Most Reliable Trucks for RVing

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A reliable truck camper towing a camper.

You don’t just want a capable truck; you also want the most reliable one. For RVers with lightweight trailers, you don’t need a heavy-duty F350 dually. This means you can search for dependable trucks and not just trucks with superior towing capacities. 

Today, we’ll look at the most reliable trucks based on J.D. Power’s rankings so you can choose the option that best suits your camping lifestyle. Let’s dive in!

Do You Need a Truck to Tow a Camper?

Most campers who own a towable RV will also own a truck to tow it. Some travel trailers, pop-up campers, and teardrops are lightweight enough that an SUV or other type of vehicle can pull them. But most are too heavy and require, at the very least, a light-duty truck.

Any camper over 5,000 pounds will likely require a truck to tow it because trucks have more towing capacity than other types of vehicles. You can read our article about lightweight campers that don’t need a truck to learn more about your options.

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Truck for RVing

There are several things to consider when looking for the perfect truck for towing. Towing capacity is essential, as you want a reliable truck that can pull the camper load. You don’t want to stress the vehicle by overloading it and risking brake system failure, engine trouble, or transmission problems.

However, you also want to consider payload capacity. This is the weight the truck can handle in and on the vehicle. For example, the hitch weight is the weight the camper places on the tow vehicle’s rear bumper. Generally, this is 15-20% of the overall RV weight.

If your truck has a payload capacity of 1,000 pounds and the hitch weight is 300 pounds, you have a maximum of 700 pounds left for cargo, passengers, and fuel. You can quickly reach this number using the truck bed for camping gear like bikes, tents, kayaks, etc.

Maintenance is another important factor when looking for the most reliable trucks for towing. Do your research. What is the approximate cost to make typical repairs? If you camp often, you’ll have the standard wear and tear every truck experiences, but you’ll also have the added wear and tear of consistent towing.

Remember that diesel trucks will be far more expensive to maintain, and you’ll have limited options for service technicians since not every shop will have a diesel mechanic.

Finally, engine power is another critical consideration. The towing capacity reflects the engine type, so often, you’ll look at the engine and towing capacity together. One model truck with a particular engine may have a 6,000-pound towing capacity, while the same model truck with a different engine may have an increased towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. Cab size, axle ratio, and truck bed length also affect towing capacity, so it’s not just the engine type.

What Is J.D. Power’s Reliability Rating?

J.D. Power has been analyzing data in the automotive industry for over 50 years. Its reputation has established it as one of the world’s most well-known and trusted brands. The company uses big data, artificial intelligence, and algorithmic modeling capabilities to provide valuable information for customers and manufacturers.

You’ll often read on a company’s website that it has earned a J.D. Power award for the last five years. These awards and the data collected provide valuable insights into the automotive industry and a brand’s reliability.

The J.D. Power’s reliability ratings are based on “survey feedback from verified car owners each year to uncover and understand their experiences over the first three months of ownership and, subsequently, their experiences over the first three years of ownership.”

J.D. Power then takes the data and categorizes the vehicles into price range and car size so consumers can compare apples to apples in the car industry.

The reliability ratings factor in defects, malfunctions, and design flaws. The surveys and data include everything from the engine, infotainment system, interior lights, and steering. A higher rating means fewer problems.

7 Most Reliable Trucks for RVing This Year

When looking for the most reliable trucks, keep in mind that this ranking is based on the above data by J.D. Power and not towing capacity. If you need to tow a 20,000-pound toy hauler, your options will be much more limited because there are only a few trucks with that type of towing capacity.

But if you want a standard light-duty truck that’s dependable with few defects and malfunctions, here are your most reliable trucks.

1. Chevrolet Silverado

J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 87/100

Towing Capacity: maximum 13,300 pounds

Payload Capacity: maximum 2,260 pounds

Top Features: The Chevrolet Silverado tops our list of most reliable trucks. It comes standard with a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, but three upgraded engines are available, including a Duramax turbodiesel 3.0-liter six-cylinder.

The fuel economy is poor but typical for trucks in this class. The Silverado ZR2 Bison Edition provides the performance and capability off-roaders need on difficult terrain. MSRP for the Chevrolet Silverado base package starts at $36,300.

2. Ford F150

J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 86/100

Towing Capacity: maximum 14,000 pounds

Payload Capacity: maximum 3,310 pounds

Top Features: The best-selling Ford of all time is the F150. There are three engine options, numerous trim levels, and luxurious interiors with the Limited and Platinum editions. The Ford F150 lacks efficient fuel economy but makes up for it in payload and towing capacities. 

For RVers who need a reliable, capable truck to tow a camper, the Ford F150 is one of the best. The J.D. Power safety rating is an astounding 9.4/10. MSRP starts at $33,835.

Read More: Click to read about the all of the Ford 150 options available on the market!

3. Ford Ranger

J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 86/100

Towing Capacity: maximum 7,500 pounds

Payload Capacity: maximum 1,905 pounds

Top Features: The Ford Ranger is the only truck on our list with only one engine option. It comes with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, which delivers 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

Off-road campers can upgrade to the Tremor or FX4 off-road packages. MSRP starts at $27,400.

4. GMC Sierra 1500

J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 86/100

Towing Capacity: maximum 13,000 pounds

Payload Capacity: maximum 2,270 pounds

Top Features: The GMC Sierra 1500 comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but three upgraded engines are available for increased towing: a 5.3-liter V8, a 6.2-liter V8, and a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V8. It also feels more upscale than the Ford and Chevrolet trucks. 

The MultiPro Tailgate eases unloading and loading, a huge perk for RVers. But it’s one of the most expensive options, even at the base level, with an MSRP of over $37,000.

5. Nissan Frontier

J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 83/100

Towing Capacity: maximum 6,690 pounds

Payload Capacity: maximum 1,620 pounds

Top Features: The following three vehicles on our list of most reliable trucks have a much lower towing capacity, which is something to keep in mind. They’re great for reliability but will only haul lightweight trailers. But the Nissan Frontier is one of the better options for off-road traveling on this list. 

It comes standard with a V6 3.8 liter gas engine, options for 4WD, ample ground clearance, and overslung rigid leaf springs. It’s also one of the most affordable, with an MSRP starting under $30,000.

6. Toyota Tacoma

J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 83/100

Towing Capacity: maximum 6,800 pounds

Payload Capacity: maximum 1,155 pounds

Top Features: Another great option for off-road travel is the Toyota Tacoma. It’s available in seven trims, allowing owners to choose the best upgrades and features to suit their camping needs. 

The TRD Off-Road trim has the multi-terrain select with crawl control for superior off-road performance. The Tacoma is the best-selling truck in its class, offering plenty of standard features in even the base trim. MSRP starts at $28,600.

Keep in Mind: Does Flat Towing a Car Add Miles to It? Let’s find out.

An Toyota Tacoma towing a boat.

7. Ford Maverick

J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 81/100

Towing Capacity: maximum 4,000 pounds

Payload Capacity: 1,500 pounds

Top Features: The Ford Maverick rounds out our list of most reliable trucks, giving Ford three of our seven spots. The base hybrid powertrain provides excellent fuel economy, and owners can choose the Tremor off-road package or FX4 off-road package if desired.

The Maverick also has one of the roomiest interiors among the last three compact trucks on our list. MSRP starts at $23,400.

A Ford Maverick truck parked at a campground.

What Is the Best-Selling Truck In the U.S.?

Ford has remained the leader in truck sales for 46 years. There were 640,000 Ford F-Series trucks sold in 2022. As you can see from our list of most reliable trucks, Ford’s innovation, performance, and capability surpasses most other brands.

Ford also offers a comprehensive lineup from heavy-duty trucks to the F150 Lightning to the compact Maverick. There’s a truck for all types of consumers in the Ford line.

These Most Reliable Trucks Will Keep You Camping This Season

Most people do lots of research before purchasing an RV. You want to make an informed decision and choose the layout, amenities, and features that best suit your camping style. An RV, whether a teardrop trailer or a Class A motorhome, is an investment.

Do the same research when buying a truck to tow your trailer. Check out J.D. Power’s reliability rankings and the data collected for performance, safety, and interior comfortability.

If you plan on doing some heavy traveling, you want a truck that will be dependable from the beginning of the camping season to the end.

Which of these reliable trucks will you be looking at?

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