6 Red Flags When Buying a Used Truck

March 2nd, 2023 by

Not everyone wants to buy a flashy new truck. When you buy a used truck, you can avoid the large chunk of depreciation that results in a new-truck purchase. You can also save some money on a pre-owned vehicle and access some features that may no longer be available with new models. However, you should also exercise caution when shopping for a used truck. Below, you can learn about some of the biggest red flags when buying a used truck so you can find the right new vehicle for you.

Lack of a Vehicle History Report

used 2019 Nissan Frontier with custom fit black

Before you buy any used truck, you can confirm that it has a vehicle history report from a reputable company like CARFAX. If the vehicle you want to purchase doesn’t have a vehicle history report, you should steer clear of it. Without this document, there’s no way to assess the vehicle’s background and whether it’s safe for long-term use.

Even if a truck has this document, this isn’t reason enough to purchase it. You should take some time to review it. Note factors like the number of previous owners, whether it’s been stolen, the number of accidents it’s been a part of, and whether it’s received regular maintenance over its lifetime.

To avoid this red flag, you can shop for a used truck here at AutoCenters Herculaneum. We provide transparent information on all the used trucks we sell. Browse our inventory of used trucks to view the models and years we have in stock so you can get on the road with your dream vehicle. All trucks come with a free lifetime powertrain warranty, so you can drive off with peace of mind. We also provide the opportunity to upgrade to additional coverage, which can include coverage for your truck’s air conditioning and heating systems, drive axles, and suspension.

Signs of Excessive Towing

When you buy a used truck, you may look for signs that the previous owner used it for excessive towing tasks. While some trucks are built to tow, a previous owner might have tried to use their vehicle to haul large loads that the truck can’t realistically handle. When a truck tows more weight than it’s meant to, its transmission may become overworked. This may result in the need for premature repair.

While you can ask the previous owner about how frequently they used the truck for towing, they might not always be honest. For a more accurate assessment of a truck’s towing history, you can look for excessive rust or wear and tear around the trailer hitch. You can also look for worn wiring harnesses, a dented tailgate, or a damaged rear bumper. If you notice any of these signs of excessive towing, you may decide to shop for a different truck.

A Rusted Exterior

Take a good look at the truck’s body. If you see significant rust on its exterior, you may want to choose a different used truck. Excessive rust can indicate that the previous owner didn’t take care of their vehicle. While you can seek repair services for a rusted body at an auto shop, you may sacrifice some integrity. Even experienced repair technicians won’t be able to restore the structural integrity that the truck had when it first left its manufacturer as a brand-new vehicle.

You may be more likely to encounter a truck with a rusted exterior if you live in a colder climate. The salt that cities put on the road in the winter to melt ice and snow can cause a vehicle to develop more rust. However, it’s still important to check for rust on vehicles that come from warmer climates.

Unusual Odors in the Cabin

When a seller tries to sell their used truck, they may set some time aside to clean out the cabin. They may use air fresheners liberally to make the cabin smell more appealing to potential buyers. As a buyer, you can benefit from being aware of how the cabin smells. Step inside the cabin, close all the windows and doors, and take a few minutes to absorb the smell.

If you start to smell unpleasant odors that the air fresheners can’t truly conceal, it may be challenging to get these smells out yourself if you purchase the vehicle. Unusual odors can also be indicative of more serious problems, like mold growth or water damage. In any case, it’s best to look at different used truck options if you notice odd smells within the cabin.

An Overly Relaxed or Overly Stiff Suspension

When you take your used truck for a drive, you should never experience an overly relaxed or overly stiff suspension. If you shop for a used truck with a private seller, the seller may be hesitant to let you take the vehicle for a test drive. Their hesitancy may be their way of trying to hide a problem with the truck’s suspension.

When you visit a trusted dealership like AutoCenters Herculaneum, you can test drive any used truck that catches your eye to confirm it has a functional suspension. When you get behind the wheel, you can see for yourself how well the truck drives. Our sales agents will answer any questions you have about the truck’s suspension, and you can discover how the truck lacks a wobbly sensation or any feelings of unevenness when you drive. You can also see how well the truck absorbs bumps in the road and how it drives during turns.

Signs of Excessive Off-Road Use

While most trucks with four-wheel drive can tolerate some off-road use, you can confirm that the truck you want hasn’t endured excessive off-road use. Start by checking for wear and tear on the tires and suspension components. You can also inspect the body mount areas and overall frame for dents and other damage. Other telltale signs of inappropriate off-road use include a crooked bed gap or truck doors that don’t close easily.

Rather than buying from an independent seller or a less-than-reputable dealership, you can start your used-truck-buying journey at AutoCenters Herculaneum. Contact our team today to get in touch, and we’ll help you find the ideal used truck that meets your needs and preferences in terms of budget, style, performance, and features.

Black Frontier by Truck Hardware is licensed with CC BY 2.0

Posted in Used Trucks