What to Look for in a Used Ford Ranger

Learn about the Ford Ranger before deciding on the right truck…

iStock_000017381989SmallIn 2013, Ford began using the tagline, “Go Further,” to pledge a commitment in delivering great products. After nearly three decades of production, the Ford Ranger’s line ended in December of 2011. Its reliability, utility and power kept the production line running for 29 years. As one of the most popular pickup trucks year after year, the Ranger truly laid a baseline for the future of “Go Further” vehicles.

The name “Ranger” was coined in 1965 when it began appearing as a styling package for the F-Series pickup truck. In 1981, plans for an official Ranger truck were unveiled in Dearborn, Mich. A year later, the first model was created in Louisville, Ky. Today, it’s still one of America’s most desirable and durable pickup trucks. In 2003 and 2007, Four Wheeler magazine named the Ranger as one of the Best Bargain 4×4’s. Also in 2007, Edmunds named the Ranger as the most affordable truck.

The Ranger comes in a variety of editions, making it easy to determine the exact model that suits a buyer’s budget, lifestyle and needs. Some critics rave that the best Rangers are the 1990 to 1997 editions, which offer the 4.0 liter V6 engine. These models also feature an 8.8-inch rear axle. Keep in mind that the greatest cause for transmission failure in Ford trucks is heat, so investing in an additional transmission cooler isn’t a bad idea.

There are multiple areas on the Ranger that tend to rust, such as the rear cab corners, door bottoms, driver’s floor board and the bed sides above the wheel wells. Upon purchase of one of these trucks, a regular under-body wash will prevent serious rusting, like most other vehicles. If you are able to test drive the vehicle, check for strange noises, handling issues and steering problems.

Before deciding to purchase a Ford Ranger, check the transfer case for cracks or holes and the driveshafts for dents. Also check for fluid leaks and if the passenger floor is wet from a bad heater. The ball joints of pickup trucks are particularly important; rock the vehicle to check if the joints are still in good shape. If any of these issues exist, get an estimate of how much repairs would cost.

Those looking for a newer-model pickup truck will be pleased with the 2011 Ranger. It’s a compact pickup available in both manual and automatic transmissions. This model can achieve 19 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway, which is usual for its class. With a V6 engine, this Ranger can tow up to 5,800 pounds. The regular cab holds up to three people, while the extended cab has two additional rear seats.

Although declining sales led to the end of the truck’s segment, the Ranger had one of the best reliability scores in its class. Although some buyers complain the model has poor fuel economy, most would agree that a Ranger in decent condition will need little to no repairs outside of regular maintenance.

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