How to Buy a High Mileage Truck


The best tool for purchasing a vehicle is to use the vehicle's flaws to your advantage. The most difficult part is to make sure that you're not buying a vehicle that will leave you stranded or unable to get the job done. A high mileage truck is no exception to this rule. Make sure the only thing wrong with the truck is that it does have high miles. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Have an auto mechanic inspect the truck before you decide on your purchase.

  • Inspect the vehicle thoroughly. Crawl underneath and check out the undercarriage. Look for leaks of any kind. Ask questions about anything unusual underneath the vehicle. Feel the hoses and components underneath for stability. If they feel loose, then there might be a future repair bill to pay.

  • Open the hood and check the fluid levels. Use a clean rag to wipe off the dipstick. When checking the oil, look for water on the dipstick. Take the cap off the radiator and look for any signs of rust where the coolant is. The coolant must be bright green. Examine the battery cables for corrosion. Inspect the belts to make sure there are no signs of wear or fraying. You will find defects, but it is important they will not hinder the operation of the truck.

  • Crank the truck and listen carefully. You should not hear any type of knocking or clanging as the motor runs. Observe under the hood for any type of leaking. Watch the components as they work together with the rest of the vehicle. Watch the pulleys as they move the belt. Watch for any hesitation in the belt movement. This could be a sign of a component about to go bad or lock up.

  • Drive the vehicle for a few minutes. Enable every gear the truck offers. Listen for the sound of the turbo engaging (if equipped). Brake frequently to test the consistency of the braking operation. When you shut the truck down, re-inspect the fluids and belts to see if anything leaked out or if there is anything about to break or lock-up.

  • Insist on knowing where the truck was operated at. Listen to the owner as he explains what the truck was used for and where the truck has been. A truck sitting or being operated near coastal areas or in heavy northern winters will have more exposure to salt. Salt can lead to premature rusting of the body. A truck operated in high traffic cities will have a lot more wear and tear than if it was used over the road or in rural areas.

  • Request maintenance records. The life of the truck is dependent on the care it has received. If you look to keep this truck running for a long time to come, you will need to know how frequent the oil changes were and when the system was tuned-up. Ask if the truck is running a special oil for high mileage motors or if the care it receives is more frequent now, that the truck is advancing in miles and years.

  • Research the vehicle online to learn how much a vehicle with high mileage should be sold for. Investigate the wholesale and retail value and find a reasonable middle of the road price to offer the seller. The truck may have many miles left on it, but the fact that the miles are high does depreciate the vehicle's worth greatly. Use the flaws to your advantage. The seller may knock some dollars off the price if a window is broken or if there is an errant scratch or dent on the body.

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