At the same time, there's a big demand for used pickups, both gas and diesel. The used pickup truck market is estimated by some experts to be three times bigger than the new-truck market. Those who can't afford to buy a new pickup, or who like to take advantage of depreciation, are always searching for a good deal on a used pickup.
When shopping for a used pickup, don't be blinded by the bells and whistles, nice paint and attractive price. Be smart and thorough in your decision making, and be sure to see the truck in person and do your own inspection.
To compile our top recommendations for buying a used pickup, we talked with used-car dealers, wholesale vehicle buyers, auto repair mechanics and other dealership experts to find out what they look for when buying a used pickup (with a special thank you for advice going out to Guaranty Chevrolet of Junction City, Oregon). Then we added a couple of our own tips garnered from first-hand experience. In no particular order, here's what you need to keep in mind when buying a used pickup:
Diesel pickups are far more expensive to maintain and repair than gas models, so it pays to look them over closely before buying, especially if they have more than 60,000 miles. Check a diesel pickup's coolant overflow reservoir for any signs of fuel or oil in the coolant or under the coolant cap. Contaminated coolant is a sure sign of oil cooler, exhaust gas recirculation cooler or head gasket issues, which can cost a load of dough to repair. Also, check for leaks around injectors or from injector lines, or around the turbocharger; if you see problems or previous repairs, be cautious. Finally, if engine repair work has been done, get the specifics on when and who did the work. Follow up with the shop that did the work to find out more details.
Are the drivetrain and smog system components still under warranty? Check the mileage against the truck's drivetrain and the federal emission warranty, which covers some pickups for as long as eight years or 80,000 miles, whichever comes first. This is of particular concern for higher-mileage (125,000 miles or more) diesel pickups, where out-of-warranty engine, computer and transmission repairs can be more likely and costlier. That's where a used truck from a dealer has benefits as some offer a limited warranty after their mechanics have given the truck a detailed inspection and pre-sale service.
After the test drive, check underneath for signs of fluid leaks. Leaks under the engine may indicate a serious issue in a front main seal, water pump or failing gasket. Also check the rear of the transmission, transfer case (if a four-wheel drive) and axle housings for oil leaks. Pay close attention to the backside of the wheels for signs of oil coming from bad brake lines and axle bearings. The seller may have pressure washed underneath prior to you seeing the truck, but leaks of concern will usually show up after the test drive when fluids and lubricants are up to operating temps.
It's always good to do a background check on any used vehicle you are interested in buying. Carfax.com and VincheckPro.com are two sources that offer such services. Keep in mind that these services are only as good as the sources feeding them the information. If a pickup has been in an accident, for example, and the owner or the shop doing the repair work didn't report it to an insurance company, that repair work will not show up. It's also advisable on a later-model used truck to check the vehicle identification number to see if there are any outstanding recalls that need addressing. Go to safercar.gov to find out.
If a truck has a "salvage title," it's been considered a total loss for some reason and it's been refurbished. Ask a lot of questions as to why it has such a title and exactly what type of work has been done. We'd recommend you have a trustworthy mechanic give it a thorough inspection before making a decision. There's a possibility the truck was flood-damaged, cleaned up and found its way into the used-vehicle market, possibly thousands of miles from where it originated. If the title has a stamp on it that says "flood," know there will be issues no matter what the price.
#1 tip on buying a used truck: Don't. Unless you are extremely lucky and find one that was babied by its first owner, the odds are that truck has been through the mill, even if it still looks good. All the author's tips are valid if you just have to buy used, but expect to put out a few thousand in repairs within the first 12 months of ownership. I have never bought a used vehicle of any type that didn't cost me $5000 (inflation equivalent) within the first year of ownership.
It doesn't make any $$ sense to buy a used truck in this market, unless it's 7-10+ years old. Go price out those 2-3 year old trucks that the depreciation is "supposed to be out of", the dealer has them marked back up to new prices and won't budge. Combine that with 0% and thousands of cash on the hood of new trucks and plus you get a warranty, so why wouldn't you buy new?
As for relying on a title history report from one of the "autofax" services; it works if the seller is honest. There are examples of flood/salvage vehicles titles being scrubbed by reregistering the truck/car in a state that is lax on details.
Most of the trucks out there were not used as trucks, just grocery getters n taking a truck load of kids to soccer practice. I bought a 5 year old truck and in 3 years all I hav done is replace one wheel bearing, cost me less the a hundred bucks...still looks like brand new as all I do is hunt and fish and haul my bike to triathlons....
most things that typically go out 150,000 miles or more are things like batteries, alternators, water pumps, brake pads, ac refreigerent, etc. if there is no bed liner and they have worked the truck you can expect some bed rust. always change all fluids after 150,000 miles. remember to use limited slip additive to the rear end. and if it is new enough, take it to the dealership and give them the vin to get the option sheet when it was new. its best to do that so you can find out what rear end you got and to see where it was first sold and what all packages it has/had.
yes, used trucks tend to have ridiculous prices unless 10 years old or older seems like. In 2010, I financed a 2003 ram 1500 for $9,500 and I still see 2003-2008 trucks around that price. if you want something semi modern and it is purely for work, check out regular cabs. they tend to be cheaper as most people are flocking to crew cabs now days. crew cabs have become the "Tahoe's for guys" so to speak (USUALLY, women drive suvs to carry their children around, but I realize guys drive suvs too.).
#1 Only go with used pickups 2 years older or less#2 If you live in the U.S. DO NOT buy a used truck that was shipped in from Canada, that's a nightmare!#3 Call your insurance co with the VIN # they can check if there is a problem.
You will save a minimum of 10k buying a late model used truck and within five years the difference in the resale value of your "used" truck will disappear. I bought my reg cab Silverado LS with 22k miles and one year "on the clock" and saved 10k on the retail price--and the dealer gave me a great deal on my trade. Today, you can't tell my truck from an 09 that was bought new.
Don't buy a truck that fails IIHS crash tests and the company says from a spokesman for Ram told PickupTrucks.com: "Our vehicles are designed for real-world performance and no single test determines overall, real-world vehicle safety. Every FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] U.S. vehicle meets or exceeds all applicable motor-vehicle safety standards."
Don't buy a pickup with defective airbags. The Toyota Tundra pickup truck from model year 2003 to 2006 is part of the 1.4-million vehicle expansion of the Takata airbag recall announced June 16. Toyota effectively took regional recalls in areas of high absolute humidity on five vehicles, including the Tundra, and expanded them to nationwide campaigns.
Don't buy a pickup that has a rear drive shaft that can come off the truck and cause a crash. Affected pickups were assembled in such a way that the rear axle pinion nut can loosen and possibly detach from the driveshaft, potentially causing axle lock up and increasing the risk of a crash.
Don't buy a truck that has an insufficient weld, the rear shocks may detach from the vehicle at one end and possibly damage other chassis components or the tire, or result in reduced braking ability, increasing the risk of a crash. Chrysler will begin notifying owners this month
If you can't buy from a friend and know how it was treated, don't buy used at all. Read the forums and see what the people are doing to them before you buy them. Jumping sand dunes, pulling stumps and never changing the tranny fluid. 20,000 mile oil changes. Cutting the hell out of the wiring looms and splicing all kinds of crap in to them. Melting wires down because too high amp draw accessories were installed. Hooking all kinds of wires together so all the lights will come on at once and then looking for help trying to get it fixed because the manufacturer voids their warranty. If you read the forums for 1 week you will see why so many people say that's why they won't buy used trucks.
Funny to see someone posting (I forget who) about not buying used trucks. Really? 97% are commuter vehicles. Seriously, most trucks are NOT beat or used hard. Most have been used the same as a sedan. Especially if they are a FIAT truck, that is all they are good for.I bought a 2004 Heritage Ford with 43k miles, still using it today, but only use it to tow or haul. 60K on it now.I commute to work in a car.
Don't buy a used Ford, actually avoid Ford's in general. Chances are a used Ford was once a fleet truck that was a victim of the tried and true breakdown maintenance program. Second, ford fleet trucks are abused by the operators that don't give a s&!t because it's not theirs and it's just a Ford attitude. Buy a GM because their owners are higher class, have more money and ultimately take better care of them. Plus there is a good chance there is warranty remaining on a GM. GM has better coverage and take better care of their customers. 781b155fdc