Ultimate Used Truck Buying Guide
July 1, 2021
If you’re in the market for a used truck, the process of finding the best option can become somewhat intimidating. A lot goes into it. You have to decide what you’re looking for, make sure you’re not getting ripped off on the price, and that it’s not going to literally die the second you drive it home. To help ease your nerves, we’ve put together the ultimate used truck buying guide to help you through the process.
How Do I Decide What Truck I Want?
First thing’s first, what do you even want? It seems like such a general question, and it is, but it’s probably the most important. Ford, Chevy, and Dodge are usually the top three people think about when it comes to trucks, but make sure you’re really opening your options and allowing yourself to learn about some other badass options that might even serve you better. Those three are awesome, though. We can’t disagree.
Maybe sit down, pull out a piece of paper, and write down the things you hope to get out of your truck. Are you looking for diesel? Do you need a 1500? 2500? What’s this truck’s purpose? If you’re going to spend money on a truck, make sure you’re getting one that will meet your needs and lifestyle. This will also help you determine what body style you want as well. After you’ve made that decision, this helps determine an appropriate budget. Definitely go online and look at average costs of that truck so you can ballpark how much you should be paying.
Why Should I Do Research Before Buying a Used Truck?
After determining what you need, your model, and your budget, pull up the trusty internet and do some research. It’s not as fun as immediately pulling the trigger on a truck, but you’re going to want to know what you’re getting into. Pull up a forum of the truck you’re interested in. Here’s where you are going to find the raw, honest details that will set you up for success in the future. If the model you’re going after has notorious engine or transmission issues, this will be the place you’ll find out about it. It might not be a deal breaker, but you will now be prepared for necessary maintenance in the future, or have an easier time pinpointing where that weird noise is coming from.
How Do I Make a Budget When Buying a Used Truck?
When creating your budget for your used truck, it’s smart to leave some extra room for costs that aren’t the direct payments for the truck. The reality is that if you live in a northern state, that used truck has seen some stuff. And by stuff, we mean winter and salt on the roads. You know what that means, rust. In the end, this might result in some much-needed love and attention underneath the truck, which will cost you. But if you’re aware and budget for it, it’ll save you a lot of frustration and yelling. Especially if you planned on slapping on a lift kit, knocking down rusted-on parts can be awful.
On the other hand, if you’re traveling a long distance to buy the truck, other costs to consider involve a plane ticket if you fly, gas for there and back, and hotels and food if you’re going a distance too far for a one day’s drive. The awareness of all these little things will smooth out a process that can already be stressful, time consuming, and expensive. Don’t be afraid to ask if someone is willing to meet you closer in the middle if you’re traveling a long distance, this will give you a feel of your seller’s attitude and can create some trust between the two of you. And that is definitely a good feeling to have when you’re about to drop a pretty penny on something that’s been in their care.
What Should I Check Before Buying a Used Truck?
Once you meet your potential new used truck, you know exactly what to look for since you’ve done your research. At least, you hopefully did. Not only was it an important part in deciding what you want, but it helps identify any hot spots this specific truck you’re looking at may have. It will help you ask the right questions. A few things to check might include:
-Look at oil and transmission fluid
- Determine if the fuel pump and sending unit are working properly
-A properly working gas gauge
-Look out for any leaking
-Ask for maintenance history
-Ask why it’s being sold
Seriously, do not be scared to get down and dirty under the truck to make sure everything is up to your expectations and looks good under the hood and underneath the body. Think about that lift kit you're going to want to install.
You’re about to spend maybe around $10,000+ on this used truck, so don’t feel pressured into buying something that isn't to your liking. It’s your money, and your choice. Be picky if you want. It comes down to the fact that if you’re prepared and have information going into the purchase, you can minimize being overcharged or the surprise of having any weird stuff that sometimes accompanies a used truck. And remember, just because you’re not buying a new truck off the lot doesn’t mean this isn’t as important.
Have you or someone you know bought a used truck? If so, let us know in the comments what that process looked like for you! Did it go smoothly? Were there any bumps in the road? We’re curious, drop your buying story below!