What to look for When Buying a Secondhand Truck

Giulia Nigrini
Giulia Nigrini
Vehicle Service Contract Specialist, Traveler, Car Enthusiast
December 29, 2021
min. read
side view of a black pick up truck

When buying a secondhand truck there are a few things you need to take into consideration. Looking at the history, bodywork, and engine are just some of the categories we will explore in this article. By the end, you will have a comprehensive checklist for your used truck purchase journey and more information on how you can protect the mechanical parts of your newly bought truck.

Secondhand Truck Buyer’s Checklist

Though you can get very detailed with the checklist we are going to focus on the most important points that will ensure you buy a truck in your price range. But before you go out looking at trucks take some time to research various makes and models to narrow down your search to a select few that will most likely meet your needs from the practical to the looks. Now that you have your selection and are ready to look at actual trucks we can jump into what to look for when buying a secondhand truck.

Reason for Sale

Establishing the reason behind selling the truck will give you better insight into the potential condition of the truck and pull up any red flags early on. There are often good reasons for selling a truck that is in good condition like buying a new one or moving overseas.

Maintenance History

With an established reason for sale, it is wise to then take a look at the maintenance history to see that oil changes, tune-ups, and general maintenance have been done over the years. Proper care is key to having a truck that lasts for many, many years.

Accident History

It is important to know all you can about the history of the truck. Any possible accidents could influence the overall maintenance going forward. If there was some sort of collision in the past you want to be sure that repairs were done correctly and by an accredited shop.

Tire Thread

Tires give you a good amount of information about the tuck you are looking at buying. If the thread is worn or there is evidence that the tires have not been rotated it is a clear sign that the maintenance may not have been done on the tires. If this is the case, find out more about the tires and when they have been changed. Good tire health is important to the vehicle’s overall health.


Check the outside of the car for damage to the paint, panels, and if there is any visible rust. The edges of the doors are generally a good place to check for wear and tear. If the car has been resprayed, it would be good to know since it may affect any repair costs down the line.


The wear and tear on the seats may give you an indication of how frequently the truck was used and whether or not the interior was taken care of or not. All elements that need to be repaired will be for your pocket once you buy the truck.

Towing and Load Capacity

Depending on your needs the towing and/or load capacity of the truck may change your decision. Knowing exactly what you want to use it for will help narrow down the truck with the right setup for you.

Under the Hood

Ask about the radiator, battery, hoses & belts, and fluids in the engine. Be sure to get information and perhaps even see the engine to see its condition. Ask about having a third-party mechanic look at the vehicle on your behalf.

Take a friend if you can. A second opinion from someone you trust can help make the decision easier. Often a second set of eyes will spot things you do not see initially.

Don’t Forget to Get an Extended Car Warranty

Truck ownership can be costly. These vehicles are large and are often used for commercial purposes as well. One of the more costly aspects would be mechanical repairs. After some time, even with the best of care, a vehicle will succumb to wear and tear. At some point, you will experience a mechanical failure of some kind.

Repair bills can range between $300 and $5,000 depending on the repairs needed and the vehicle you are driving. This requires you to have a certain savings amount in place for these costs that arise with a mechanical repair. To keep your car protected in the case of a mechanical breakdown we suggest that you look into an extended car warranty or vehicle service contract specifically designed to alleviate the stress of truck ownership and cover you for parts and labor. Use the Chaiz search tool to find a vehicle service contract best suited to your newly purchased truck and your driving needs.

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