10 Things to Consider When Buying a Used Truck
When shopping for used Chevy trucks, buyers arrive at our dealership day-in, and day-out, boasting various levels of knowledge and a wide range of both experience and expectations. We appreciate each and every one of our customers but, at Frank Kent Country, our favorite kind of customer is a well-informed one assured in their readiness to buy with confidence. For this reason, we enjoy educating our less-informed customers. It’s all part of the transparent buying process that we aspire to offer. Understanding that there are a lot of buying options out there – from other dealerships to private sellers – we have a responsibility to make your experience as satisfying as possible so that you know you made the right choice. Welcome to Frank Kent Country.
So, you’re interested in purchasing a pre-owned truck? Presumably, you have some jobs that need doing, which makes it important to find the right dependable truck, to get those jobs done (and done right). Of course, part of that search is achieved through your own due diligence; exploring the options that are available to you, ensuring that a vehicle’s performance and utility ratings meet the unique demands of the jobs you plan to tackle. But are you familiar with the steps you should take inspecting any used vehicle, regardless of who you buy from?
While we at Frank Kent take immense pride in the quality of the used trucks (and all used vehicles) that we offer, we’d be remiss if we didn’t disclose some of the important steps worth taking, to increase the likelihood of your satisfaction. And with that said, here’s our 10-Point Checklist for the Initial Inspection of a Used Truck.
Life is busy. This means that it’s not unusual for prospective buyers to visit a dealership, or check out a vehicle, at whatever time is permitted by their schedule. That said, timing matters, and it’s highly recommended that vehicle inspections are performed during daylight hours. Sure, some dealerships might be well-lit during darker hours, but any decrease in lighting or visibility also decreases the likelihood of a good visual inspection.
You should also be conscious of ground conditions. Ideally, the truck should be parked on a hard-paved surface that is both flat and dry. This allows for easier detection of any fluid leaks, and can also simplify inspection of the truck’s undercarriage.
2. Trust in Touch
While some might be less inclined to so (especially with a polished truck, located at a dealership) don’t be afraid to put your hands on the truck. It’s important to check for any gaps, ensuring that body panels are properly together. Combining a tactile inspection alongside a visual one ensures a higher likelihood of finding any questionable areas. Don’t be afraid to run your hands carefully across the base of any doors, in search of rough, rusty edges. Inspect all panels for raised or uneven areas that could indicate bodywork has been done. And while it may sound odd to some of you, bring a magnet (yes a magnet). The reason we suggest this is because less-reputable bodywork might use plastic-based materials that will not attract the magnet. While such repairs aren’t necessarily a deal-breaker (depending on the area the work was performed), it’s still worth being aware of and questioning, as needed.
3. Dig Deeper
While still a continuation of the previous point, we can’t emphasize enough that detection of any raised areas should spark further discussion. Inspections shouldn’t simply be on the outward-facing, or easily accessible body panels either. Be sure to inspect the roof, the tailgate, the bed (even if covered by a liner) and don’t be afraid to climb under the truck itself. Corrosion and deterioration will hinder a truck’s performance longevity, so empower yourself to buy with confidence by inspecting every inch.
4. Check for Leaks and Wear
Remember when we mentioned dry, level ground? It’s important to identify fluid leaks, be it engine oil, transmission or brake fluid, or coolant. It’s equally important to inspect the tires for excessive wear. If present, such issues can be addressed with the dealership or seller prior to purchase, potentially saving you from unexpected expenses.
5. Take a Listen
It’s essential to start the engine and listen for any out-of-the-ordinary sounds that could indicate costly repairs to come. It’s also important to listen to the truck as it idles. If you’re not sure what to look for, this is another area where it’s valuable to have someone skilled to accompany you.
6. Check the Exhaust
Once idling, walk to the rear of the truck and hold a rag against the tailpipe. If you don’t feel the sensation of building pressure, it could be the indication of an exhaust leak worth questions. To skilled ears, there are also audio cues to indicate such concerns.
7. Cabin & Amenities
A pre-owned vehicle comes with some expectation of normal wear. That said, it’s important to pick up on any red flags, which includes any controls or panels – ensuring that they’re performing as needed. From lights and wipers to climate controls and infotainment systems, check out each to ensure that they’re performing in an acceptable manner.
8. Don’t Rush the Test Drive
We’ve heard from countless customers that other dealerships left them feeling pressured during a test drive. We don’t believe in that here at Frank Kent. We want our customers to feel relaxed and satisfied with their experience. This means a willingness to drive up to 10 miles sometimes, on different terrains and at different speeds while allowing multiple turns of the ignition to ensure that there’s no hesitation.
9. Check the Brakes & Suspension
Don’t be afraid to attempt a quick panic stop. Park on a hill and engage the emergency brake to see if it holds properly. Drive on a bumpy road, if one’s available, to gauge the suspension. These are all important steps to take to ensure that your truck will perform as needed.
More than just simply checking the odometer, understand that some vehicles might have been tampered with (even without the knowledge of the current seller). It’s important to use common sense when reconciling a truck’s mileage against its age, and against visible wear on its upholstery and pedals. This is also an area where a Vehicle History Report can prove helpful.
Some of you may be no stranger to the list we’ve provided but, for those less-informed buyers in search of guidance, we hope that this was helpful. Combined with your own research and due diligence, we’re confident in your ability to buy with absolute confidence (regardless of where you buy from). That being said, we certainly hope to see you soon at Frank Kent Country, and that we’ll get the opportunity to help you find that perfect truck for the unique demands of both your lifestyle and budget.
Because there is absolutely a truck for you right here at Frank Kent Country, but even more importantly, there is a skilled team of welcoming professionals committed to being there for you, each and every step along the way. From support and sales to finance, and over to our service team, you can count on Frank Kent.