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  • Truck Trend Letters to the Editor: F-150, Manual Transmission, and Pickup Truck of the Year

Truck Trend Letters to the Editor: F-150, Manual Transmission, and Pickup Truck of the Year

Emissions Check

Oct 19, 2016

DEFly Afraid

I have been a subscriber to Truck Trend for many years and very much enjoy the magazine. I would like to suggest that you do an article on the myths and facts of diesel vehicles in the USA. Specifically, what are the realities and impacts of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), diesel particulate filters, and regeneration issues (frequency, impact on mileage, etc.) associated with modern diesels in the United States. Most articles about diesel-powered trucks gush with enthusiasm but do not inform potential buyers about the unique care and feeding requirements levied on diesel engines by the EPA. I recently purchased a Ram 1500 with the 3.0L EcoDiesel engine and am very pleased. It has plenty of power and the mileage is more than noteworthy. I average between 25 and 27 mpg in my rural county. My driving is quasi-highway since there are only two stoplights in the entire county. After purchase, I learned that if my truck runs out of diesel exhaust fluid it reduces power and goes into a limp mode. Both General Motors and Ford also have the same crippling device in place. Once I learned about this issue I thought that I would just stock up on DEF but learned that the fluid has an extremely short shelf life, which precludes keeping extra DEF at home like motor oil, etc. If there is ever a shortage of exhaust fluid for any reason diesel trucks have a liability.
Keith Kuczka
That is a great suggestion with some very valid points. Our sister magazine, Diesel Power, has written in depth about the function and necessity of diesel exhaust fluid, exhaust gas recirculation, and diesel particulate filters. Like you said, your Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will not leave you totally stranded if it runs out of exhaust fluid. All manufacturers’ trucks go into a reduced power “limp mode” when the tank runs dry, as mandated by the EPA. However, they are still able to drive at between 5 and 15 mph. This is intended to get the truck out of traffic and to a filling station. Though, we must say, there’s really no reason to ever run out of DEF. All trucks give a warning and a countdown, typically starting at 500 miles until empty, in the driver information center display, with Ram trucks providing the best indication of exhaust fluid level of all manufacturers. Regarding the shelf life of DEF, heat is the big factor. If stored at 72 degrees, exhaust fluid will last for about a year. Lower temperatures increase that time, higher decreases it. And it can be frozen and thawed with no detriment to performance. Although DEF availability was an issue around five years ago, it’s now commonly available at most auto parts stores, gas stations, and truck stops.

Less Is More

Photo 5/10   |   Less Is More
While I do not presently own a truck, I have a Lincoln Navigator, I do so ever enjoy Truck Trend. All is not lost; I have owned three pickup trucks in the past 13 years.
A letter in your July/Aug. ’16 issue urges publication each month instead of the present schedule for every two months. I wish to strongly express my wishes for continuing your bimonthly schedule. It gives your magazine more substance and more credibility.
It is one reason that I subscribe. I think your quality of information must decline if monthly since there just isn't enough meaningful and helpful data to fill each month.
I do also like the way you urge continued use of manual shift transmissions, especially that teens ought to be required to be licensed first on the stick shift instead of merely automatics.
Richard DeVries
Thanks for the kind words, but we disagree! There is absolutely no reason that the quality of each issue would decline with increased frequency. In fact, there is so much going on in the world of trucks and SUVs that we struggle each issue with deciding what goes into print and what is relegated to live only on our website. If we had more pages (read: issues) we could do a lot more comparisons, tests, and reviews. It would be wonderful!
That all said, it’s still up to management what happens, and as of now we’re destined to stay the course.

Out Of Juice

Photo 6/10   |   Out Of Juice
I agree that every new driver should have to know how to drive a manual transmission, but if your battery is dead you cannot tow or push it to start. Modern alternators (unlike the old generators) do not produce power unless you supply power to them.
Larry Evans
This is a true statement; thanks for bringing it up Larry. However, it should be known that most dead battery situations aren’t truly dead. It only takes a small amount of voltage to command the alternator to produce power and fuel pump to turn on, so if you don’t have enough to crank the starter but the dome light still works, you should be good to bump start.

Bait And Switch

Photo 7/10   |   Bait And Switch
A while back, in one of their many emails, AARP listed a story about the five vehicles that you should not buy. I clicked on it and number five was a Chevrolet Silverado 1500. They state it made the list because of poor quality, numerous repair problems, and lots of minor issues.
I've liked Chevy and GMC trucks in years past, but always thought that GMC was more expensive up front but worth less at trade-in time. Your choice of the $62,000 ’16 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali for 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year was a little surprising to me, but maybe the Denali package is worth more these days. The difference in cost is not worth it to me.
Steve Shaner
We’ve got two different things going on here; the first is a classic example of clickbait. These types of stories flood the Internet and are written only to get you to click on the link. There’s no substance and rarely any truth. It’s hard to comment on the specifics of this story having not read it, but we’ve got a pretty good idea of what it likely says. Stick with reviews from trusted sources like Truck Trend, Motor Trend, KBB, PickupTrucks.com, and the like.
The second part, Chevy versus GMC, comes down to personal preferences regarding styling and the availability of incentives. Package for package the Silverado and Sierra price out about the same, you can run the tally on a Silverado 1500 High Country equal to a Sierra 1500 Denali. Which one is less expensive comes down to your dealer, your negotiating skills, and the availability of incentive offers. Your mileage may vary, just know that when cross shopping all brands you’ll be surprised just how even the pricing really is.

Way Back Machine

Photo 8/10   |   Way Back Machine
Can you tell me whom I could get in touch with about buying a back issue of the magazine?
Christy Overton
This one is easy! Just point your Internet browser to TENbackissues.com. For high-quality custom reprints and framings, call 1-800-290-5460 or email TENreprints@theygsgroup.com.

Both Worlds

Photo 9/10   |   Both Worlds
After reading the issue and your letter, I wanted to give you my thoughts on the Truck/SUV discussion. I now own a ’15 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ and a ’16 Silverado High Country. For the last 25 years, I have had both an SUV and a truck in the garage. The SUV can do 75 percent of the things the truck can do but not everything. The Tahoe might ride a little smoother than the Silverado but not by much. The Silverado tows more and hauls more, and every once in a while, that is needed. The Tahoe is more of a luxury vehicle, but the Silverado High Country is a nice ride. I don't believe one will take the place of the other and applaud you and your magazine for covering both. My wife feels like the Tahoe is easier to park and drive in traffic, so she drives it more often. When we need to carry six or seven people, the third row seats in the Tahoe are nice.
A lot of our friends have both trucks and SUVs, and I will continue to keep each in my garage. I love your magazine—keep up the good work.
Billy Quinton
Thanks, Billy, we totally agree and will continue to be the truck and SUV authority.

Hit The Road

Photo 10/10   |   Hit The Road
When I received my first issue of Truck Trend, I wrote a letter complaining about the fact that there were more articles about SUVs than trucks. It hasn’t changed much in the last year, so I will not be renewing my subscription. I thought the magazine would be about trucks and only about trucks. There is more than enough information out there to fill your magazine with articles and photos, focusing only on trucks.
When I hear SUVs, I think of women, kids, and shopping.
Bob Galasso
We hate to see you go, but Truck Trend has always been about more than just pickup trucks. It says right on each and every cover, since day one, that we are the truck and SUV authority. So it’s not like we’ve been trying to hide anything. Subscriptions are cheap. You should keep it going for another year and each issue tear out and mail back to us all of the stories about SUVs as a form of protest. You can send them to:
831 S. Douglas St.
El Segundo, CA 90713
We look forward to your letters!