Trucks have evolved from farm equipment to casual driving vehicles over the years, but one thing remains the same for all of them—trucks can be fantastic but expensive vehicles. A used truck is a great option if you don’t have the cash necessary to get a brand-new truck with all the bells and whistles.
That’s where used cars and trucks come in! If you know what to look for, you can get a quality vehicle for a fraction of the cost from the used vehicle market. But what do you look for when buying a used truck?
Knowing What You Want
The first step in getting used cars and trucks is knowing what you want. Make a list of what you need, what you want, and what you can do without. Set a budget for how much you’re willing and able to spend.
Ask yourself: is this going to be a work truck or a casual driving one? Will it have to tow or carry heavy equipment? Will it stay on roads or be used for off-road adventures? Does it need to be bigger or smaller, more powerful or weaker, more or less tech-equipped? This can change what kind of truck you’re looking for dramatically.
Then search for trucks that meet your needs and choose some to look at in person. Once you’re in front of the used truck you want, it’s time to assess it.
What to Look for When Assessing a Used Truck or Car
Like any used vehicle, you want to check for excessive damage or problems outside of normal wear and tear on your used truck, especially if you’re using it on the job. That means doing a visual inspection, a test drive, and even having a professional mechanic do a thorough inspection before purchase.
Here are some things to look for in your visual inspection of a used truck:
- Rust on the frame (or painted-over areas that may be hiding rust)
- Tire wear and installation problems
- Evidence of leaks in the engine, near the tires, or otherwise under the truck
- Recent engine work or the existence of aftermarket parts
All of these things can indicate major potential problems for a used truck that you either want to be fixed before you buy or take note of before the sale. If the vehicle passes muster on visuals, take it for a test drive and be sure there aren’t any issues with the way it drives.
Important Used-Truck-Specific Tips
Compared to used cars, there are a few more things to check when buying a used work truck. For example, it’s recommended that you not get a former fleet truck because of high-stress use.
Used trucks can also have excess wear or damage due to too much towing weight or mishaps from going off-road unprepared, which is crucial to check for through visual inspection or the vehicle’s repair history.
Now that you know what to look for when buying a used truck, it’s time to go out and find one of your own! Check online or at your local dealership to start your own search.
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