Buying a survival truck: 7 things you must consider
Recently it became apparent that my car, which has just gotten off warranty, was designed to start dollaring me to death. Notice that I didn’t say “nickel and diming” me. That’s because the particular car I bought only has $200 + parts on it.
That’s ok though, it’s still a good car it’s just not something I’m going to be running around the countryside in. This car, which is extremely good in the snow, will instead sit in a driveway awaiting the coming of age of my 13 year old daughter who will then start driving it, (and will work countless hours at McD’s to pay for those $300 sensors).
And so then it is time for me to find a used truck with which to foray out on my adventures from. I have purchased many such trucks over the years and have developed seven rules I go by when doing so. Here are seven sure fire tips for buying a used truck.
- Get 4 wheel drive. You might be tempted to buy something that has rear differential and whatnot because it is cheaper, but there is a reason the 4 wheel drive trucks sell so much higher, and faster. That’s because if you need it you really need it.
- Check the 4 wheel drive out. Just because you found a truck that say 4X4 on the bed, doesn’t mean that the 4wd works. Check it before you buy it. I always stop and place the truck in neutral before I engage the 4wd in either high or low. I know that many are designed to allow for shifting on the fly… but why would you?
- Buy from a private owner. I say this having bought used cars from the dealership before and having them be ok; however, I’ve always had my best luck when buying from a private owner.
- Take a long look at the current owner and his things. This is going to be a great indicator of how the truck has been maintained. Does the guy or gal keep his place clean and neat? Is the grass mown and trimmed? Get a look into his garage, are there tools scattered around?
- Look for rust! Rust is the biggest enemy to any vehicle. Look for bubbles in the paint too, because that is rust as well. I always look at the frame as well. I once bought a 13 year old used truck without checking anything else out when I saw that the original factory stickers were still stuck to the frame it was so clean.
- Check the Fluids. One big indicator that something is awry is the presence of certain kinds of fluids in places they should not be. Oil in the antifreeze for instance.
- Ask a lot of questions. Find out why the person is selling his truck. Did he buy it for a child? Those are the best ones to get, the ones that were bought for a child which the child didn’t want. Another good buy is someone who has lost a loved one who owned it, or who has simply bought a new one because he or she had the money to and nothing better to do with it.