June 22, 2024

5 Things to Watch When Buying Used Trucks

New transmissions

More so than ever, it seems people are trying to stretch the life of their vehicles to the absolute limit. As automotive history continues to develop, more cars and trucks have been on the road for longer, and we’re seeing what really lasts and what doesn’t.
For those looking to purchase used cars and trucks, particularly cheap trucks through outlets like Craig’s List and eBay, need to take into account the various things that tend to need work, from truck transmissions to spreading rust.
Here’s a list of the top five issues people encounter when purchasing used trucks on the cheap:
Sealing and Fuel Line Issues
If the seal on the engine block is at all faulty, this can lead to any number of performance issues, as can anything wrong with the fuel and exhaust lines. We listed this first because these are the type of problems most difficult to detect during a test drive. The propensity for breakdowns with these two issues is high – and nothing is worse than a vehicle that’s constantly breaking down.
Body Rust
If you can actually see rust on the body, that’s an indication that there may also be rust on the frame. Since rust literally eats metal, it weakens the vehicle and can lead to ongoing and expensive body work.
Problems with Transmission
As a rule, truck transmissions take a beating. So, to some extent, transmission repair services are part of the long term financial forecast regardless of what you’re buying. But auto transmission services of all kinds tend to be exorbitantly expensive because the transmission itself often must be taken apart for repair. Weight this out carefully, especially if you’re purchasing something for a few thousand dollars or less; repairs on truck transmissions will eclipse the original purchase price of the vehicle in no time.
Warning Light
This gets tricky: computers in cars are supposed to help us keep track of problems and stay ahead of the game, but computers can be reset. If a warning light is a pesky annoyance and the previous owner reset it, that could silence the warning for a period of time… long enough to pass the vehicle on to an unsuspecting new owner. Ask about a 90 day agreement, which will hopefully allow enough time for the issue to resurface before you’re stuck with a problem.
Issues with Oil
Older engines develop leaks as a matter of routine, leaving those tell-tale stains in the garage and on the driveway. Continually having to add oil because of this adds up and it’s also an environmental hazard. Oil leaks are another issue that can be difficult to detect prior to owning the vehicle for a period of time.
Buying a cheap used truck can go either way, and while there are plenty of honest folks out there looking to unload vehicles that are in decent shape, there’s an equal (or greater) number of people that are looking to unload a problem on you. Naturally, if you factor transmissions repair or the cost of used transmissions into what you’re paying for the truck, that’s another story entirely. But if the person selling the truck will allow you, have a shop mechanic raise the truck and have a look underneath before you spend a dime.
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