Insider: Don’t Buy a Used Truck Without Completing This Checklist

Many auto dealerships only sell “certified” used cars, but you should still go over the vehicle with a fine-toothed comb. Kicking the tires isn’t enough. Perform the following eight actions before you say, “I’ll take it.”

1. Shop in Daylight

Don’t shop for your used truck at night. Examine any vehicle in full daylight on level ground. This ensures you see all defects and levels out engine fluids. When you browse Southwest Motors full line up of used Trucks or any other dealer’s inventory, it’s best to do it in bright daylight.


2. Inspect Joints

Run your fingers along all joining edges to make certain they are level. Visually inspect for rust. Glance down the truck’s body to identify unevenness or dents. Confirm there is no plastic bodywork by sticking a magnet to all truck panels.


3. Don’t Forget the Roof

If the roof has any raised areas, there may be rust underneath it. Ask for a step stool to inspect the roof for bumps and lumps if you are looking at a truck raised high off the ground or if you are too short to be seen the roof clearly.

4. Hit the Ground

Get on your hands and knees and use a flashlight to look at the inside of each tire. Look for normal or unusual tread wear and signs of brake fluid or axle grease leaks. If the inside of the tires and wheel wells look shot, move on to another vehicle.


5. Get Under the Hood

Check all fluid levels and appearances. Make certain there isn’t rust in or a burnt smell coming from the radiator fluid. Check the air filter and ask for maintenance records to confirm other filters have been changed regularly. Inspect the belts and hoses, too.

6. Fire Her Up

Start the engine and listen for bangs, knocks, or belt squeals. Set the emergency brake and put the transmission in drive. See if the truck rolls or sets still. Put the transmission in park and place a rag on the tailpipe. No pressure indicates an exhaust leak.


7. Drive for 10 Miles

Take the truck for a 10-mile drive and then shut it down. Restart it after a momentary cooling to see if it fires up right away. If it does, accelerate slowly to gauge automatic transmission shifts, and then drive on the freeway to see how it performs.


8. Check the Extras

Finally, test all switches, levers, accessories, and extras to make certain everything is working properly. Stand up and bounce on the truck’s front and rear bumpers to see how well the shocks withstand the pressure.

Don’t go into a used-truck transaction blind. Inspect the vehicle thoroughly to make certain everything is in good condition, including the mechanics and body. Once you’re certain the truck is in good shape, enjoy purchasing your new baby.