"If at all possible, get a good look underneath, and bring a qualified mechanic along if need be," he adds. "Make sure you take a good look under the hood. Bad hoses and oil leaks can nickel and dime you to death; make sure that hoses are not brittle or leaky. And make sure the engine is not producing a lot of crankcase blowby, which could indicate that an overhaul is around the corner."
Today's electronic control units offer a wealth of data to potential buyers. "It has turned into an electronic world. You have the data there -- you just have to ask for it," says Walker. "If you read the printouts on the electronic engines, you can pretty much tell what is going on. You can find out how many times it has had 'check engine' codes or any kinds of fault codes that something needs to be checked." Make sure any fault codes were addressed.
Emulate dealers when shopping for a used truck. For example, Best Used Trucks performs every check previously listed. "We have to know what we are selling, and we have to know that we are buying a good piece of equipment," says Walker. "I want to make sure that I buy it right and know all about it."
"Don't hesitate to ask the seller for any supporting maintenance records or other supporting documentation, as well as any applicable state or DOT inspections," says Dowart.