There are plenty of great reasons to consider buying a pre-owned truck instead of buying new. The first is that you’ll save yourself some serious depreciation. There’s also a good chance that you can get a hold of a vehicle that will last you just as long while also saving yourself a nice chunk of change.

The key is to make sure you know what to look for. Here are a few of the questions you need to ask before you make the commitment to buy. 

1. How Was the Truck Previously Used?

While there’s no guarantee you’ll get an honest answer, it’s always a good idea to ask the previous owner how the truck was used. In many cases, you’ll want a truck that was used primarily for personal transportation rather than one that was used for off-roading or frequently hauling heavy loads.

You won’t want to base your final decision on the answer to this question, but it can help you get a better idea of some potential issues you’ll need to check out. Also, if the owner doesn’t seem honest or skirts around your questions, then this is a red flag in itself. 

2. Is the Frame Strong and Unbent?

A truck’s frame connects the vehicle’s body to its critical mechanical components. It also plays a major role in the vehicle’s safety. For this reason, it’s absolutely imperative that the frame is strong and unbent. 

Some of the things that can lead to a bent frame include a major accident, heavy plowing, extensive off-roading, or hauling heavy trailers. 

To check the frame, you’ll need to get under the truck and take a look. Not only will you want to make sure it looks unbent, but you’ll also want to check for warning signs like large dents and rust. If the frame has fresh undercoating or rust proofing, this could be a sign that it was recently straightened, which is another red flag. 

3. Are There Signs of Off-Road Use?

While there’s nothing wrong with taking a truck off-road every once in a while, heavy off-road use can lead to damage. In particular, it can impact the chassis and suspension. While you’re under the truck, look for signs of off-roading like bent parts or a lot of scratches and scrapes on the underside. If you see this, you’ll want to have a professional check the truck for damage before you make the purchase. 

4. Is the 4-Wheel Drive Mechanically Sound?

You’ll also want to make sure that the truck’s 4-wheel drive is functioning well. To do this, you’ll need to take the vehicle out for a test drive. When you engage the 4WD listen for any unusual sounds. For example, a continual grinding sound can indicate that there’s a problem.

When you turn the vehicle to the left or right while it’s moving, you’ll also want to make sure it behaves as expected. On a wet or loose surface, it should turn normally, while on dry pavement you can expect to feel the tires “grab” the road. If you have any concerns, you should have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic before you buy. 

Test Drive a Pre-Owned Truck Today

If you’re in the market for a previously-owned truck, we’ve got you covered! Take a look at our incredible pickup truck inventory. Then, stop by for a test drive. We’ll happily answer all of your questions and help you find the perfect vehicle for your needs. Come on in today, we would love to meet you!