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Are you thinking about buying a truck? We recently talked to Mike Levasseur – a Sierra owner who has owned nine Sierras over the years – about what he takes into consideration when planning to buy a new truck. Mike uses his trucks for business and recreation, and though some of his needs may be different from yours, his experience will give you some insights.
Trucks are the backbone of Mike’s work – and play
Mike lives in Pickering, Ontario and runs a business, where he builds everything from gazebos and recycling storage units to over-size garages, workshop studios, and even small barns. And that’s where the trucks come in. Mike needs to move dirt, gravel and sand, sheds, complete garage trusses and equipment like Bobcat skid-steer machines – sometimes over long distances.
In his time off, Mike’s hunting and fishing trips involve some serious trailering, so his Sierras play a big role there, as well.
To get that heavy-duty work (and play) done, Mike currently owns two Sierra 2500 HDs (2005, 2006) and a Sierra 1500 (2004). But he’ll be buying new trucks soon; here are four important criteria Mike takes into consideration when planning a new truck purchase.
Towing and hauling
“What I’ve noticed,” Mike says, “is that we’ve been hauling heavier loads, and I’ve been buying equipment like bobcats... So that’s why over the years I used to do half tons but now I have to go to Heavy Duty trucks. And for my next truck, I’m even thinking about buying a dually, just for that purpose.” In addition, to save time and costs, Mike likes to haul everything in one load, especially when he’s traveling long distances to put up a building. Mike’s work trailers are rated up to 10,000 pounds capacity, and his recreational trips involve hauling a 25 foot enclosed trailer (loaded with ATVs, snowmobiles, etc.) and behind it, a 20 foot boat trailer carrying a 16 foot aluminum boat. So for Mike, a truck’s towing capacity is key.
Mike is also concerned about wear – what kind of tough use the truck he’s planning on buying can take. That includes towing capacity, cargo capacity, mileage, and general wear and tear. For example, he’s discovered that towing is hard on brakes, and that the four wheel disc brakes on the Sierra HDs are long lasting and up to the job.
Ease of set-up
There’s nothing better than being able to start using your truck “right out of the box.” For Mike, that ability comes thanks to the electronic brake control unit, which is included with the Sierra HD trailering package. “That’s what I’ve noticed in the past two or three years,” he says, “they’ve really got the truck organized for towing, ready to go. Just put your plug in and you’ve got [trailer] brakes, you’ve got lights, you’ve got everything.” *
*Electronic brake control unit is standard on the Sierrra SLT and Denali, and optional on all other models
Whether it’s his work crew or hunting buddies, Mike’s usually got company, with three or four guys along for the ride. And he says, “The guys are comfortable in the back seats” – even on longer trips up north.
Like everyone, Mike is conscious of the price of gas. His current trucks run on gasoline, and he says the gas engines are “powerful enough to tow anything I have.” Mike’s commute adds up, so he’s considered diesel-powered Sierras, and is doing research on the Sierra hybrid.
Questions to ask yourself
Mike’s specific needs might be quite different from yours. But need (and affordability) is the starting point in your truck buying decision-making process. Are you towing? Are you transporting people? Is your vehicle for work or leisure? Check out the list of things to discuss with your dealer, and take a look at the downloadable worksheet we’ve provided for a checklist specific to towing.
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