Why buy a cheap truck?
As trucks become more sophisticated, top trim models are closing in on six figures. Spec out a fully optioned TRX, F-250, or GMC Sierra and your wallet will run and hide. With the massive leap in price, technology, comfort and performance are increasing as well. However, many consumers miss the times when trucks were simpler. They are, after all, meant to be workhorses.
Recently a viewer named Mike reached out to us and shared the story of his 2017 Ram 1500 Tradesman. Mike bought his truck for $26,000 brand new in 2017. He has since accumulated 93,000 miles between daily driving and consistent work. The Ram has a basic Pentastar V6, 3.6-liters, and 305 horsepower. The V6 runs through an 8-speed transmission. Sadly, the truck is only two-wheel-drive, lacking even a limited-slip differential.
“Aside from power locks, windows and cruise control. It’s a very base model truck,” says Mike. There is no bluetooth, no CD player, and the floors are vinyl for easy cleaning. Luckily those items aren’t necessary for work. The Ram did thankfully include both spray in Bedliner and a class IV hitch.
Beyond what came from the factory, Mike added cab lights and a push bar with off-road lights. Both of which are needed to supplement the poor quality headlights. “I don’t think they are bright for 90s standards. I don’t expect these new x-ray lights that they put on vehicles but something a tad bit brighter would be nice.” Other modifications include tow mirrors, a tool box/back rack, and a tonneau cover.
Living with a work truck
This truck is set up like a fleet vehicle, and it works like one too. Mike uses all of its tow rating to haul tractors and construction supplies. The bed sees no shortage of yard work as well, everything from trees to topsoil. Each year, Mike even uses the Ram for a 980 mile road trip with his family. “I find the seats to be very comfortable. It’s a very depended on truck.”
“Seems as old school as a new truck gets. I like how easy it is to maintain. Everything is straight forward and there is room to get to things.” One other item which he modified were the active grille shutters. “It was just so strange to be cruising at highway speed and see 230 degree temps on the read out. After the delete it stays in the 195-200 range.”
This Ram 1500 is Mike’s 9th Ram truck. If he could change anything, he would have gotten the 3.55 rear end. Besides that, it’s been a good truck. “The overall quality and usability is number one. I’ve never been left thinking I wish I had this or that.”