Buying a used truck is a little harder than buying a four-door sedan or minivan. Pickups are made for working and their condition depends on how much they were worked by the previous owner. So, before you start your search, know the requirements you have for the truck you want, and try to figure out how much of a ringer the last driver put the truck you’re looking at through. This guide will walk you through it, so you don’t drive away with buyer’s remorse.
Why Buy Used?
It’s no secret. Trucks can be incredibly pricey. A brand-new upper-trim Ford F-150, for example, can cost up to $72,000. Even the most reasonably priced pickups can cost around $30,000. Because of rapid depreciation, a pickup truck that’s just a year or two old can significantly reduce those costs.
Know Your Needs
If you just like the look of a truck, you’ll know immediately when you’ve found yours. For everyone else, let’s look at a few of the considerations one might have about a truck purchase. First of all, if you know you want to tow a specific boat or RV, be sure to know its weight. That way, when you leaf through the owner’s manual of a used truck, you’ll be able to tell if it’ll work for you. The Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 have been the best in terms of towing capacity in recent years. Payload is another number you’ll want to keep in mind if you ever load the back with concrete, bricks, or metal tools. Know how much you haul so you know what kind of truck you need.
There’s also seating configurations. A four-door truck can seat five or six while a regular cab often just has one row of seating. If you want to take the family out to dinner in your new used truck or you regularly give a lift to your whole crew, this is something you want to get right.
Finally, know your budget limit. That can narrow down your search to certain brands or even certain model years saving you time while also ensuring you don’t get something you really can’t afford.
The first thing you should ask is why the truck is being sold. If the truck needs repairs, that’s a whole different ball game than if the owner just wanted to buy a newer truck. Ask to see any maintenance history on the vehicle. If you’re purchasing from a used dealership, you can either get their records or ask to take the truck to an independent service garage for inspection. Ask about accidents, which can greatly affect the lifespan and reliability of a truck. If you’re speaking to the owner, ask what the truck was used for. If the owner always towed a trailer around town, that means the truck has been through more than most.
Finally, inspect the truck. Check the oil. Look for rust and signs of obvious wear. Check the tire tread and ask when the tires were bought. Since most pickups have several engine options, ask what’s under the hood. Ask if there’s an extended warranty you might benefit from. Follow these instructions and you can get a truck that suits your needs.