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  1. #1

    Default Aftermarket upgrades on new or new slightly used trucks- is it worth it.

    As most of us know, the cost of owning any vehicle gets expensive. Trucks might be easier to work on in most cases, but they are more expensive to operate.

    So there are a number of places you can spend money on them, two main places are maintaining what you have and upgrading what you have.

    So a couple of questions?

    You buy a new or slightly used truck ( less than 3 years old/ less than 30,000 miles)

    • The factory exhaust works, typically does not rust, why waste money and upgrade it?
    • The factory wheels work, why replace something that is not broke?
    • The factory air intake works, its not broke, don't fix it ( clean it when necessary )
    • Truck height, well it works from the factory..... $2000 for a lift? lets save the money for something more useful.
    • (you get the idea)
    • Stage III, IV, V transmission, engine and axles and rear diff..... it costs allot, but the truck is brand new.

    But once it has 200,000, 300,000, 500,000 miles on it and parts need replacing it ends up being a money trap again.; but the reasons change:

    • My exhaust is rusted out, need to replace, go factory or upgrade?
    • My wheels are all torn up, new ones would be nice, well that is another $2000-$10,000 depending on the wheels and tires
    • Cold air intake? not "that expensive, lets upgrade it.......
    • Lift kit? well what else can go wrong at this point, its not worth replacing if it gets wrecked.
    • Stage III, IV, V transmission, engine and axles and rear diff..... it costs allot, but the truck is old, so upgrading everything gives me practically a brand new drive train, engine, etc for less than the cost of a new truck, but everything else is still OLD, but I get 500+ HP

    So where do you draw the line? Do you spend the money up front, or on the tail end of the trucks life when parts really need to be replaced?

    In the end, I guess it comes down to what the truck is worth to you?

  2. #2


    Because everyone wants to be different and to do so you have to pay most of the time.

    Some mods do have a purpose in the owners eyes, such a little more hp or better sound quality or the so they can go over a bigger obstacle

    But in the end that money that one would spend doesn't have much of a return.

    You could also use that thought process towards why buy a new truck when a 2 yr old used does the same...
    2002 Chevy Silverado & 1995 Ford Bronco

    02 Silverado: 50K miles, 20" Motto Rims, Flowmaster 50 Series
    95 Bronco: 160K miles, 4" Superlift, 33/12.5/15 Mickey Thompson
    01 Civic: 75K miles, DD

  3. #3


    I believe that the slightly-used market is the market dealers want us to buy into in order to maximize their profits, as the truck is still new enough to be desired, still new enough to have no major mechanical issues in most cases (which limits dealer spend on fixes prior to resale), yet it is old enough to be out of warranty or have just a tad left (which lets them sell you a warranty, depending on where you buy from).

    I am personally inclined to go new or go a bit older ... and avoid the slightly-used trap that I feel dealers set for us.

    Some perspective:
    * I spent far less by upgrading than I would if I bought new
    * I actually have things that a loaded, new truck wouldn't have, at all.
    * I learned (and am still learning) things by doing the work
    * I had a good time doing the work
    * I have a truck that is distinctly mine instead of being cookie-cutter
    * I have a clear title and no monthly payment
    * The money I saved pays for fuel and future repairs/upgrades rather than a truck payment with interest

    That's where I draw the line due to the benefits noted, above. Others may draw it differently, especially if a warranty is important to them. It wasn't important, to me and would, in fact, have been a hindrance.
    Last edited by SurrealOne; 09-12-2012 at 11:34 AM.

  4. #4


    Personally I buy new for personal use because after so many years of being broke I can finally afford it.
    But I'm not opposed to buying a decent used truck and as a matter of fact do it quite often since I flip cars as a side line.
    As far as modifying, I used to replace everything I could as fast as I could, now that I'm a little older I replace what needs to be replaced according to my priorities, most mods on my newest truck dont consist of replacing but adding parts that it didnt have when I bought it, I had thought of putting a new muffler and tail pipes on but I've cooled off on that idea since it runs fine like it is.
    By not spending the money modding this truck I can afford to go buy another toy.

  5. #5


    If aftermarket mods work at all, meaning they give you a hp and/or mpg boost, then they are always worth it no matter the vehicle's age. If the vehicle is new then you'll get better-than-advertised performance. If the vehicle is slightly used or old, then the mods may return you to your original, "like new" performance. The latter is what I am hoping for as I am just now installing some after market mods (air filter, muffler and eventually an electric radiator fan) to an 11.5 year old truck. I am currently getting 13city/16hwy mpg and I hope my mods will get me back to my factory 17/20 mpgs. Only time will tell.

    I would draw the line at total cost. How much are the mods costing vs how much would you be putting down on a new car and then paying month to month? For me, my truck is paid off and all the parts I just bought, including a set of wheels, are all under $1300. Not bad at all to keep the truck running maybe another five years, over which I might get some fuel savings. Makes sense to me instead of plopping down twice that for a down payment and then dropping $400 to $600 a month payment, plus a higher insurance payment month to month on a new car.
    Clint (TX) 2001 Silverado LS 4.8L auto 2wd ECSB [GARAGE]
    Gasoline or gunpowder: If you ain't burning one, you ain't having fun!
    NRA Endowment Member 5 24 48 88 - Hendrick Motorsports FTW!

  6. #6


    Something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay you for it. Nak if I had your truck I would keep it and mod the hell out of it. The reason is it is yours. It is paid for so you don't have that note hanging over your head. I beleive you have asked about getting a new motor and trans which is a big price. But if you look at the price for a new motor and trans compared to the price of a new truck you still come out ahead. So you may need a small loan to replace the combo but in a few short months it would also be paid off than you would have a "new" truck again.
    When I bought my truck I wanted a used one for many of the same reason's that Surreal listed. But the purchase price for what I was looking at compared to what I paid for a brand new truck was about the same. As I knew I had to get a loan to cover the price the intrest rates for a new car loan are lower than if I tried to get one for a used car. But that isn't your issue since the truck is already yours.
    As far as modding a brand new truck I may not be the best person to give info on this. As I installed my leveling springs with less than 3k on the odometer. I also installed my CAI with less than 10k miles. I can't leave well enough alone when it comes to my toys. If there is something better than what I have and I feel it is a "weakness" or there is something better out there I want to install it. There is nothing wrong with my exhaust, but I plan on replacing it soon. Tires are still good they will be replaced in a month or so.

    2011 GMC Sierra SLE - 5.3 - 4X4 - Z71 - King Shock Level Kit - Body Color GMC grill emblem - 2 Tone Engine Cover, Rad Cover and Battery Box - Volant CAI - Tru Cool 40K tranny cooler - Sylvania ZXE bulbs Hi/Low -TriFold Hard Tonneau Cover- CoverCraft Seat Covers - Diablo inTune - GoRecon LED under rail lights - GoRecon LED White Lightning Tailgate Light Bar - Windows tinted to 45%- Kenwood DNX6990 - JL Audio C5-650 &650X- JL Audio Amp- Interco Truxus M/T 33x12.50x18

  7. #7


    I see some modifications as a necessity for the drivers needs. Some examples are items like nerf bars, bed covers, and fuel tanks. Granted you can get some of these mods included in the purchase price of your new vehicle, not all factory add-ons will meet every customer's needs. Now I also agree additions like new tires/wheels, exhausts, and intake systems installed on a new vehicle are mainly owners preference. Now I can't speak for everybody, but I modded my truck to add my own unique taste to my ride. Sure the truck was fine as it was, but at the same time I wanted to look at my truck and think "that's my truck".
    To me there are two kinds of vehicle owners out there: the ones who see their vehicle just as a means of transportation, and those who see their vehicle as something more. Some people see the vehicle as an extension of themselves or as a member of the family. Finally, the last reasoning I have for "unnecessary" modifications is that the only difference between kids and adults is the the price of their toys. There is a definite cool factor of having a unique ride!

    2010 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE Extended Cab Z71 4X4 5.3L Flex Fuel
    MagnaFlow single in duel out system
    Volant CAI & Ram Air Scoop with Power Core Filter
    Rhino Tuff Grip Spray in Bed liner
    Undercover Classic Tonneau
    Trail FX Bug "deflector"
    AVS Window Deflectors
    Black Powder Coated Nerf Bars
    RECON L.E.D. Interior, 3rd Cab light, Projector headlights, and Taillights
    ATX Crawl Wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich Rugged Terrain tires
    CalTrend Neoprene seat covers
    2" leveling kit from Max Trac
    Diablo Trinity with Diablew Tune

  8. #8


    I am sure you can guess where I stand on this subject! LOL

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    *View our 2011 Silverado Build Page here

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