View Full Version : I need a cheap pick-up truck with a snow plow. Best strategy?
02-09-2006, 04:26 PM
I'm building a house, so I need a pick-up truck to carry materials. Once it's built, I'll have a huge driveway that I'll need to plow in the winter, so I'll need a snow plow, too. However, I'm not a pick-up truck kinda guy; other than those two tasks, I plan to almost never drive the thing. I don't care if it's a hideous rustbucket. I don't care if it's a gas guzzler (since I'm not going to be driving it all that much). I DO care that it runs well enough to drive back and forth with building materials a few times a week over the next year, and then well enough to plow the driveway 5-8 times a winter (for as long as possible...). And, obviously, I don't want to buy the truck and then find it needs $1500 worth of work just to make it run/pass inspection. But I don't ask for much more performance than that.
What's the best strategy for getting this truck with the smallest outlay of cash? There's a guy near me selling a 1987 Dodge Ram with a plow for $2000/OBO. Or I could go to a used-car/truck dealer. Or I could look in the papers/auto trader/etc. Whaddaya think?
02-09-2006, 04:55 PM
Have you checked prices on plows? Maybe plows run $2K and so you're basically getting the Dodge for free. Dunno.
I will tell you that there are a lot of trucks out there for dirt cheap. I assume since you want to plow things that you live somewhere you need 4WD. So, those will be more expensive than an equivalent truck with 2WD. But at the price you're looking for, who cares?
The cruicial bit of info you have not supplied is: How much do you know about cars, their maintenance, problem, and repairs? Any time you go into something like this, you are going to need to bring this type of knowledge to bear, especially if you want to do it cheaply. Can you examine a car in 15-30 minutes and have a pretty good idea what is wrong with it? If it needs something (say, a new headgasket), can you do the work yourself?
I hate to say it like this, but people who lack knowledge about cars end up paying the penalty in cash. If you know nothing, you buy new, with a warranty, or you pay professionals to repair your car. If you know a lot, you can get by with a $50 car in the knowledge that you can fix pretty much anything wrong with it economically. And if you're looking at a sub-$2K pickup, you're probably going to need to fix it at some point. So, you will pay for ignorance in this area with cash.
Here's what I would do: Check the prices of plows. If the guy's Dodge seems like a good buy, you should be able to haggle him down to about $1500. If not, then check autotrader.com. You should be able to find a decent truck there for between $1K and $2K, if you want something newer. Autotrader will have more than your local paper, but maybe giving your local daily, then the local weeklies a shot wouldn't be untoward.
Or, if you know more about cars, and are brave, you could cruise around rural areas near you and see if someone has something sitting out on the side of a shed or something. Many times, these trucks won't start, but it is usually only because of neglect. Freshen it up, and it would be fine. You may even get some of these vehicles for free, or a nominal fee, just because someone wants it gone. Again, though, it's all going to depend on your skill with car repair.
02-09-2006, 05:23 PM
AutoTrader is a good idea. You'd want the light truck listings (http://commerciallight.trucktraderonline.com/search.php), keywords plow or snowplow.
02-09-2006, 05:35 PM
One caution - might it not make sense to buy a good old truck, then buy the plow seperately?
From what I understand, vehicles that have been used a lot for snowplowing (ie one you'd buy with the plow already attached) are likely to have pretty fried transmissions.
Craigslist is a good place to shop for cheaper vehicles too.
02-11-2006, 10:54 AM
From what I understand, vehicles that have been used a lot for snowplowing (ie one you'd buy with the plow already attached) are likely to have pretty fried transmissions. Depends on how much and where it was used. One that's been parked in an apartment building's garage probably doesn't have many problems.
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