What You Should Know Before Buying a Used Truck

What You Should Know Before Buying a Used Truck


By design, trucks are working vehicles. Though, anyone who drives a truck can tell you that they are more than that. Buying a used truck is a good way to get a sturdy vehicle at a great price.

Pickup trucks were made to work. Because of this, buying a used truck is a little harder buying a used car. Used pickup trucks often have a rough-and-tumble history, which means there's more to look out for.

Here are some things to consider when buying a used truck.

Determine What You Can Afford

Buying a used truck can be expensive, especially if you are lured by the options and upgrades. Set a budget before you begin your search so that you don't end up selecting potential trucks you can't afford.

You may have a trade-in to work with, but that shouldn't affect your overall price limit by much. Buying a used truck means your goal is to save money.

So, set your budget and decide on the must-have features. Don't be led astray by the bells and whistles.

How Many Passengers Will Ride?

If you need additional space for passengers, decide which type of cab you need. A standard cab works only if you rarely travel with others. If you have a family or others who travel with you, you will need at least an extended cab.

Crew and king cabs offer the most comfort for passengers. Your truck can also be the family vehicle if all can fit inside.

Hauling and Towing

Do you plan to use your truck or light hauling, or heavy loads? Regular commuting and lighter loads mean you only need a four-cylinder engine.

Though, if you'll be attaching a trailer for the big stuff, you need a six or even an eight-cylinder engine.

Also, note the towing capacities of the trucks you're considering. You will need to know the maximums for the truck.

Hauling and Towing History

You'll also want to know how the previous owner used the truck. For example, say the truck hauled heavy loads for the last 50,000 miles. That's a lot more wear and tear than a truck takes when not hooked to a trailer.

You won't always be able to get the history on the truck. Let's face it, even if you ask you may not get a truthful answer.

Having the truck inspected is one way to determine the condition of the truck. This is especially important when you see evidence of heavy towing.

You may see a worn tow hitch, a bent rear license plate, or a cable for wiring the brake lights on a trailer.

Four-Wheel Drive or Two-Wheel Drive?

Two-wheel drive (2WD) is fine for city driving in a mild climate. Though, if you plan on going off-roading, or live in an area that experience snow and ice, the four-wheel drive (4WD) is for you.

Remember that you trade fuel economy for the 4WD.

Check For Off-Road Use

Trucks are designed to be work vehicles. So, one thing to check for when buying a used truck is to check the wear on the truck's chassis, suspension and other components that wear from off-road use.

To do that, yes, get underneath that truck. Take a look. If you see a lot of outward cosmetic damage like scrapes, bent parts, scratches, the truck has spent significant time off-road.

This isn't necessarily a deal breaker. Though, you will want to keep in mind that you may have some maintenance in your future.

Diesel or Gas Engine?

Gasoline is fine for any light-duty truck, same as it is for a car. You, if you're buying a heavy-duty truck and plan to haul the max towing capacity, consider diesel. Diesel engines have higher torque to keep those loads moving.

Have The Truck Inspected

You should have any used vehicle inspected before you buy, especially a truck. Because trucks are work vehicles, they have more adventures than your average car.

The purpose of the inspection is to find and trouble spots. Those red flags can be deal breakers or bargaining chips for getting a better price.

Second, the inspection will help assure you that the truck is in the condition you want it before you sign on the dotted line.

What To Check During An Inspection

Here are some things to check during an inspection.

Rust. Rust is a good indicator of the truck's condition, though you have to know where to look. Check under the truck and around and in the doors. You may also fund rust under the paint. Look for bumps pushing up from smooth surfaces.

Accident Damage. A vehicle history report will let you know if the truck has been in an accident. A major accident is most likely a deal breaker.

The Engine. Test out the gears even on a truck with an automatic transmission. There should be no funny sounds or unexpected lurches.

Cracks and Leaks. These are no-brainers. Leaks can be hard and expensive to fix.

They also indicate damage. The same goes for cracked parts. You'd be looking at repairs almost immediately.

Wear And Tear. Some wear and tear is expected. Though, too much is a risk. Even a used truck that's only a couple of years old would need repairs if the previous owner was unduly rough with it.

Also, if you note significant wear and tear on a truck with low mileage, someone may have tampered with the odometer.

Oil. The seller should have changed the oil fairly recently. Check the levels and fluid quality.

Belts and shock absorbers. Check for overall condition and wear.

By checking these areas during an inspection, you can position yourself to buy the perfect truck for you.

Is Buying a Used Truck In Your Future?

Buying a used pickup truck is a little trickier than buying a used car. Used trucks often have a rougher history. Though, that doesn't mean you can't benefit from buying used.

Buying a used pickup truck is a great way to save money and be happy with your purchase.

If you have any questions about buying a used truck, please contact us.

Categories: Pre-Owned Inventory