From The Oakland Press
Want a used truck? Why not?
Buying a used truck isn’t like heading down to the used car lot and picking out a creampuff.
While a vehicle’s history is always interesting and worth knowing, with a truck itís more critical. If you’re buying a pickup truck, you probably have something you want it to do for you other than replace a car. If that’s the case, then you need to make sure that you’re buying a vehicle with the capabilities you want or need.
Buying a used vehicle means you get more for your money than you would if you bought a new one. Also, with any used vehicle, you can get its history. Has it spent most of its life resting in a warm suburban garage? Or has it daily been "road" hard and put away wet? Has it towed tons every weekend or just carried Texas-two-steppers from dance floor to dance floor?
Find out first.
One thing that’ll almost always be true, though, is that you wonít be buying a pickup that’s at the end of its life, unless it really has bunches of miles. Even cars today should easily make it to a hundred and a half thousand miles. So high mileage, particularly on a newer vehicle, isnít usually a bad sign. More likely, it’s a sign of "easy" miles, particularly if it looks like itís in decent shape.
What kind of miles is the more important question, especially with newer trucks. Full-size pickups less than 10 years old are really sturdy. They have more than enough frame for their size and weight, because they’re the basis of work vehicles, and they need to meet that standard.
Truck engines and transmissions also have to be capable of earning their keep, so well-maintained powertrains should be good for a long time. Suspensions and other systems on trucks are relatively unsophisticated and designed for dependability, so a well-maintained pickup truck need not be judged by years or, to some degree, by miles.
The next consideration is what youíll use the truck for. What does it have to have, and what do you want it to have? Otherwise, as you find a potential purchase, it should be judged by what it did in its old life and how that relates to what youíre going to do with it.
Even a truck that towed loads for many of the miles on it may still be worthwhile, particularly if they were well maintained. It may not be smart to buy a truck with that experience if you’re going to use it to tow. You may wish to look for a truck that demonstrates that it was a "lifestyle" purchase previously. At the other end of that scale, buying a used work truck increases the risk, because if it weren’t fairly used up, it wouldn’t make business sense to sell it.
If you’re getting an old truck just to haul things around every once in a while, it needn’t have all its capability remaining. Nor, of course, should it cost you very much. Thatís why it’s important to discover as much about its life as possible.
Once you know all this, then the rest of the process is pretty much deciding how much money you’re willing to trade for dependability. If this is a high-threat, fear-provoking process, quit and buy a new truck.
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Provided by The News Herald