When a business – or individual – purchases a used truck, it can represent a big investment. It is important to pay the right price for the vehicle. It can be frustrating and stressful to buy such a truck, only to have major problems occur soon after you buy it. Avoid this situation by taking the time to carry out these tests and inspections on a prospective used truck – the owner should be happy to allow you to have a thorough check before committing to the purchase.

Examine The Truck In Daylight

Avoid going to inspect a truck when it is dark; this may prevent you from noticing any faults. Even in a well-lit area, it is still possible to miss any defects. Also, make sure the vehicle is on level ground so you can make proper inspections of the fluids.

Radiator Fluid

Make sure you open the hood, and check the radiator fluid; this should be a greenish color. Overheating truck engines will cause the fluid to become off-color, or the fluid will have rust in it. If you are unsure of the quality of the fluid, it may be a good idea to take along a tester; these can be bought inexpensively from a supplier. While under the hood, visually inspect the engine for oil marks, and check the air filter for excessive dirt.

Listen To The Engine

Start the truck up and listen for any obvious thuds or knocks, which may indicate a bad rod bearing connection, or a faulty crank shaft. Both are expensive to fix. While the engine is running, ask if you can perform an emergency stop (in a safe area) to test the brakes. Also, let the truck idle to make sure it performs as it should.

Roof And Tires

Check the inside of the tires for evidence of brake fluid or grease leaks. Remember to check the roof for any raised spots, which indicate rust underneath. Check each opening of the truck (doors and cargo area) and run your hand along the bottom of the joins, to check for any rust. If you suspect a panel has been replaced, use a magnet; plastic panels won't attract a magnet.

Shocks And Suspension

Try driving the truck on a rough road, and check to see the shocks work by controlling the bounce. Trucks which bounce excessively usually need their shock absorbers replaced. Check that the suspension feels tight, and does its job.

Although it is less common and more difficult to tamper with the odometer in modern used trucks, keep an eye out for low mileage trucks which have excessive pits in the window, worn upholstery and armrest, and check the condition of the pedals. Trucks like Volvo Trucks with high mileage usually display signs of wear in these areas.