Re: Purchasing S10 or Sonoma in 2019 as Long Term Daily Driver
Depends on your location...
Keep in mind, as the years tick by its hard on more than just the body. Anything rubber dries out and cracks over time. Both external and internal.
Valve seals dry out and start to bypass/burn oil.
Belts and hoses dry out and crack.
Engines often need some TLC, plugs, wire set, distributor, fluids/filters.
The suspension ball joints are often worn out and sloppy, the steering gear can be worn and sloppy.
The control arm bushings (OEM rubber) are dried out/cracked, and sloppy in addition to clunking noises.
The rear leaf spring eye bushings are all dried out/cracked.
The engine and trans mounts are likely mush, as are body mounts.
Interior, the plastic panels do dry out, harden, and become more susceptible to cracking, its very common for the drivers door panel handle to have busted away from the two retaining screws.
The EVAP system is often clogged/not functional, and requires canister replacement, or purge solenoid replacement.
Often over 20 years, a number of owners have home brewed various electrical additions for sound systems or just patched this or that. Chasing down electrical gremelins isn't fun.
The solder joints in the instrument cluster tend to crack over time, and many clusters start to flicker, or work intermittently. I've had to send 2 out to be repaired.
The wiring in the connector ends for the headlights and turn signals is often corroded and the wire casing dried/cracked, meaning headlights are dimmer or don't work as well or have intermittent problems with signals etc.
Battery cable ends are probably corroded as well.
The rotors, pads, and calipers are often shot and in need of replacement. Rear drums hold up better over time, usually shoes are ok, but the adjusters may be rusted up and out of adjustment, and not uncommon to find broken or missing springs, so a spring kit is necessary.
Shocks are often worn out on all four corners.
A lot of the above simply happens with age, how many "barn finds" that have sat for 40-50 years are turn the key and drive down the road? Almost none. If its really sat, have mice gotten into it and what did they eat?
So the thing is, sure, you can find a decent enough condition truck for like, 1,500-2,500 or w/e. But you'll likely spend another 2,500 bringing it back up to being what I'd consider road worthy and reliable. At that point you need to ask yourself if you're mechanically inclined and responsible enough to do all the maintenance which has probably been let go. If you're not, you'd be better off looking at something that's only 10-12 years old, e.g. a Colorado, and likely needs less TLC to be a good reliable daily driver, even if it means spending more.
S-10 handling sucks to start with, add 20 years of age and its a complete slop factory. Yes it'll drive down the road, but will it perform an evasive maneuver at highway speeds to avoid some jackarse, or something falling off a truck, without putting you in the ditch? Being able to move under its own power is one thing, doing so safely and reliably is another, and that's where a lot of people who come through these forums fall short either for lack of money, lack of skill, or just don't give a crap until they roll their truck in a ditch or its broken down on the side of the interstate and then blame someone else...
Sometimes spending cheap means getting other people's crap and problems. Never forget, humans are terrible **** bags as a species, lazy, entitled, list goes on. We're a throw away society and neglect everything, so a lot of what is old, is junk with way too much sentimental value.