What to Look for When You Buy a Used Pickup Truck

There’s a truck for everyone. But before you head out and pick up a used pickup, there are certain things you need to watch out for. Read on to know more.

Brake Controller

If it has a brake controller, it probably has done its share of heavy hauling. It’s not always a bad thing, but you know this truck has been worked hard. This sort of long-term strain on a drivetrain and hitch can cause a lot of unseen damage. So be cautious.

Skid Marks

Lifted and slammed trucks are known to bottom out. If it’s an off-road-ready truck, then get under it and check on top of the skid plates for signs of mud. Inspect these trucks very carefully because skid plates, frame rails, and bump stops can’t hide scratches well. So if the underside has been recently repainted, undercoated, or has fresh skid plates, it may be hiding something.


Accidents can happen when trucks are hauling things like tools, lumber, livestock, dirt bikes, or whatever. Check places like where the fender meets the hood, the space between the bed and cab and fender wells, and other such parts for a line of overspray. It means that the truck has been in a collision.


Truck differentials are designed to handle heavy loads. But inspect for noise or visible leaks and put the truck in every gear several times to detect inconsistencies.


If you need a heavy-duty truck for towing duties, ensure that the driveshaft isn’t compromised. Check if it’s warped, crimped, or twisted in any way. If yes, walk away.


Check couplings to see if the bed was ever damaged, removed, wrenched, repainted, or cleaned. You don’t want to see the bed bouncing off in a different direction when you’re driving.


Inspect the frame to ensure that it’s straight and solid. Check for rust, large dents, and be suspicious of fresh undercoating. Bent frames are always bad.

Dead Leaves

If the truck has leaf springs, ensure that they aren’t corroded or compromised. Check all bolts and see how they react when loaded. Get someone to hop on the bed to expose any problems.

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