Whether you want to tow, haul, commute or use it for business, the infinite versatility of a modern diesel vehicle makes them all possible. No other vehicle offers you the ability to tow 20,000 pounds up a hill, carry the equivalent of a small car in the bed, or get almost 10 mpg out of an 18-wheeler truck.
With so much utility value, it’s no wonder diesel truck have become increasingly popular in recent years. Everyone wants to buy one, but not everyone can afford to fork out the big bucks to get a brand new one.
When it comes to buying a used truck, there is a lot to be prepared for. You will probably have to spend a long time researching what is available, comparing features and prices, and determining which truck meets your specific needs. Once you have narrowed your search further, you also need to take into account the inevitable costs associated with buying used vehicles, so that you can budget accordingly and get the highest value.
To help point you in the right direction, we have compiled a checklist of what to look for in used diesel truck to help you through the process.
Inspect a Used Diesel Truck Properly
When you decide what type of engine you want in your truck, make sure it meets your requirements and perform a thorough inspection of it. They’re a bit more expensive to buy and maintain than their gas equivalents, and it’s crucial you get a decent used truck.
Check the coolant overflow in the reservoir and make sure there are no contaminated coolants. This affects exhaust gas recirculation and could cause future problems with head seals.
Know Why the Owner is Selling
If, for some reason, the owner decides to sell the truck, this will be one of the very first things to consider before investing too heavily in a used truck.
It is better to be aware of this so that you do not inherit a load of problems, because, this is where you can decide if you’ll be responsible for any current or future mechanical issues.
If the owner is selling merely because he/she wants to upgrade, then it may not actually raise any red flags. However, if there’s something wrong with the truck, then it’s best you know ahead of time, so you don’t inherit a lot of problems.
Determine What will be Replaced or Repaired
From there, you can assess whether any of the truck parts need to be replaced or upgraded. Pay particular attention to the gearbox and engine. As part of the maintenance history check, you should have a good idea of what has already been replaced or repaired.
If a major part has been replaced lately, it might be worth buying a used truck. However, if a major part is worn out and needs replacement, this could mean a big investment if you buy the truck.
Pay attention to safety concerns, too. For example, check that the brakes and lights on the truck are working. If this is not the case, you may have to replace them in order to comply with safety standards.
Consider the Truck’s Mileage
When considering the truck’s mileage, you should consider what you want to use the truck for. If you plan to drive long distances frequently, it may be more useful to look at a truck with low mileage.
Alternatively, if you want to use a truck for long-distance haulage and cannot get an affordable one with good mileage, you can consider starting your business by going for a rental truck. You will get a lot of options this way without having to cough out the huge amount for buying a truck.
That said, just noting that truck mileage is not the best indicator of a vehicle’s overall quality when other factors are taken into account. However, knowledge of the engine model can help to indicate the mileage points at which an engine modification may be necessary.
Check the Transmission
Always check to be sure the transmission is in good shape before buying any used vehicle.
During test drives with a manual gearbox, it is important to shift to a higher gear and accelerate while driving to check the clutch condition.
In automatic transmission, pull the dipstick on the automatic transmission before you make a deal to purchase the vehicle. The liquid in the gearbox should be reddish in colour. When you notice that the liquid is a brown colour or feels different, then it may have been due to some major internal problems.
Check the Exhaust
The exhaust is also a good indicator of an engine problem. As diesels are more heavily loaded with gas, soot accumulates at the end of the exhaust pipes. If the truck you are considering has too much soot in the tail of the exhaust, you should consider looking at other trucks.
The exhaust smoke must be a light black colour on a well-powered truck. If the truck takes too long to start during a cold morning, chances are the glow plug has failed. They can be replaced, but it will cost a lot.
Check for Rust and Structural Defects
Check the door frame as well as other parts for signs of rust. This could show that the vehicle has not been properly maintained and may have little life left in it. Continue to check vehicle quality by looking at the engine, transmission, brakes, suspension, powertrain, wheels and tyres.
When examining a surface for rust, pay attention to raised spots in the paint. If you find stains, especially on the roof, these stains may indicate rust underneath.
Test Drive the Truck
After visually inspecting all that needs to be inspected and making sure that the interior and exterior meet your approval, the next step is to take it for a test drive.
How the truck handles on the road will tell you if it is worth paying for or if you should look elsewhere.
Remember to consider balance, as well as engine power when test driving a used truck.
Getting a diesel vehicle is a good choice if you need the power and fuel economy, but do your research to make sure you are getting the right one. And when you eventually do buy your diesel truck, remember to take good care of it.