Pickup trucks are among the most versatile vehicles. The toughest in this class can haul heavy loads or pull large trailers with relative ease. They also serve admirably as “lifestyle” vehicles used to transport sports equipment, camping gear, and other items in their cargo beds that would soil the interior of a closed vehicle. Even opulently equipped four-door “crew cab” models are supplanting luxury sedans and sport-utility vehicles in a growing number of U.S. households.
As is the case with any class of vehicle, long-term reliability should be a paramount concern among those buying a pickup truck, especially those who intend to subject them to hard labor on a daily basis. With today’s pickups being loaded with complex high-tech convenience and safety features, a given truck’s reliability now goes far beyond mechanical issues.
We checked two reliable sources to help determine the projected reliability of the current crop of full-size and midsize pickups. We sifted through data from the research company J.D. Power and ratings from the long-standing consumer recommendation publication Consumer Reports.
The good news for those shopping for a new or used pickup is that, for the most part, today’s trucks can be expected to perform admirably over the average course of ownership. However, some were rated a worse than others in each source’s owner surveys. We’re noting areas of concern in the above slideshow for models that registered a sub-par score from both JDP and CR.
The 2019 J.D. Power Dependability Study is based on a survey of those owning vehicles from the 2016 model year. Vehicles are scored for overall dependability, and for how well major mechanical components, the exterior and interior, and their features and controls hold up after three years. JDP ranks vehicles on a 5-point basis, with anything less than a 3 considered below average.
Consumer Reports also rates full-size and midsize pickup trucks for their projected and past reliability based on surveys submitted by the publication’s print and online subscribers. Owners are asked to report any significant issues they’ve experienced during the previous 12 months in any of 17 potential trouble spots. Here we looked at reliability projections for new trucks and how three-year-old models fared. CR likewise rates vehicle reliability on a 5-point basis with scores 2 or lower being below average.
It should be noted that JDP does not rank all pickup trucks. Also, while Consumer Reports offers projected reliability ratings for all models, not all vehicles have detailed past-performance reports from prior model years because of insufficient survey response. In some cases, the rankings from both sources contradict each other, as well. For example, while CR gives the Chevrolet Silverado 2500/2300 heavy-duty pickup a poor reliability rating of just 1, JDP’s survey gives it a perfect 5 out of 5 points, which we deemed to cancel each other out. Be sure to take this all with the proverbial grain of salt.