Buying a Used Truck? Don’t Proceed Without Reading These 15 Tips

Before buying a used truck, research different models and pricing. Once you see how useful a truck is, you’ll want to drive it daily, so making the right choice is crucial. Compare prices and features and factor in the costs of buying used. The following tips are of great help in making this choice.

  1. Request a Vehicle History Report

Ask the owner or dealership to provide a vehicle history report. Learn about the maintenance done on the vehicle, its accident history, and any upgrades made by previous owners. Learn why the owner chose to get rid of the truck. They may have upgraded or it might be they couldn’t afford the payments. However, the vehicle might have issues they didn’t want to fix.

When reviewing this report, look at the service history. This report will provide information about tune-ups, oil changes, and repairs. This report shares information on how previous owners used the vehicle and how many people owned it over the years. Determine whether you will get a clean title or if you are looking at a car with a salvage title. Many used trucks take a beating and keep on going, so this history report is priceless when learning more about a truck.

In addition, you want to know if the truck has been in any accidents. If so, what damage did it sustain, and what parts were repaired or replaced? Any accident lowers the vehicle’s value, so you can use this information to try and negotiate a better price.

  1. Check for Rust and External Damage

Look the car over to see if there is any visible rust. Don’t stop your examination at the surface. Look at the doorframes and other areas where rust might appear. If any structural rust is present, the truck might not last long. Raised patches of paint are another sign of rust that you need to watch for.

Now is the time to look for other body damage. Always look at used trucks during daylight hours when it is sunny. Doing so reduces the risk of you missing damage that could be costly to repair.

  1. Learn About the Engine

Spend time researching the engine in the truck. Some engines have a history of early failure or other issues. You need to know this before buying and see how much time the current engine might have been it needs repairs or replacement. While no two engines will fail at the same time, this gives you a ballpark estimate of when the engine might need work.

  1. Examine the Oil

Always check the condition of the oil in the truck. Look at the level to ensure it is where it should be and see if it looks dirty. Don’t overlook the transmission fluid status either.

  1. Figure Out What You Need to Replace

Maintenance records are helpful when you are determining what you will need to replace soon. For example, if the manufacturer recommends replacing the timing belt at 100,000 miles and the truck has 98,000 miles, you know that repair will be necessary within weeks of buying. Big repairs would be the engine and transmission, so learn how long they typically last and see how close they are to when the average unit fails. Find a truck where the owner has completed these repairs, so they won’t fall on you.

  1. Check the Tire Tread

Always examine the tires when purchasing a used vehicle. Learn when the tires were replaced and how many miles the vehicle has been driven since the new tires were installed. This gives you a better understanding of when you may need to buy new ones.

  1. Check the Mileage

Look at the mileage shown on the vehicle odometer. See if it lines up with what you are seeing on the vehicle history report. If something looks off, you may want to look for another vehicle to buy. In addition, consider how you will be using the truck. If you drive long distances regularly, a truck with low mileage makes sense. Nevertheless, a well-cared-for vehicle with lots of miles on it may also be a good buy. Mileage is only one factor that should go into the decision-making process.

  1. Horsepower and Towing Capacity

If you are buying a truck so you can tow things, the horsepower and towing capacity of each model being considered must be known. The heavier the items being towed, the more power you will need.

  1. Automatic or Manual Transmission?

Do you want an automatic transmission so there is no need to shift gears? Some drivers prefer shifting rather than allowing the truck to handle this task. In many cases, the choice of transmission boils down to a matter of preference.

  1. Work With an Independent Mechanic

Before buying any used vehicle, have it inspected by an independent mechanic. They can do a thorough inspection of the truck after putting it up on a rack to identify any areas of concern. They can also help you determine what you need when it comes to a truck, based on your particular driving style and what you will carry.

  1. Replacement Parts

If you are looking at an older truck, check out the availability of replacement parts. Never buy a truck unless you can find a minimum of two parts suppliers that have items in stock. You don’t want to buy the truck only to learn replacement parts are hard to find and the vehicle must sit for an extended period until they can be located.

  1. Set a Budget

Set a budget not only for the truck purchase but also for repairs and maintenance. Figure out if the price is within reason. If it isn’t, you need to walk away. Anything that makes you think twice, such as low mileage on a truck that has been well used, should be a sign to keep looking. There are many used trucks available for sale today so don’t settle for something just because you need a new ride.

  1. Secure Financing

Know your financing options. Dealer financing often isn’t the best choice. You want to shop around to find the best deal. Look at the terms and conditions of each loan along with the interest rate to find the right financing for your needs. In addition, ask whether the vehicle must be inspected by an independent party before you can secure the loan. Some lenders require this.

  1. Look Into Insurance

You don’t want to purchase a truck only to find you cannot afford to insure it. Call a few companies and ask how much you might pay for different makes and models of used trucks. Also, ask about different levels of coverage to ensure you are protected if something goes wrong.

  1. Extended Warranties

Consider investing in an extended warranty. Doing so will help protect you from high repair costs. Learn whether the dealer offers a warranty and check into third-party warranty providers. Compare premiums, coverage, and provider reputation when choosing a company to buy from.

A used truck is an investment. Treat it as such and don’t rush the process of buying. You will probably have this vehicle for several years, so you want to get a reputable ride that will hold up. Use these tips when buying to make the entire process easier in every way.


Welcome to the Night Helper Blog. The Night Helper Blog was created in 2008. Since then we have been blessed to partner with many well-known Brands like Best Buy, Fisher Price, Toys "R" US., Hasbro, Disney, Teleflora, ClearCorrect, Radio Shack, VTech, KIA Motor, MAZDA and many other great brands. We have three awesome children, plus four adorable very active grandkids. From time to time they too are contributors to the Night Helper Blog. We enjoy reading, listening to music, entertaining, travel, movies, and of course blogging.

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