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Oct 4th 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Used Truck

Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Used Truck

There are many benefits of buying a used truck. As one example, the prices are nearly always lower for a used vehicle versus a vehicle right off the lot. Additionally, when purchasing a used truck, you can expect it to be a better investment due to less depreciation.

But buying a used truck can also come with its own questions and concerns. Did the previous owner care for it properly? Has it been involved in any accidents before you purchased it? Will it be dependable? No matter the car's condition, you want to know how to buy a good used truck before signing the dotted line.

Continue reading to learn what to look for when buying a used truck.

1. Learn the Difference Between a Private Seller vs. Dealership

One of the first considerations to make when buying a used truck is determining where to buy it, whether from a private seller or a dealership.

Private Seller

A private seller, such as an individual who's selling their used truck on a website, allows you to purchase the used truck directly from the source. The seller will have an intimate knowledge of the truck, so you can ask detailed questions about the vehicle's history and condition. Additionally, you may be able to fetch a lower price.

However, buying from a private seller also has risks associated with it. When purchasing a used truck from a private seller, you'll be buying it "as is," meaning there'll very rarely be warranties on the truck. Additionally, you must be prepared to pay for the truck upfront and in full, while also filling out the required paperwork to transfer ownership.


At a dealership, you don't have to keep track of different paperwork, and there'll often be financing options available so you can pay for your used truck over a set period of time. Also, dealerships offer warranties, trade-in options and certifications from experts, which may provide you with more legal protection. However, buying from a dealership may be the more expensive choice, and you may have to deal with salespeople who aren't willing to negotiate on prices with you.

Both private sellers and dealerships have advantages and disadvantages — what's important is finding the option that makes the most sense for you.

2. Check the Vehicle's History Report

Most of the time, when buying from a dealer or an accredited sales team, a used truck will come with a vehicle history report. This report provides in-depth information about the life of the truck, how many people have owned the truck and how it's been handled throughout the years.

If the vehicle you're looking at doesn't have a vehicle history report, you can use online services to help you find detailed information about the life of the truck. Additionally, you'll want to ask the seller for all maintenance and oil change records, the vehicle's accident history and a list of any recent upgrades or repairs to the vehicle.

It's crucial to look through the history of the truck to ensure that it hasn't been totaled in an accident, flooded or had major issues with its parts.

3. Determine What Needs Replacing

The vehicle history report for the truck you're considering purchasing will provide you with insight into what you may need to repair or replace. In particular, pay close attention to "big-ticket" items such as the engine and transmission. If any parts in the truck are wearing out, they'll soon need to be replaced, which could mean a major investment from you. On the other hand, if major parts have been recently replaced, it's one less concern.

In addition to worn parts, you should also be aware of parts that may cause safety concerns, such as the truck's brakes, steering column and lights. Replacing these parts can help keep you safer on the road, and they're often required to pass inspection and legally drive on the road.

Ensure that any replacement parts you purchase for your truck are of good quality and will last for a long time. For example, if your used truck will need new springs or suspension, you'll likely want to install new leaf springs. Purchasing the right parts for your vehicle can be the difference between a smooth ride and being stuck on the side of the road.

After determining what needs replacing, you'll want to estimate the costs of these repairs. Does it still make economic sense to purchase the truck? Is the cost of the truck in addition to the repairs still lower than purchasing a new truck? Factor in all potential costs to have the best chance of making a smart economic decision.

4. Go on a Test Drive

The final step in buying a used truck may also be the most revealing — the test drive.

To properly test drive a used truck, you'll want to do more than drive it around the block a few times. Take it on a road with hills to see and hear how it shifts through its gears. Take it for a spin on the highway to ensure it can get up to speed and stay at that speed without any issues. Finally, if the truck is an off-road vehicle, you'll want to go to an area where you can properly see how it drives on a surface other than pavement.

A proper test drive will give you experience behind the wheel of the vehicle and help you make more informed decisions when determining whether to purchase the used truck.

Purchase New Parts for Your Used Truck From General Spring

Knowing what to check for when buying a used truck makes the process much simpler. Going into the experience with a game plan will help you make a smart and informed decision on buying a used truck. As a result, you'll get the best truck for your money.

When you need to replace parts in your truck, browse our website to see our inventory and to place an order, or contact us directly for assistance!

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