• Ask TFLtruck: Which Used Truck to Buy under $25,000 to Tow 7,500 Lbs Trailer? Nissan Titan?

    2014 nissan titan pro-4x extreme towing ike gauntlet
    2014 Nissan Titan on the Ike Gauntlet

    We recently received the following question from Adam C. It boils down to: which used truck under $25,000 to buy to tow a 7,500 lbs trailer on a regular basis? Long-term reliability and towing performance are the main requirements for Adam.

    I am looking for used trucks that can tow a 7,500lb loaded horse trailer on a weekly basis. I live in Jackson, WY so elevation is around 7,000 ft. I have always had a bad taste toward the big 3 (Chevy, Ford, Dodge) just because I feel like they don’t produce cars/trucks that will last a long time (200k miles plus). But maybe I am wrong. I have had my eye on the Titan (2008-2015 model years) because my budget is $25k and I want something with low mileage (~50k or less), so the Titan seems to be the only truck in my price range that meets my conditions. But I am open to suggestions. I was wondering if there might be another option out there that would meet my needs?

    The topic of used trucks is a complicated subject. Choosing a solid used pickup truck requires some skill and diligence. One 50K mile truck can be very different from another 50K mile truck. It depends on how it was used and maintained. Did it originally come from Arizona with light usage, or did it see a couple of Michigan winters carrying maximum load every day?

    The first generation Nissan Titan is a solid truck. It has always performed well for us on the extreme Ike Gauntlet towing test. No matter which truck you choose, we would suggest checking the forum pages where owners discuss common problems with their trucks.

    Other possibilities include older turbo-diesel 3/4-ton trucks. Yes, many of the older Ford/GM/Ram diesels had a lot of issues, but a well-maintained truck of the right vintage should last 100,000 miles and more. Older gas-powered trucks are also worth a look. Gas trucks are easier and less expensive to maintain and to fix.

    Please give us your feedback for Adam in the comments section below.

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    57 thoughts on “Ask TFLtruck: Which Used Truck to Buy under $25,000 to Tow 7,500 Lbs Trailer? Nissan Titan?

    1. My own experience with a Nissan Frontier is fantastic reliability. The CarComplaints website will also agree with Nissan truck reliability. I know I’m gonna get attacked here but the real statistics show that buying used from Ford, GM or Dodge is a reliability concern. Don’t believe me? Go check out the NHTSA stats yourself. They are very helpful. They are also great for fanboys to start screaming conspiracy.

      1. Distinctively – – –

        D: “My own experience with a Nissan Frontier is fantastic reliability.”

        Couldn’t agree more! My Frontier is a 2010. Absolutely nothing has ever gone wrong! Perfect truck in its class, and I wrote Carlos Ghosn an email saying so. (He sent me a “thank you” coffee mug!)

        I hope the new Titan’s can compete little by little with the Detroit “Big Three”. Nissan’s approach has been gradual, “earning its keep”, without any big marketing push or “splash”. I appreciate that.

        While I love my Ram 2500 with Cummins, if the Nissan XD, with 5-liter Cummins diesel V-8, had offered a manual transmission, I would have give that vehicle a try on this buying cycle. Yes, their user “friendliness” and reliability are that good! (And I’m pretty fussy…)


      2. I think the Titan is a great pick. The 5.6 Nissan uses is in my opinion one of the best engines on the market (I would not say the same thing about other Nissan engines).
        Additionally Nissan trucks for whatever reason drop in value a lot faster than GM and Fords… Which if you are buying used is a great thing! It means fewer miles for the money!
        The Titan Isnt the fanciest, the quietest, or the smoothest, and by 2014 it was the most outdated… But they get the job done and as a GSM for a major Auto group, they seem to last and last.
        (Stay away from any Nissan with a CVT)

      3. “Don’t believe me? Go check out the NHTSA stats yourself.”

        Your logic is flawed. Of course Ford, GM, or Ram will look like they have a lot more problems compared to the equivalent Nissan. Ford and GM each sell more than 8 trucks for every 1 truck Nissan sells. They could have 800 complaints vs Nissan’s 100 complaints and their relative problem rate would be the same.

        Not to mention many of the complaints are for silly things like infotainment glitches, simple heating/AC issues, hard downshifts (not a true indicator of reliability), etc. The powertrains in these trucks are quite reliable. They are also much less prone to rust problems compared to Nissan (and Toyota). I’ve owned 3 Nissan pickups in the last 25 years, I can vouch for the rust. Nissan’s V6 engines always served me well outside of minor sensor wiring issues.

    2. GM as of late has been holding top resale values very near or at first place. But their trucks do have vibration issues same with Ford that they cuurently cant fix. Ram is a nice truck, you can get one new for nearly that price with big incentives. Interest rates might be cheaper on new vs old so old may end up costing more in the end especially considering typical average repairs on maintenance vs new and depreciation. I always use Romans Raptor as a prime example. He paid about 50 grand and did a video to show what an old three year old Raptor was worth after 3 years with 50k on it. 47,000 approx. even if you bought a Base Nissan Frontier for 21k you would have lost more than 3k. So yes Roman spent 50k but has 47k in the bank so to speak. This is where the Tundra might win out in the used department on highest resale. Looking at initial cost is the worst mistake people make.

    3. I personal don’t buy used trucks, I do for cars, I beat the heck out of my truck but I keep it looking brand new because I keep them 10 years or longer. My buddy was able to find a 2016 f150 V8 4×4 crewcab with 4000 miles for 28,000, so keep looking. A truck with 50,000 miles and $25,000 I wouldn’t do that, just asking for problems.

    4. I owned a 2002 Dakota with the 4.7 L. Put 240,000 on it and only replaced the front end due to wear and tear. Same engine and transmission with zero work done to it.

      I only purchased that truck because it came with a 7yr 100,000 mile warranty.

      My friends that own chevys and fords are having major problems right around the 65,000-80,000 miles consistently.
      That scares me about Ford and GM

    5. I personally would never give a dealer or some stranger $25,000 of my hard earned money for a used truck. Most people, including myself, don’t decide to sell a truck until they begin to have a lot of repair bills on that vehicle. So you really are buying someone else’s problems. With end of year incentives plus way lower interest rates on new trucks ( yea, even the banks know a new truck is a more secure investment) I suggest you go for a brand new lower trim level truck of your choice. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

      1. Dan – – –

        D: “I personally would never give a dealer or some stranger $25,000 of my hard earned money for a used truck.”

        Exactly. I have never bought a used truck. Never will. It’s not like a sedan. With a truck, and the overloading and abuse some people give them, you literally never know what you’re getting, — unless they’re your good neighbors or family that you have trusted for years, — and the price is WAY less than $25K!


        1. Most trucks these days are little more than large commuters. I’ve made a habit out of buying clean 1-2 year old trucks with 20-30k miles and easily get 200,000 miles out of them. There’s an amazing amount of people out there that just want something new every year, I haven’t found a lemon yet that the previous owner dumped.

        2. No on the used truck if you intended to use it on road trips.

          No on any used anything over 5000 grand cash.

          Never take a loan on a used car.

          The vehicle you rely on for transportation should either be paid off or under warranty.

        3. I have to politely disagree with you.
          I bought a used Silverado 1500 Z-71 back in 2002. It had 55,000 miles and cost $24,000. When I sold it, it had 150,000 miles on the odo and the new owner has put on another 75,0000 miles. The only thing big that broke on it was the transfer case because the chain stretched out. (A common issue with this design) Everything else was normal wear and tear.

          I now have a Ranger that came with 50K miles and is doing just fine at 77K.

          Many trucks in my area are used as cars and I would expect 75% of all 1/2 ton crew cabs to live the commuter life.

        4. You definitely have to be cautious buying a used truck. The majority of people don’t take care of their vehicles. They let oil changes go WAY too long. When they finally do get the oil changed, they either do it themselves using the cheapest low grade oil and filter they can find, or ever worse, they take it to some quick lube shop that can’t be bothered to put the right weight and amount of oil back in.

          More often then not, most used trucks have not had the proper services performed… transmission/transfer case/differential fluids. They never flush out the brake fluid like they should. The coolant has probably never been changed. Then there are the bad habits most people have like not letting the engine warm up before getting on it in really cold conditions. And what’s the first thing someone does if they have a feeling something expensive is wrong with their truck? They trade it in and let someone else deal with it. I know a guy that has been burnt twice buying used trucks. First he bought a 2012 F-150 3.5EB with 70k miles on it. It drove great but developed misfire and stalling issues, the battery system kept going off telling him the battery had a low charged, the high pressure fuel pump died at 75k miles (didn’t fix the misfire problem), and the truck would blow blue smoke when cold. He traded it back in at 80k miles for a 2016 Ram Ecodiesel with 60k miles on it. Within 10k miles, the EGR was plugged, DPF was constantly in regen, and it was throwing all kinds of codes. Luckily the truck had a warranty on it because the dealer replaced the EGR, 6 injectors, the manifold pressure sensor, and a few other parts before giving up and replacing the entire engine.

    6. That titan is gonna stuggle with that amount of trailer and will likely be maxed out on payload.
      My advice is to get a proper 1/2 from the big 3 and ensure it has the tow mirrors and trailer brake controller.
      We picked up a 2014 with all that for about that amount and is good 1 owner truck. It is a F150 3.5 liter ecoboost. The turbo’s work really well at the higher elevations.

        1. My father has owned an ’04 since… well, ’04. It’s got under 100k miles and has had to have two axle shafts replaced (bearings come with the complete shaft). It’s rarely been used towing, and when it does tow it’s been short trips at less than 3500 lbs.
          It’s been very reliable for him otherwise.

    7. I have a 08 frontier crew cab long bed 4×4. Just hit 118K on the odometer 😄 I only replaced the radiator as my only non preventative maintenance item. I am averaging 20 to 22 miles per gallon mostly highway. I still have the original Brakes! I think Nissan makes reliable and durable pick up trucks as well as cars because I have a 2015 Altima as well.

    8. On a side note. After watching the above video of the 2014 Titan on the ike gauntlet I realize how much more thorough your older ike gauntlet videos were than are the ones you produced this year. I like it when you spend more time in the cab on the actual uphill and downhill run. it gives you a much better feel of how the truck actually did on the test. Hopefully you might consider making the tests on the 2018 models longer once again. Just saying! Thanks!

    9. You know..maybe living in the higher altitude of Wyoming has starved your brain of oxygen?The big 3 are so.e of the best trucks on the planet.I have a 2006 chevy 2500.6.0 with 260,000 miles with no repairs so far,short of brakes,rotors,u joints etc..Truck has towed a real trailer… 20,000 plus pound,yes from Va.to Ca.and all points in between.Truck still running strong..though I did buy another…2005 Kodiak in may.My buddy has a 2005 with 400,000 miles…only major repair was trans…also driven daily now..So what exactly do you want?This attitude truly upsets me as I support..the big 3 and the trucks nowadays are impossible to kill.I can only hope this FRICKING Nissan you buy ,when blown up at 150 or less learns you of this line of thinking…. Then you can support USA and it’s manufacturers….!!!

      1. I drive a 2014 Silverado built in Indiana, but I gotta correct you on your statements. Nissan trucks are engineered and built in the US. The Titan assembly plant is in Mississippi. The engines are built in Tennessee. Seems pretty American to me.

    10. Nissan Titan has issues with rear axle seals and bearings. Ford trucks with 5.4 gas engine has issues with spark plugs and cam phasers. Diesel trucks have issues with injectors and they’re very expensive to replace. With Diesel trucks maintenance costs is double vs gasoline powered, two batteries, two fuel filters that needs to change regular basis, almost double amount of oil required for oil change, cost of any repairs is triple, cost of parts is quadruple. You cannot go wrong with Tundra. However, maintenance is the key to the trouble free truck. If you going to use cheap fluids in the truck, you going to have problems no matter what brand of truck you choose. I have Toyota Sequoia with 5.7 it’s, powerful engine and reliable engine. I use 100% synthetic oil and synthetic filter, not full synthetic, check out my YouTube channel repairvehicle .

      1. ” You cannot go wrong with Tundra. However, maintenance is the key to the trouble free truck. ”

        Uh… the 2nd gen Tundra is known for rear axle seal leaks and bad bearings too. They’re also well known for engine oil leaks from the valve covers (Toyota still hasn’t addressed the issue all these years later). The secondary air injection pumps are known to fail and leave you stranded. The front diffs are known to have growling and vibration problems. Then there’s the whole bed/tailgate/frame rust problem that’s been an ongoing issue with Toyota trucks for decades. The bed rust is an especially annoying one; if you’ve ever seen how the sheetmetal for the bed is joined, you can see why they rust so easily and severely.

        No truck is perfect, regardless of brand.

        1. @Brick2: Cam tower leak to be specific about value cover oil leak.
          Also the chief engineer will tell the owner of the truck whose had these problems that they are not Toyota’s or their a TSB.

      1. That’s a good point. I am sure with discounts you could get a new truck in the price range if you don’t go crazy with the options. Hell, I found a couple ecodiesel 4×4 crew cab tradesmans the other day for like $29k

    11. A Nissan Frontier will not tow what the guy is looking to tow. The frontier is a toy truck. Any of the big the full size trucks will work just fine. Someone mentioned the problems with the Ford 5.4 as having issues. The 5.4 Ford hasn’t been in the 150 since 09/10. Ecoboost and 5.0 have been there since 2011 and are great motors. I personally have an 09 f150 King ranch with the 3v 5.4 with a 168k miles on it and going strong. My last truck was an 02 Ram 1500 with 200k plus miles on it. American trucks are quality rigs. Do your research, and know that opinions are just that, opinions.

    12. Adam,
      I have an 09 Titan with 198,000 miles. I’ve pulled an 8,000lb trailer for 150,000of those miles. No issues with power train at all. Still runs like it did when I drove it of the lot with 16 miles. A well serviced Titan will give you years of service. Just do your do diligence.

    13. I bought a brand new 2016 F150 XL Sport with the 2.7 Ecoboost for 22k. Pulls my 7000 pound trailer like a beast, whatever I throw at it. Have right at 68k miles on it. Would never buy a used truck when there are several trucks out there new for 25k or less. Ram 1500 Tradesman as well as the F150 XL even some Silverado work trucks models are right at that price here in Texas with all the discounts.

    14. Had an Altima years old seemed to run good and was powerful for a small car. Never been behind the wheel of a titan and most can say the same. It’s a very uncommon truck compared to a ford or GM. Parts on a titan are going to be less common and help with diagnosising issues with the truck down the road will be harder just by the fact that there’s not many out there to create problems.
      Your better off buying a ford or chevy. Both have a few minor problems, but there’s not much unknown out there for them. Both of which could pull the guts out of a titan.
      Just my $0.02

    15. I own a 2004 Titan with 254000 miles on it as of now. The truck is strong and compared to dorm the newer trucked it hangs right in there. Some of the statement are true about the rear ends however 2008 and up do not have this problem. Mine has been replaced with the newer one and has no issues. I have taken this truck twice on 4k trips pulling a trailer and bed loaded truck has outstanding torque to move this load. I would not hesitate buying one if you need to haul a load.

    16. I’ve had 4 F-150s, 1 Dodge, and 1 Nissan. I wouldn’t own a Dodge (Ram) unless it was still under warranty. My Nissan has blown the transmission cooling lines (2x) and the exhaust manifold cracked. Both are known and common problems with the Nissan, and both occurred before 100k miles. As for my Ford trucks, Michigan winters (and salty roads) took their toll on the bodies, but I sold each one with 160k or more miles and had a line of people wanting to buy them.

      I suggest you research carcomplaints.com for the truck (and year) of interest to see which one actually is better.

    17. I owned a 08 titan 4 wheel drive and it had a awesome motor.It pulled great but the rest of the truck was sketchy with the heat and air repairs and the radio went out twice..I also owner a Toyota tundra that was a absolute peace of shit from day one and I advise anyone to stay away from them. When I buy trucks I use them and keep them in service in my co. as long as they are reliable. 89 ford 4 by 4 with the straight 6. 268.000 and still running strong. 05 explorer with 180.000 still in use.you can’t go wrong with a ford truck.

    18. Nissan needs to improve there tow mirrors. They don’t extend out far enough for you to see the end of a large box trailer that I tow. It had plenty of power with the Cummins diesel. The factory lights in the bed were worthless if you add the optional factory tool boxes. It was a comfortable riding truck. Plenty of power. Just don’t plan on towing a long box trailer. I have been driving tractor trailer since 1977 and I know what towing all about being safe.

    19. In Oct of ’16 I bought a brand new F-150 XL FX4 short bed 2.7 Ecoboost with air, chrome, cloth & power options, for $28,600 out the door. Surely you can find a new 2wd pick up to tow 7,500 lb for $25K.

    20. Well guys, try 37 year old f150 heavy half ton.
      Because I experimented with rear gear ratios I have to guess just over 400,000 miles. Most towing.

      I’m on a 995 dollar rebuilt 400m. (1993). Same t18 4 speed never been opened up, same 9 inch axle housing with axle bearings and seals replaced once.
      I am on 3rd clutch.

      It’s rough looking from all the camping trips, with primer paint on the truck and 60s aristrocrate overhead camper. I tow a utility trailer that carries water,shower, tools wood, hot water heater and batteries. I’m about 10,500lbs camping ready.

      It has always brought me home safe.
      Even when I had starter failures I could manage to push start it.
      It would roll start on its own on the slightest store parking lot grade.
      First starter lasted a long time. Lifetime Kragen starters lasted almost exactly 3 years each. Wierd.

      Imagine the good feelings you all get from your trucks comforts.

      Then you might feel the pride I have in my trucks reliabiWeird.

      Old Faithful is what my kids and grand kids have all called it.

      I think it may be deserving of a bed coating repaint. 😎😁😂

    21. It really comes down to the previous owner on how well the truck was maintained. Personally the big 3 does well on the reliability front.

      Paid around 32 grand for used v-10 1 ton and got over 350 thousand miles on it with out any major issues with it. Bought it with 35000 miles on it. I’d say over half them miles on it is with a trailer on it’s back. So I did pretty good with it on reliability on it.

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