to $936 average cost for other full-size trucks. The Silverado 1500 only goes to the shop 0.2 times per year for unexpected repairs compared to 0.3 times for other trucks in its class.
These trucks are known for lasting forever, there is a Silverado out there still running with 1.2 million miles on it.
CarComplaints has a total of 1039 complaints registered for the Chevy Silverado 1500 within 11 years of the truck. This is 94.4 complaints per year.
Chevy Silverado 1500 Years to Avoid: 2012, 2014-2017. The 2012 Silverado 1500 has had some engine and transmission problems that include oil consumption, vibrations and complete failures. The third generation of Silverados from 2014-2017 have been pretty bad, with faulty A/C units, and engine stalling while driving, transmission problems. They start getting better in 2018 and 2019 model years but still linger on some trucks.
Valik loves tinkering in the garage and is currently restoring a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 truck. He also writes about the progress on this blog. When not in the garage, Valik is also a web developer and a blogger. I know, strange, a hand in two completely different worlds. And that is the way he likes to keep it.