Buying a used truck is a practical option for those who want a reliable truck without the huge price tag of a brand new model. Even buying a truck that's a few years old can save you thousands of dollars over buying new — but of course, you'll need to do some extra due diligence to ensure that you're making a smart purchase. Buying used trucks from a dealership (as opposed to a private seller) can be a great place to start, but there are a few questions you should ask the dealer before you make a deal.
What is the Truck's Towing Capacity?
Start by thinking about what you'll primarily be using your truck for. If you'll be doing a lot of hauling and towing, then you'll need to figure out the minimum towing capacity that you'll need for your truck. Keep in mind that specific towing capacities for trucks can vary not just from one model year to the next, but from one trim to the next as well. This is why it's important to find out directly from the dealership what the exact towing capacity for a particular truck is.
Can I See the Vehicle History Report?
You'll also want to know whether the truck has been in any accidents or other major incidents; the best way to know for sure is to request a copy of the truck's vehicle history report, which is tied to the unique VIN assigned to the truck. Any reputable dealership should be happy to offer you a free copy of this report. This can also be a great way to find out how many owners the truck has had, which can give you a better idea as to how well it may have been maintained over the years.
Do You Offer Extended Test Drives?
Sometimes, you just don't know how well a truck will work for you until you've had a chance to not only drive it but also to use it to tow or haul something. See if your dealership offers extended test drives, which give you the opportunity to take the truck out for a full day (or possibly even more). This will give you the time you need to really put it to work and see how well it will suit your needs.
By taking the time to ask a few key questions at the dealership, you can ultimately buy a pre-owned truck with confidence!