Buying a used truck is not simply a matter of trust. It is impossible to evaluate the actual condition of a vehicle at first glance and the buying process requires meticulous attention to detail. Here are a few tips that will help you buy with confidence a used truck.
What are your needs?
First of all, ask yourself which type of tasks and trips you will be doing and how much capacity your truck will need. What terrain will you be driving on and what type of driving will you be doing? What will you be using the truck for?
These questions will help you evaluate the horsepower, torque and capacity your truck will need. You won’t be looking for the same truck wither you are planning to make short urban trips or transport loads over hilly terrain on long rides.
Where to find used trucks for sale?
You need to identify the best places to shop for a used truck. Many options are available. For instance, you can locate local used truck dealers or find out about the auctions that take place in your area. Another great option is to browse through online classified ads. Specialized websites enable you to filter your search by mileage, price or location, in order to help you find, in a few clicks, a targeted range of used trucks for sale online.
How to inspect a used truck?
Nowadays, it can be relatively easily to tamper with the mileage meter – therefore you should never rely entirely on the number specified on the dashboard. In order to control its authenticity, you can check the information given in repair bills and maintenance records. Most mechanics will mark the last mileage date of an oil change on the air filter. The level of wear on the pedals and driver’s seat can also be a good indicator. Check the history of the truck. If it has suddenly no longer been used in the last year or two, you might have a reason to be suspicious. In such case, ask the seller about it directly and watch his reaction.
Tires are essential to a vehicle’s safety. Heavily worn tread will prevent a tire from performing as designed and can lead to unsafe driving conditions. But cracks in the rubber compounds of a tire will also start develop over time, regardless of the condition of the tread. A tire that is over 6 years old poses a safety hazard. You can find out about a tire’s age by looking for a six-digit number placed on every tire. The first two digits will indicate the week it was made and the last two digits, the year of manufacture.
- Paintwork and Bodywork
A damaged vehicle might have been fully repaired and seem to suffer no “sequels”, but it is also possible that the vehicle was not repaired properly. Some unscrupulous sellers might omit to say that the vehicle was once damaged. Inspect the truck in broad daylight and watch for slight color differences of paint and deformation. Repairs almost always leave traces.
An inspection of the engine can offer a lot of information about the condition of the truck. Have a look under the hood and check for any signs of oil or coolant leaks, poor quality repairs or lack of regular maintenance. A smell of burnt oil or antifreeze might be a sign of possible problems. Remember to look out for oil leaks under the truck too. Check the lower part of the engine and transmission with a flashlight. Everything there should be dry. Do not stop your inspection at the sight of a clean and shiny engine as used truck sellers sometimes clean the engine before showing it potential sellers.
- Brake Pads and Drums
Brakes are vital to any vehicle and even more so for large vehicles such as trucks. Sometimes, you can check pad wear without taking off the wheels. Usually, you can see the brake pad through the wheel. Once you find it, notice its thickness. If it appears to be very thin, it’s almost used up. You should also check your brake drums for cracks and make sure no oil is leaking into them.
What to look for in a test ride?
After careful examination of the truck, it is essential to test drive the vehicle. You might want to take somebody with you on a test drive. This extra person will be able to notice things like engine noises or vibrations that you might be oblivious to.
Try out the brakes: in a safe place, try a panic stop and obverse how they behave. Then drive the truck for a few miles and shut the engine off. Allow it to cool down for a moment, start it again and check how the engine reacts upon starting the second time. Accelerate very slowly to verify if the transmission shifts smoothly. Then take it up to highway speed to test the engine.
How to negotiate the best deal with the seller?
Once you have selected several makes and models of trucks in your price range, test driven them and narrowed your search to just one vehicle, it is time to start the negotiation process.
Remember that a used truck is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Consequently, the first step towards negotiating a lower price for your used truck is to figure out its trade in value.
When making an offer, do not present your maximum spending limit but a floor offer so that you can meet in the middle and settle on a price that’s more or less equal to the car’s average value.