Although the used car market is much better regulated than it once was—which is a major reason why so many more drivers are now flocking to buy used cars rather than brand-new models—buying a used car can still be a daunting process. There are so many things to consider when buying any car, and choosing to buy a used car introduces a separate set of factors that are important to consider before you make your purchase. If you’re in the process of buying a used car or are still trying to decide whether to buy used or new, keep reading to learn about 5 tips for buying a used pickup to ensure you get a fair deal and a high-quality used model.
An Even Frame
Starting off our tips for buying a used pickup, we suggest you check its frame for an even finish. Some misalignment in a car’s frame might seem like a minor cosmetic problem, but an uneven frame can be a sign of some much more serious problems.
If a car’s frame is misaligned and therefore uneven, that can be a red flag that the car was involved in an accident in the past and then repaired incorrectly—which does not bode well at all for the overall condition of that car.
The Right Mileage
A used car’s mileage is one of the most important factors to consider before you buy. A used car with very high mileage might be extremely cheap, but buying it still isn’t necessarily a smart financial decision if you’re only going to be able to drive it for a year or two before you run it into the ground.
Take a glance at the odometer of any used car you’re considering buying and weigh the age of a car against the mileage that’s logged on it to determine whether its mileage is in an ideal range. The average driver drives between 12,000 and 13,000 miles per year. That means that a used car that is 5 years old should have between 60,000 and 70,000 miles logged on it. Driving a lot of miles in a short period of time can be tough on a car,
so ensuring that a used car’s mileage is not too high compared to its age is a great way to determine the condition of that used car.
Tire Wear and Tear
If you’re buying a used car, look out for tire wear and tear. The tread on all four tires of the car should be worn down evenly and shouldn’t be worn down too much. Uneven wear and tear can signify issues with the alignment and suspension of the truck.
Measuring the depth of a car’s tire tread can help you determine accurately how worn the tires are and figure out whether the tires are still in safe, drivable condition or whether they need to be immediately replaced. Brand-new tire tread is usually between 10/32 and 11/32 of an inch. Cars with tire tread that measures at least 4/32 of an inch are considered safe to drive.
The VIN Number
Always run the VIN number of any used car you’re considering buying. Running the VIN number of a car through one of many online databases will give you the complete vehicle history of that vehicle. You’ll be able to see whether or not the car has been involved in any accidents, determine how many previous owners the car has had, etc. etc.
The VIN number of a car is much more than just a number. It tracks the car through its entire lifespan and can provide you with key information about a specific car that you will definitely want to know before you buy it.
A Professional Inspection
When you buy a used pickup truck—especially if you’re buying from a private or independent seller rather than from an official dealership—hiring a professional mechanic to inspect the car is a very smart idea.
Professional mechanics are trained to spot both minor and serious problems you likely wouldn’t notice on your own. While it might seem like an unnecessary expense to hire a mechanic to perform a professional inspection on a car before you buy it, you’ll thank yourself if the mechanic finds something wrong with the car that might just make or break your decision on whether or not to buy it.
If you’re in the market for a new-to-you car, these 5 tips for buying a used pickup will help you make sure you’re making a smart decision when you finally choose which used truck to buy.