How to Buy a Used Truck


There are many advantages to buying a used truck over a new truck. The biggest advantage is a used truck will still get the job done at a fraction of the price of a new truck. Here are a few things to look at as you search for your next truck online, with a dealership, or from a private party for sale by owner.

  • Determine what the main use of the truck will be for you. If you are pulling heavy loads with your truck or are off road your needs may be different than if you just need the open truck bed to haul small loads or transport deliveries. If you are using the truck for light construction you may be better off buying a light duty truck that gets better mileage and save on gas over a large heavy duty truck that will use gas weather you are pulling a load or not. Our old heavy duty pick-up got 14 miles a gallon. It did not matter if you were empty or pulling a full trailer the mileage varied little. It had power to do the trailer pulling we needed but was not cost effective to use as a daily driver.

  • Once you know the specifications and size truck you need find out what fits the use and begin your search. Get familiar with the model you want. Find out what that models strengths and weaknesses are. Get familiar with the options that truck came with. Particularly engine options. You may think you have found a bargain only to latter notice you bought the optional less powerful motor and compared to an upgraded truck that was priced higher. Compare apples to apples when price shopping.

  • When you focus on a specific truck find out what that truck was used for by the previous owner. Have a mechanic test motor compression and overall maintenance. A carfax or similar report may give a history of any major repairs or accident damage. If the truck has a tow hitch was it used for towing often, and if so is the engine and transmission strong enough for the loads it pulled. Constant towing can cause excessive wear and tear if the trucks motor and mechanical parts were always used under full strain and stress. Check for water or flood damage. Some bargains may be headaches if they have been in a flood and water logged.

  • Take mileage into account. Cars and trucks average about 15 thousand miles a year. Has it been driven much more or less than normal. High miles may be fine if it is reflected in the price and the truck fits your projected use and requirements. Is there any body damage or rear bumper damage from pulling loads and possible off road use.

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