Before buying a second-hand truck, you should thoroughly examine it. In this article, you will find a comprehensive list of how to do it, even if you have no profound technical knowledge.

When purchasing a used truck, it would be wise to invite an independent mechanic to assess its condition. Some lucky buyers have best friends or family members who are specialists in auto repairs. Yet most of us need to conduct the examination on our own. Here are the primary aspects that you should pay attention to before transferring cash to the owner of the car.

What Should You Do When Examining A Used Truck

Never agree to examine the auto inside the garage. Even if the light might seem bright enough, it would be much harder for you to notice any defects than in the sunshine. Outside, the used truck should not be standing in the dirt. Consider spreading the blanket on the ground, lying on it, and examining the bottom to check if there are any fluid leaks. If grease or brake fluid leaks, you will see drips on the tires. Plus, you should assess tread wear, so it is vital to use the blanket. Pay enough attention to the roof too. If there are raised spots on it, most likely it was rust that caused them. This might be a reason to ask for a discount.

What Should You Do When Examining A Used Truck

Check all the body-panel joints and openings for fit. Run your fingers along the bottom of the doors — there should not be rusty, hard edges. Inspect the panels along the body with a magnet — plastic repairs would fail to attract the magnet. The spots where the plastic was applied would look wavy and uneven.

Check the color of the coolant fluid by raising the hood and taking off the radiator cap. Normally, it should be greenish and should contain no rust. To back up your opinion with facts, you might buy an affordable tester.

Ask the owner in advance about the model of the engine and google it. Each model has its set of most frequent problems. Try to estimate in advance how much it will cost you to repair the engine in the worst scenario and if the damage was just minimal. Start the engine. Are there thuds or knocks? If yes, be ready for the pricey repairs of the connecting-rod bearing or the crankshaft. A high idle setting is a norm for such types of vehicles. Carburated engines require gas to set the fast idle, while their fuel-injected counterparts set it automatically.

Each model has its set of most frequent problems

Examine the surface of the engine and the air filter. Both should not be too dirty. If the proprietor had to repair the engine, you might notice the edges of the new gaskets. Usually, a used truck would need major engine work after at least 70,000 of mileage. If the truck has an automated transmission, check its dipstick. There should be no weird smell that reminds you of a burnt cork — this is a clear sign of upcoming transmission troubles.

If the engine looks like it has been repaired after a large mileage but the odometer shows a ridiculously small number, you can suspect that the latter was “fine-tuned”. Are there many pits on the windshield? Can you see wear on the upholstery and the corners of the brake pedal? If the answer is positive, it proves that the vehicle has been heavily used.

Shut off the motor and search for corrosion inside the trunk, including under the mat. Even for a new car, it is ok to have a bit of rust — but it should not be severe. Also, pay attention to the wiring that crosses the rear: did the previous owner cut and tape it to wire the trailer?

Shut off the motor

Make sure that the lights, air conditioning, radio, and over switches are functional.

Drive the truck for a minimum of 10 miles. Shut the engine off, let it cool and start it anew. It should not hesitate upon starting again. To check whether the transmission upshifts smoothly enough, accelerate gradually. Then, accelerate up to highway speed: does the engine react smoothly? When driving, do you hear wind noise or any weird rattle? Ideally, you should not.

Finally, try a panic stop at a safe place just to make sure that the brakes function as intended. The best method of checking whether the shocks are worn is to turn to a bumpy track. Besides, you should try to bounce the used truck’s front end — with relatively new shocks, it would bounce three times or less.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this checklist came in handy and now you know how to examine the trucks. Buying autos from private sellers is always riskier than with renowned and reliable used auto dealers, such as Rolls Auto Sales. Most often, would people purchase second-hand cars because they want to economize. Thanks to a thorough examination, you can make sure that you will not need to spend a fortune on repairs.

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