What to look for when buying a used truck

January 8th, 2021 by

At Ron Hodgson GMC, we see a big demand for used pickup trucks in St. Albert. It’s an ideal option for those who are looking for a more economic alternative than buying new or who want to take advantage of depreciation. 

There are many used pickup trucks available that are in excellent condition and have a long lifespan left for a fair price. If you’re on the market for a used pickup truck, you want to be equipped with as much knowledge as possible to set yourself up for success. 

Be diligent in your search, ask as many questions as you need to, and be conscientious about the following advice. 

5 things to know before buying a used pickup truck

5 things to know before buying a used pickup truck

Inquire about a certified pre-owned vehicle

A certified pre-owned vehicle is backed by the original manufacturer. A certified pre-owned program puts vehicles through a detailed multi-point inspection. All repairs are done by a GM-certified mechanic. Every vehicle is certified in accordance with our rigorous standards to ensure that clients are purchasing a quality, pre-owned truck in St. Albert.

Browsing certified pre-owned trucks is a convenient and easy process. Each vehicle includes a link to view the maintenance report and accident history through Carfax, details about the interior, exterior, mechanical, and safety features, as well as premium options. You’ll have the information you need before you visit the truck at the lot!

Perform a physical inspection of the body

Whether you’re browsing a dealership’s website or scrolling through private sellers, always ask to see the used truck in person. We recommend inspecting the truck in daylight so that you can see every detail clearly. 

When you’re performing a physical inspection, be sure to check for:

    • A strong, straight frame with no large dents
    • Rust on the exterior body as well as within the structure of the vehicle
    • Damage on the front and rear bumpers
    • Damage to the windows, side mirrors, and sunroof
    • Properly working lights 
    • Properly working locks and windows 
    • The amount of wear on the tire tread

A trustworthy seller will let you know of damages ahead of time and explain whether or not it impacts the performance of the car and what they’ve done to rectify it. 

Take the truck for a test drive

When you start the engine, listen for any knocks or thuds. Strange noises coming from the engine can indicate costly repairs and extra expenses after the purchase. Feel the drive of the truck and be mindful of any pulling with the steering, shaking, or misalignment.

Be sure to test drive the truck on different roads. To be safe, test out the breaks in a parking lot. Try a panic stop and slow stops to see how the brakes respond. Listen for any squealing or grinding that will let you know if the truck needs brake service. 

Be sure to test the truck’s shocks on a rough road. If the driver feels excessively bumpy, this is a good indicator that the shocks are worn. When out for a test drive, be sure to take your time and use your senses to feel, smell, and listen for any abnormalities that might cost you more to repair.

Request the truck’s maintenance history 

A vehicle’s maintenance report will tell you how well the truck has been cared for. Many buyers will focus solely on the truck’s physical condition and mileage. However, high mileage doesn’t necessarily mean better quality. If the truck has low mileage but has a poor maintenance history, the life of the engine is compromised. 

Be wary of sellers who can’t provide a maintenance history report. Always ask for the VIN number and run a report for yourself on Carfax. 

The Carfax report can tell you the vehicles:

    • Accident history
    • Used value based on similar models in St. Albert
    • Lien or money owed, if applicable
    • Unfixed safety recalls

When looking at a used truck’s maintenance history, you want to look for consistent oil changes to alert you of any engine problems in the future. You also want to understand the truck’s accident history; including any damages that required extensive repairs or parts that were placed as a result of the damage.

Compare the cost to other factors 

When making price comparisons between different trucks, it’s important to include additional factors that will impact the total cost of the truck. This includes any repairs, customizations, or added improvements that you plan on making. 

Lastly, determine your preferences and needs. Do you want a used truck at a cheaper rate that requires additional improvements? Or would you prefer a more expensive used truck that is ready to go with little to no improvements needed? Whatever you choose, the final decision should be one that is carefully considered.

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