If you're in the market for a truck, and the going rate of new models has you suffering from sticker shock, it's time to start looking for a used model. Not only will a used truck save you money on the initial sales price, it will also save you on the depreciation, especially since new trucks depreciate in value as soon as you drive off the lot. Buying any used vehicle can come with some pitfalls if you don't know what you're looking for. That's why it's important that you take the time to thoroughly inspect any used vehicle you're planning on buying. Here are two things you should do when looking at used trucks for sale.
Check the Oil
Once you've inspected for hidden body damage, you'll need to check the oil. Even if the sellers have maintenance records, there could still be problems with the engine that you'll be able to identify by checking the oil.
When checking the oil, the first thing you should do is remove the dipstick. Make sure there's an adequate oil reading on the tip. You should also check the color of the oil. If the oil is burned, it's probably been a while since it was changed. If the oil is milky – like chocolate milk – there could be serious problems with the oil.
Oil Filler Cap
The next thing you should do is take the fill cap off the oil compartment. Pay close attention to the inside of the cap. If you can see a foamy coating, or the oil looks milky, you should have a mechanic look at the engine before you purchase the truck.
Look for Leaks
Leaks can be particularly bothersome, especially if you don't identify them until after you purchase the truck. To help you identify leaks, you should take it for a test drive. Drive the truck for about 5-10 minutes to warm the engine up. Park in a clean area, and allow the truck to idle for a couple of minutes. Move the truck and look for fresh leaks. If you find leaks, you should have the truck looked at by a mechanic before you purchase it.
Don't buy someone else's problems. Now that you're in the market for a used truck, use the tips provided here to identify potential problems. For maximum protection, purchase your used truck through a reputable dealer near you.