What Should I Look for When Buying a Used Diesel Truck?

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Diesel trucks are powerful and therefore marketable but they can also be quite expensive which is why buying used is a fairly popular option. 

However, despite a truck being less expensive to buy used, there is plenty that you need to think about before you make a purchase. 

Here are a few of those determining factors.

What Should I Look for When Buying a Used Diesel Truck?

When buying a used diesel truck, the price, mileage, towing capacity, and overall condition should be carefully considered. Questions about the truck’s warranties and insurance options should be asked, especially when purchasing one with a lot of mileage.

All this might seem a tad overwhelming but you must consider all these things because you really can’t just return a car you don’t like. 

Below are some helpful tips that might make this process a little easier.

Tips For Buying A Used Diesel Truck

Buying Used

Buying used cars and trucks is often cheaper than buying a brand new vehicle.

But because the vehicle is used, it might be in questionable condition. 

For this reason, being scrupulous will do you a lot of good when you’re in the browsing and buying process. 

Here are a few things you should seriously assess when buying a used diesel truck.

Overall Condition and Pricing

Diesel trucks are expensive enough when you buy them brand-new.

Buying them used is cheaper, but it will still cost a good chunk of change simply because a diesel drivetrain is powerful and in high demand. 

Assessing the overall condition and then comparing that to the asking price should help you to determine whether it’s worth it or not.

The age of the truck will play a big part as far as determining price is concerned. 

Younger/newer trucks will usually be a tad more expensive, with prices rising to $60,000 or more.

Older models can be found for as little as $10,000, ranging up to $20,000. 

Aside from that, take a look at the body of the truck and make sure there are no serious rust spots or other things that could bring its value (or reliability) down.


Mileage isn’t everything but it does matter. 

You don’t want to buy a used truck only because it has less than 100,000 miles on it. 

There might be other issues under the surface. 

What you’ll want to do is ask what kind of warranties you’ll have on certain parts of the vehicle. 

This way, if something goes awry, you’ll be somewhat protected financially.

When you’re looking for info on a truck’s warranties it’s important to be as specific as possible. 

Older trucks might not have an overall warranty, but there might still be warranties for specific parts or components of the truck that will be useful to know about. 

This is especially important if you’re buying a vehicle with a lot of mileage because it will likely require more frequent repairs.

What Should I Look for When Buying a Used Diesel Truck 1 What Should I Look for When Buying a Used Diesel Truck?

Towing Capacity

A huge reason why diesel trucks are more popular than gas-powered trucks is their outstanding ability to tow loads that are as much as double what a gas-powered truck can tow. 

Inquire about the towing capacity while taking into account the truck’s present condition (if the truck is worn too much, it may not be up to towing its original capacity). 

Towing capacity isn’t always a determining factor for purchase, but if you’re planning on making a habit of towing frequently, you’ll want to know what your truck is capable of.

Start-Up and Exhaust

You should always turn the truck on and take it for a drive before you even consider buying it. 

If you start to notice a lot of smoke coming from under the hood or from the exhaust pipe, that probably means something is off. 

You should check under the hood and even check the truck’s maintenance records.

Be specific and thorough if you want to avoid excessive future mechanical problems.

Used vs. New: Is it Worth it?

Now to address another question regarding this issue.

Is buying used better than buying new? There are pros and cons to both sides of the equation and understanding those pros and cons will help you reinforce your decision.

Buying Used

The biggest reason people buy used trucks is because of the price. 

Used trucks are often several thousand dollars cheaper than brand-new trucks. 

Reliability might be in question somewhat, but it’s also possible that a truck that’s been around for years and has driven thousands of miles might be just as tough and reliable as a brand-new vehicle.

There are also fewer additional costs that come with buying a used truck.

The insurance rate for used cars is much lower than with brand new cars which makes a huge difference. 

Plus, if you buy a truck that someone is selling personally, there will also be fewer associated fees than if you were to purchase it through a dealership. 

The purchasing options are much more vast with used trucks.

The issue with buying used is that you never know exactly what you’re getting. 

Even if you inspect the truck from the windshield to the fenders and have found no conceivable flaws, you will likely be faced with an unforeseen problem at some point during ownership.

This is technically true of any car, but used cars are twice as questionable because who knows what the previous owner might’ve put it through?

Maintenance will also be more expensive because it will likely be required more often. 

My brothers recently bought a ’97 Ford F-250 with plenty of use but that was still in good repair. 

It ran fine and the body was in good shape but less than four days after purchase, the battery went completely dead.

They were able to fix the problem, but they are also more aware of possible needed repairs on the truck and are prepared for them. 

This is a more than likely outcome for most used vehicles out there. The best way to counter this problem is to try to perform as many repairs as possible on your own.

Buying New

Buying a brand-new car is great for a lot of reasons.

Reliability is seldom in question because brand-new cars haven’t had the chance to experience wear and tear yet. 

You’ll be able to count on a new truck’s being strong and unhindered as far as towing and payload capacity are concerned.

Buying new is also going to require a great deal more money.

For some people, this is worth it because they have the budget for it. 

If you don’t want a large of debt to buy a car, then buying a new car is probably a bad idea. 

You could very well be paying off car loans for multiple years if you end up buying a brand-new truck.