If you’re in the market for a pickup because you need a pickup, that is… you’re going to put it to the test and need something tougher and roomier than an SUV, it’s important to take a look at the warranties on competing models. Truck warranties cover four aspects of the vehicle: Basic Warranty (which covers pretty much everything on the truck in its early life), Drivetrain (the internal components that are often high-ticket items to replace), Rust (exterior of the car only), and Roadside (which means someone will head out to help you if your battery dies in the middle of nowhere or you run out of gas). We compared four popular trucks with regards to each of these warranty components: Dodge Dakota, Toyota Tacoma, Isuzu i-370, and the Ford Ranger. Here’s what we found out:
Basic Warranty. Three years of coverage or up to 36,000 miles is the industry standard and covers the average lease, making all four candidates dependable with the Dakota, Ranger, and Tacoma coming in on par. The Isuzu i-370, however, comes out ahead in this category, with the Isuzu Basic Warranty covering three years or up to 50,000 miles. This is important if you do a considerable amount of driving or hauling and plan to put on more than 12,000 miles a year.
Drivetrain. This is the biggie because engine components are expensive to replace and quite frankly, you can’t continue to drive the truck if they aren’t functional like you could with most exterior component failures. Isuzu proves superiority in this category as well with 7-year, 75,000 mile powertrain coverage. The Tacoma and Ranger lag significantly with their 5-year, 60,000 mile warranties, and Dodge brings up the rear with its considerably inferior 3-year, 36,000 mile coverage.
Rust. Now this may not mean a whole lot unless you live in an area of the country where the seasons can be less than friendly on your car, or if you tend to do a lot of city driving on salted streets in winter. If either of those situations apply, rust prevention should be a priority. In this arena, all four vehicles run neck and neck with Isuzu’s corrosion limited warranty slightly more impressive than the others. Dodge offers a 5-year, 100,000 miles warranty for the Dakota while Isuzu gives car owners an extra year with 6-years or 100,000 miles rust-free. Toyota and Ford won’t cover as long as Isuzu will. They offer five years only, with unlimited mileage (which doesn’t account for a whole lot since corrosion is associated with time and not the number of miles the truck drives).
Roadside Assistance. The winner, again, Isuzu with a 7-year, 75,000 mile roadside assistance package. A full four years longer than the Dakota’s 3-year and 36,000 mile guarantee. Ford provides assistance for the Ranger for five years or 60,000 miles. And we had trouble finding the Tacoma’s roadside assistance package on Toyota’s website, so we aren’t even sure one is offered.
All in all, Isuzu seems to stand behind its i-370 (and i-290) by extending its warranties beyond those of its competitor—always a good sign when trying to determine if a vehicle will withstand the additional wear and tear pickups tend to endure. If you’re not going to push the truck to its limit, the Ford and Toyota’s warranty packages will probably prove to be sufficient. The biggest red flag, in our opinion, is Dodge Dakota’s extremely limited drivetrain warranty which could very easily equate to big expenses down the line.