Buying a car can be one of the most stressful decisions that we make. Many people are investing a significant proportion of their income in one object, and if you are buying a second-hand vehicle how sure can you be that what you are buying is up to snuff?
There are several things that any prospective buyer should check off their list before they hand over their hard-earned cash to a used car salesman or private seller, and there are a few extra things to worry about if the second-hand vehicle you’re interested in buying happens to be a pickup truck.
Follow the tips in the article below, and hopefully, you’ll get yourself a bargain, and won’t end up driving a lemon off the lot.
18. Ignoring Problems With The Suspension
Pickup trucks are designed to be driven off-road, and even if you’re planning on keeping the vehicle on the highway it doesn’t mean that previous owners haven’t been more adventurous. One essential check to carry out before buying a pickup is to ensure that the suspension is still in good shape.
17. Not Making Sure The Truck’s Frame Isn’t Bent
The suspension isn’t the only part of a pickup that can take a battering if a previous owner has been taking it off-road. It is vital that you also check the frame and bodywork of a used truck if you are thinking about buying, to ensure that it hasn’t been bent out of shape at some point, or badly patched up.
16. Failing To Take Spare Parts Costs Into Consideration
And it isn’t just the initial outlay that buyers need to beware. There are long-term costs associated with owning a pickup truck that need to be taking into consideration. You might have fallen head over heels in love with the vintage Chevy truck at the local car lot, but how difficult and expensive is it going to be to track down vintage parts?
15. Forgetting To Carry Out A Thorough Rust Check
Several pickup trucks have had issues with premature rusting in recent years, especially those made by Ram. If you’re looking to but any pickup, it is worth spending some time giving it a good once-over to check for rust, making sure that you check in those hard-to-reach places that the seller might not have noticed.
14. Ignoring Obvious Signs Of Damage On The Bed Or Tow Hitch
When it comes to buying a second-hand pickup, you can learn a lot from the previous owner – and you don’t even need to ask them anything! There are obvious places where you can look to see if they have treated their truck with love, such as the cargo bed or tow hitch. Any scrapes or damage in these areas is a warning flag that there might be other problems elsewhere.
13. Buying A Manual When You Need An Automatic (And Vice Versa)
Whether you want a truck with a manual or automatic transmission, this is one decision that in most cases is non-negotiable. Some drivers struggle to drive shift, so there is little point in buying a manual truck just because it seemed like a good deal. There are lots of factors that can influence this decision, including how much towing you are planning on doing.
12. Not Checking If The Truck Has Been In An Accident
People who are trying to sell their pickups want to present the vehicle in the best possible light to prospective buyers. They may even try to hide from the new owner that the pickup has been in an accident, so make sure you check this for yourself and don’t just take their word for it.
11. Picking The Wrong Cabin Size
Once upon a time, choosing a pickup’s cabin size was an easy job; they only came with a front bench seat, and anyone who couldn’t get a spot had to sit on the bed! Nowadays, safety is more of a concern, and pickups have become family vehicles often with an extra row of seats. Make sure you pick the right cabin size for your needs and don’t get stuck with a truck that is too small.
10. Or The Wrong Bed Capacity
Pickups that go for the option of a larger cabin can sometimes have to sacrifice space from the bed, which might not be a concern if you don’t have plans to carry large items. If you do plan on doing a lot of fetching and carrying, however, take a tape measure along when you go truck shopping to check the measurements yourself.
9. Choosing A Truck That Isn't Strong Enough
Similarly, if you are planning on using your second-hand truck to tow some heavy objects, then you will need to make sure that the vehicle is strong enough for your needs. That may seem a redundant thing to say about pickup, but the smaller models which are designed for leisure use may not be as powerful under the hood as you might expect.
8. Ignoring The Importance Of Safety Features
Modern vehicles are packed so full of safety features that it can be an easy thing to forget when it comes to giving a used truck the once-over. Airbags do have something of an expiry date, and wiring can deteriorate over time, so it is worth asking when they were last replaced if you are buying a much older truck.
7. Failing To Check The Truck's Mileage
This next mistake is so obvious that it seems hard to believe that anyone would make it, but there are some drivers out there who buy second-hand pickups without checking the mileage for themselves. While the longevity of a used truck depends a lot on how it has been driven, the mileage is a quick and easy way to assess whether you are getting a bargain or a banger.
6. Not Asking For The Maintenance History
Checking to see if a second-hand pickup truck has been in an accident is one way to get an idea of whether it is worth the ticket price, but good owners should also have a record of the vehicle’s maintenance history. This can help to identify any repetitive problems that may be lurking in the truck’s future
5. Not Asking Why The Truck Is Being Sold
When you buy from a dealership there at least some protections in place if a used truck breaks down before you leave the lot. If you buy from a private seller, however, you’re on your own. One of the most important questions you can ask the owner is why they are selling the truck, to see what kind of response you get.
4. Not Asking How Much The Previous User Took The Truck Off-Road
Another question that should always be on your checklist is whether the current owner took the truck off-road. Driving on uneven surfaces is the quickest way to damage the suspension and the bodywork, and the answer they give to that question will at least give buyers a clue as to where they need to look while checking the vehicle over.
3. Not Checking Whether The Tailgate Is Secure
The tailgate has always been a weak spot on a pickup. On older models, it is often moved via a simple hinge and there is only a cable stopping it from coming loose. Make sure you give the tailgate a thorough check on any used trucks, or it might end up dropping open while you’re on the road.
2. Not Bringing A Mechanic With You For An Expert Opinion
One of the best things you can do when buying a used pickup is to bring a mechanic along with you to look at vehicles, or at least to ask the owner if it would be possible for your local repair shop to give it the once over. Genuine sellers should have no problem with this, as they shouldn’t have anything to hide.
1. Refusing The Option Of A Test Drive
Undoubtedly the worst mistake any driver can make when they’re in the market for a second-hand pickup is to not ask for the chance to take it for a test drive. Getting behind the wheel is often the only way to identify any problems with the truck, as well as getting a feel for whether it is the right vehicle for you.
Sources: Capital One, Popular Mechanics, Car Brain, Motor 1