Vehicles are the second largest expenditure any of us ever make, homes being the first. They’re also something the average person buys every three to five years. Unlike real estate, cars and trucks go down in value as they wear out. This is why buying pre-owned vehicles can be a good deal if you pick the right one. Here are the most important things to look for when buying a used pickup truck.




There are two main factors that determine the value of a used car. The first is how much it cost when new. The second is how much wear and tear it has been through. The most direct measurement of this is the mileage. This factor is so important that you can check the approximate value of a vehicle by looking up the depreciation based on its mileage. When you’re shopping for a new truck, look for low mileage vehicles.


You might not care about the dents in the fender, but you want to make sure the body hasn’t been so badly damaged that it will crumple like a napkin if you’re in an accident. You may not mind the scratches in the cargo bay, but you need to make sure it has never been flooded. This is why the car must be inspected before you buy it. You can start by looking for overspray in places like where the fender meets the hood. If you see this, walk away. Run a vehicle history report based on the VIN number. If neither of these steps results in red flags that cause you to walk away, you should take it to a mechanic of your choice for an inspection. Buying certified pre-owned pickups is another option. Just make sure the truck dealer has a warranty that will cover problems that arise.




When you’re shopping for pre-owned pickups, compare the vehicle capacity to what you need. If you plan on using it as a family vehicle, is there room for everyone? And does the truck bed have the storage space you need, whether you’re hauling furniture, plywood, or groceries? If you’re going to be towing a trailer, what type of hitch does it have, and how does that compare to the hitch the trailer uses? And how much weight can the truck pull? You’ll damage the truck if you try to pull a load that is beyond the truck’s capacity. You should also check the differentials for damage in case the prior owner tried to do just that.

Repair History and Repairability


People often buy new trucks because they are afraid of having to get them repaired. This is less of an issue if the truck has been properly maintained. That’s why you should ask for its maintenance and repair history. However, they may be lying to you about that, or in the case of the dealer, they may not know. A related question is its repairability. Where can you get that make and model of truck repaired? How much does it cost to replace the tires or the transmission?