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Of course a shiny brand new truck is a thrill for any truck lover, but if your wallet can’t deal with a big monthly payment and you still need a pickup for work or just because you want one, use the following tips to prevent getting yourself a lemon or having to sink crazy dollars into the truck right after you buy it because the seller misrepresented the vehicle.

There are all kinds of used pickups out there, from the “beater” to some that are barely broken in because the owner got a newer model. You may consider yourself diligent because you asked the owner lots of questions about the truck, but the sad reality is, people tend to lie, embellish or exaggerate when they are trying to get rid of something they have to make a sale, whether it’s a truck or an item at a garage sale. The obvious tip is to make sure all systems are working properly, but the key is in making sure you check more than that.

Don’t fall in love with the looks of a pickup upon first sight. You have to look underneath the truck. You may not know exactly what you need to look for, or understand much of what you see. Take a friend who is mechanically knowledgeable, even if it means slipping him a cash token. It will be money well spent in the long run, trust me. If you don’t have a mechanic friend, some shops will do this for you for a small fee. Things to look for are leaks and damage, or if repairs have been done previously, check the area for further damage or if repairs were actually done properly. Check the brakes, drive shaft, steering components and U joints. An older truck will most likely have some rust on the axles, springs and frame. Make sure a hole cannot be poked through any parts of the metal and that it has not become weak or brittle. If this is the case, you need to decline this sale.

Shiny does not always mean new. Any auto body tech can make a truck look good cosmetically, but why was it newly painted in the first place? It could be hiding rust and issues with the body of the truck. There is a possibility that the owner just wanted to get a few bucks more for it and all that was wrong was some surface scratches or fading. This is where you may not be told the truth, so without a professional eye, you may not get the info you really need. In that case, it would be worthwhile to spend $25 and have a service like CARFAX do a history report on the truck, which not only can tell you if it’s been in an accident, but also if there are recalls on the vehicle and other valuable information. This report is not a guarantee that the pickup is totally perfect mechanically, but will reveal more than what the eye can see.

Get your ducks in a row before truck shopping to avoid an impulse buy that you will most likely regret after time. If you will never be hauling a boat or RV, do you really need the bigger engine that will give you less gas mileage? Do you need passenger room on a regular basis, or is the truck mainly for you and work, therefore making a jump seat in the back adequate? Will you be snowplowing or going off-road, in which case 4 WD would be necessary, but if not, you may be able to get along with 2WD for your needs. Make decisions beforehand regarding manual or automatic transmission, gas or diesel engine, cloth or leather upholstery and bed size. Too often, if you leave yourself open to a sales persons’ dance, you may end up waltzing when you would rather be jitter bugging.

When you are shopping for your used pickup, keep in mind that as long as the truck is solid dependable transportation and meets your needs, you can always customize it later by visiting www.truckworldaccessories.com where you can get good honest answers to your questions and fair prices on the add-ons you want, making your truck just perfect for you.

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I am a NYS licensed Auto Damage Appraiser, CSE certified, I-Car Certified, and have worked in the automotive industry for decades. I've had the opportunity to teach auto body repair to misled kids in a classroom setting, giving them a chance to have a trade for a viable income. I found this very rewarding. Previously, I was all about the American muscle cars of the 60's. Now, I find pickup trucks and the way they have evolved to be my fascination and focus.
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TruckGuy, "Beware of This When Buying a Used Pickup Truck." Beware of This When Buying a Used Pickup Truck. 06 Jan. 2017 Isnare.com. 22 Feb. 2017 <https://www.isnare.com/?aid=1962458&ca=Automotive>.
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