Perhaps you’re hoping for more towing space? Maybe you’re in need of a vehicle that can better handle inclement weather? Whatever the case may be, you’re looking to buy a used truck.
The only problem is that you’re apprehensive about the process. That’s why you’ve come here: for a bit of advice.
Fortunately, we’re prepared to give that advice to you. So, without further ado, here is how to buy a used truck.
1. Set a Budget
The first thing you’ll want to do when looking for a used truck is to set a budget. By setting a budget, you’ll prevent yourself from overspending.
Generally speaking, you shouldn’t spend any more than 20% of your monthly take-home pay on a vehicle. So, if you take home $2,500 after taxes, you shouldn’t pay any more than $500 a month on a truck.
Of course, all budgets are different. If your rent/mortgage payment is lower than average, you might be able to splurge on your truck. Conversely, if it’s higher than average, you might have to get a little more thrifty.
Regardless, it’s vital that you set your budget prior to shopping. If not, you could become tempted by an overpriced vehicle, leading to a seismic long-term spending mistake.
2. Use All Available Resources
Now that you’ve established a budget, it’s time to start looking for available trucks. When doing this, you need to utilize all available resources.
Not only should you drive out to local dealerships, but you should also get online and search for trucks on various listing sites. Autotrader.com, Edmunds.com, and Cars.com can all help to find used trucks that meet your specs. And they can do so fairly quickly as well.
Utilizing all of your available resources is necessary because it ensures that you get the best deal possible. Because it widens your pool of potential trucks, it provides you with the maximum number of high-quality choices.
3. Check its History
You should never, under any circumstances, buy a used vehicle without first assessing its history. A vehicle’s history can tell you a great deal about its current functionality and future performance.
When checking history, keep an eye out for any accidents that it might have been involved in. If a prospective truck has been involved in an accident, you’re advised to look elsewhere. Past accidents very often lead to trouble down the line.
The question you might have is: how do you check a truck’s history? The answer is CarFax. CarFax.com should tell you about everything involved in a truck’s history, from the nature of its owners to any accidents it might have suffered to its maintenance schedule and more. Together, these attributes will help you to determine whether you’re buying a quality used truck.
4. Read Up on the Model
The simple fact is that some truck models are built with defects. Whether these defects be shoddy transmissions, faulty brakes, bad suspension systems, or otherwise, they can drastically affect functionality and reliability.
As such, before purchasing a particular type of truck, you need to read up on its specific model. Not only should you keep an eye out for recalls, but you should also ask relevant questions in automotive forums. Truck enthusiasts should be able to inform you of any common problems that might exist in your prospective model of truck.
If your truck has a generally good reputation, you’ve got the green light to buy it. If it’s surrounded by controversy, you should stay away from it at all costs.
5. Take it for a Spin
You should never buy a truck that you’ve never driven. While a truck might look great and while it might have a solid reputation in general, it could very well possess functional problems under the surface.
In some cases, the only way to catch these problems is to give the truck a test drive. A test drive will allow you to get a feel for the way the truck accelerates, for the way the truck brakes, and for the way the truck handles hills and curves. Not to mention, it will allow you to determine whether the truck is a comfortable fit for your body.
6. Look for Body Defects
When compared to other types of vehicles, trucks take on a great deal of wear and tear. As such, before buying a truck, you need to keep a lookout for body defects.
Not only will trucks incur dents and dings but paint damage and rust damage as well. In many cases, this damage will exist toward the bottom of the truck’s body.
For this reason, you need to get up-close-and-personal. Don’t just give it the once-over. Crouch down so that you can examine the intricacies of the damage.
Something small like a damaged fender is no big deal – you can usually replace it with a cheap fender flare and it’ll be good as new. But those kinds of damages will lower the value of the truck, and its price should reflect that.
7. Have it Inspected By a Professional
Last but not least, you need to have the truck inspected by a professional. Professional mechanics understand the inner-workings of trucks better than anyone else and will be able to inform you of any existing problems.
Not only will your mechanic inspect the engine and the transmission but the brakes the tires the alternator and all of the other components sitting under the hood. Yes, you will have to pay a little money for this inspection. However, if your mechanic catches some sort of problem, he or she could end up saving you thousands of dollars in non-paid expenses.
Now That You Know How to Buy a Used Truck . . .
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